675 Hudson St., at 14th St.; 212-699-2400
A solid neighborhood bar in the meatpacking district, of all places. Yes, there's a mixologist, but there's also Jenga, foosball, pool, a mini-library, and, of course, chocolate bacon on a stick.
538 Ninth Ave., nr. 40th St.
Co-owner and bartender Michele Gascoigne worked at Hogs & Heifers for seven years before opening Blue Ruin, and some of the vibe has come with her: You can find Gascoigne, usually decked out in Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots, slinging cheekily named shots and exhorting unruly behavior. (To wit: While at Hogs & Heifers, Gascoigne got Sir Paul McCartney to dance on the bar.)
245 Grand St., Brooklyn
A performance space that, while legal, comes from Brooklyn's recent DIY-venue trend. A haven for psych folk, noise bands, and sloppy-on-purpose garage rockers of all stripes.
27-24 Jackson Ave., Long Island City; 718-383-2724
Sasha Petraske's LIC cocktail lounge is finally here, and just in time: While all the slavish attention to drink details have migrated to Queens, prices have dropped to a more manageable $9 a pop.
290 Eighth Ave., nr. 25th St.; 212-206-8646
A “super luxury restaurant/bar” from Danny Kane and Rod Surut (Naked Lunch, Gemini Lounge) with an “ambassador” program that awards keys to 125 members of the “New York City elite.” Hmm...
50 Gansevoort St., nr. Greenwich St.; 646-244-2371
Opened in the former PM space by Milk & Honey vets, the proudly luxurious Griffin got things started with a party featuring Sting, Kate Hudson, Nas, Lindsay Price, Maxwell, Rachel Zoe, and Alexandra Richards.