18 Spring St., nr. Elizabeth
This refreshingly low-key cocktail bar adds a welcome neighborhood feel to this sleepy stretch of Spring Street. Locals will find a welcome reprieve from the Sinatra-and-mozzarella heavy-handedness of nearby Little Italy, and picky imbibers will note the fresh ingredients lined up at the corner of the bar. Last but not least, novices will be grateful for the informed staff’s guidance—pick your sauce, the bartender will fill in the blanks.
11 Doyers St., nr. Bowery.; 212-513-1527
This subterranean Mexican restaurant and bar is the city's first to serve the Aztec spirit pulque—a deceptively strong, fermented form of agave—on its own, like in the Repentant Serpent (with fresh tamarind, pulque, tequila, agave, and lime). The cocktails are paired with Chef Nacxitl Gaxiola’s take on authentic Mexican grub, and a D.J. keeps the mood festive all night.
5-14 51st Ave., nr. 5th St., Long Island City; 718-937-7494
The 200-person space in LIC has two floors and a back patio should you wind up lingering over one of the 28 draught pours, or the hard-to-find High & Mighty Beer of the Gods, or De Ranke XX Bitter. Chef Jon McCain ('21' Club) is in the kitchen turning out hops-friendly fare including macadamia-crusted fluke with chorizo broth and jalapeño macaroni and cheese with barbecued-pork "croutons."
Pilsener Haus & Biergarten
1422 Grand St., nr. 15th St., Hoboken; 201-683-5465
Radegast co-founder Andy Ivanov brings brats and beer steins to Hoboken with this nearly 400-person venue conveniently located by a NY Waterway taxi stop. Hudson-crossers will be greeted by a 4,000-square-foot garden filled with trees and massive communal tables. The 21 European drafts—including the Haus Bier ($7 for 16.9 ounces), a crisp, well-balanced pilsner made exclusively for the bar by a German brewer whose name Ivanov is keeping under wraps—are complemented by sausages, pretzels, and the occasional pig roast.
425 W. 15th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-206-0000
Self-proclaimed “tippling brothers” Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay have teamed up with Michael Barrett (China Club) to open a new place, appropriately named the Tippler: a historic basement space in the Chelsea Market with fifteen-foot vaulted ceilings, steampunk décor, and a drinks list featuring the duo’s frozen “lushies,” which come in varieties like a Sazerac and a "Screaming Greenie" absinthe-laced version.