Best Beer Bar
- Puck Fair
298 Lafayette Street, 212-431-1200
There’s no shortage of bars to enjoy a cold one from, say, Liechtenstein, but how many establishments can claim that each of its 18 beers is poured at precisely the right temperature?
Best Wine Bar
- Punch & Judy
26 Clinton Street, 212-982-1116
At P&J, the bartenders come across more like surfing instructors than snooty sommeliers. More than 25 wines are available by the glass (but it's more fun to order a flight of three).
Best Tequila Bar
- The bar at Agave
140 Seventh Avenue South, 212-989-2100
This new southwestern fusion outpost offers a dizzying array of 39 tequilas. (And nary a worm in sight.) Order one of the cute margaritas—ranging from basic to prickly-pear cactus flavor—if you’re not into doing shots.
Best Vodka Bar
281 Lafayette Street, 212-226-4944
Gets props for outliving the Keith McNally–fueled hype of its early years. Start with a “rack”—a tray packed with ice into which six shot glasses are plunged. House infusions include black currant, fig, and horseradish-and-chili.
Best Whiskey Bar
41 First Avenue, 212-475-5097
For a truly impressive array of Scotch, bourbon, and Irish whiskeys (130-plus!), the East Village’s d.b.a. has no equal. It even hosts regular tastings as a sort of educational outreach for amateur drinkers of brown spirits.
Best Champagne Bar
40 East 20th Street, 212-529-7870
You would think that the very notion of a champagne bar would have lost its fizz with the passing of the go-go nineties. But with sparkling wines equitably priced at $7 to $16 a glass, Flute caters to all budgets.
Best Drinks All Around
Name your poison, we’ve found the best bar to match.
From the 2003 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).