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Bars in the Hood

The best local watering hole for wherever you live.

  • 1. Upper West Side

  • Emerald Inn

    205 Columbus Ave. , 212-874-8840

    This contagiously friendly Irish pub is a neighborhood hangout in a neighborhood where people don’t really “hang out.” People know each other by name, but they’re always willing to learn a new one.

  • 2. Hell's Kitchen

  • Bellevue Bar

    538 Ninth Ave.

    A true-blue dive bar. Old Bettie Page photos line the walls, the draft is served in plastic cups, and the clientele is strictly local. The jukebox has great drinking music—Ramones, Dean Martin, and Beastie Boys.

  • 3. Flatiron District

  • Flatiron Lounge

    37 W. 19th St., 212-727-7741

    The perfect combination of neighborhood bar and fashionable throwback cocktail haven. There’s usually room on one of the plush banquettes, and the fastidiously re-created twenties-style drinks are divine.

  • 4. West Village

  • Little Branch

    20 Seventh Ave. S., 212-929-4360

    If you don’t have the number for Milk & Honey (home of our best martini, page 78), come here: The cocktails at Sasha Petraske’s other bar, hidden belowground behind an unassuming brown door, are nearly as good.

  • 5. Financial District

  • John Street Bar & Grill

    17 John St., 212-349-4659

    With a biker barkeep, a seventies-style make-out nook, and a whisky list that’ll have you throwing darts crooked, this spacious rec room is a subterranean hideout from the overcrowded pubs nearby.

  • 6. Lower East Side

  • Fontana’s

    105 Eldridge St., 212-334-6740

    It’s not the friendly bar staff, the lofty, tri-level layout, or the always-packed Love Parade party on Fridays. It’s the fact that the Ludlow Street crowds stay away—which means that you, your friends, and Interpol’s Carlos D. can party in peace.

  • 7. Upper East Side

  • Session 73

    1359 First Ave., 212-517-4445

    Upper East Side bars that have live music. It’s rarer still to come by one that’s not dominated by twenty televisions.

  • 8. East Midtown

  • BUtterfield 8

    5 E. 38th St., 212-679-0646

    Straddling that line between unassuming after-work pub and thoughtfully accessible lounge isn’t easy, but this newbie does so nimbly. Ahi-tuna salad and a cranberry Cosmo, anyone? Or a cold Bud?

  • 9. Murray Hill

  • Pinetree Lodge

    326 E. 35th St., 212-481-5490

    This escape from the Third Avenue post-frat zoo—it’s all alone on a block of dark slab towers and a U.N. mission—is more East Village than east midtown. The pleasingly grungy garden helps.

  • 10. Williamsburg

  • Turkey’s Nest Tavern

    94 Bedford Ave., 718-384-9774

    At this proudly low-rent sports dive, lingering blue-collar locals watch Yankees games and play Big Buck Hunter II with the vinyl-loving upstarts who’ve been pricing them out. And a 32-ounce Bud is just $3.50.

  • 11. Park Slope

  • Barbès

    376 9th St., 718-965-9177

    Like the African marketplace in its namesake Paris neighborhood, this intimate, red-lit back room has a funky patchwork of offerings: world music, retro sounds, film screenings, and readings from neighborhood literati.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine