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Best bars in NYC 2015: The Happiest Hour, Porchlight, Slowly Shirley and more

The Happiest Hour is a retro, palm tree-adorned

The Happiest Hour is a retro, palm tree-adorned bar with classic and signature cocktails. Photo Credit: Zandy Mangold

These are the best new bars in Manhattan in 2016:


This quaint little wine bar in Alphabet City takes all the pretention out grabbing a drink with the girls. All of Lois' wines are served on tap -- so the wine you're getting is as fresh as the day it was kegged. Try a glass of Saintsbury Pinot Noir or a Brooklyn Winery Roebling Blend, then pair it with the house bread and homemade butter or one of the other creative small plates on offer. 98 Ave. C, 212-475-1400,

The Late Late

The Late Late brings Irish hospitality to the Lower East Side. In the quirkily-decorated bar -- there are two floors adorned with everything from vintage flower wallpaper to exposed brick and pin-tucked banquets -- guests can sip house classics like an old fashioned or a Sazerac or go right for the Guinness, which can be served over ice with mint in a crystal goblet. 159 E. Houston St., 646-861-3342,

Bar Goto

This new Lower East Side cocktail den is from Pegu Club alum Kenta Goto. The intimate space is sparsely decorated, but his grandmother's century-old kimono hangs on the wall. On the menu are plenty of cocktails spiked with Japanese stalwarts like sake, preserved yuzu, shiso, wasabi salt and miso. Don't forget to line your stomach with chef Kiyo Shinoki's okonomiyaki. 245 Eldridge St., 212-475-4411,

Mother of Pearl

Ravi DeRossi has transformed what was once Gin Palace in the East Village into a cool tiki bar. The new spot is vibrant, with lots of light, white bar stools with green cushions and a very long white-and-green bar. Dram and The NoMad Bar alums Thomas Chadwick and Jane Danger put together the cocktail menu, which is packed with elevated tiki classics like Shark Eye (with passion fruit, lemon, maraschino, curacao, bourbon and bitters) and the Black Dragon with oolong tea, peach, lemon, Barenjager and vodka. 95 Ave. A., 212-614-6818,

Slowly Shirley

Just below The Happiest Hour is this subterranean cocktail lounge by Jon Neidich (ACME) and Jim Kearns (The Nomad Hotel, Pegu Club). Sway to the beats of Duke Ellington and Lou Reed as you sip powerful drinks, from an aperitif like Rosa Left (The Window Open), with Malbec, ruby port, Angostura, cinnamon, mint and nutmeg, to the gin-based Loose Lips Sink Ships, which is finished with absinthe. 121 W. 10th St., 212-243-2827,


Danny Meyer continues to take over the NYC hospitality scene with this bar with a self-proclaimed Southern accent. Drinks are boozy and straight-forward like a Sazerac and whiskey and cola (with homemade cola syrup), plus a daily special punch that's great for groups. And Blue Smoke's Jean-Paul Bourgeois created the bar snacks, so you best pair your drink with some boiled peanut hummus or fried oysters. 271 11th Ave., 212-981-6188,

Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Originally built in 1835, Holiday Cocktail Lounge closed in 2012 before being resurrected this past spring in its same spot on Saint Marks. It may be under new ownership, but the bar hasn't lost many of the quirks that made it unique, like the old wooden phone booth and wild mural. What has changed are the cocktails, which have gotten an upgrade from brothers Michael and Danny Neff. Go for the Peat's Dragon. 75 St. Marks Place, 212-777-9637,


Talk about street cred. This subterranean lair is from David Kaplan and Alex Day, the cocktail mavens behind the much-heralded Death & Co., and star mixologist Natasha David of Maison Premiere. Tucked under Schapiro's, the little cocktail den offers light aperitifs and spritzes, along with stronger drinks (for "a little kick in the bum," per the menu) like the BlackJack with Rittenhouse rye, Lairds apple brandy, Ancho Reyes and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. There are also actual nitecaps, or "the equivalent of putting on a really comfy sweater," like the Vee Mon with toasted coconut-infused scotch, pineapple gum, cinnamon and cream. That comfy sweater feels real nice. 120 Rivington St., 212-466-3361,

Genuine Liquorette

Cocktails are even more fun to drink at Genuine Superette's boozy sister from AvroKO and Eben Freeman. Here, Freeman uses a machine with a metal tip to widen the drinking hole in any can, like ginger beer or tomato juice, then he inverts little bottles of booze into them for an awesome cocktail -- and an arguably better conversation piece. Try the mojito with Cruzan white rum, Sprite, lime and mint or a Dark and Stormy (Ron Zacapa rum tipped into a can of ginger beer). 191 Grand St.,

The Up & Up

What was once the historic Gaslight Cafe is now the Up & Up, an intimate cocktail bar on MacDougal Street. Ironically, you'll have to walk down some stairs to get to the subterranean space. But the Up & Up is worth finding, not just for its cool bottled cocktails but its "halfies," which are perfect if you're a lightweight or want to try a bunch of different drinks in one sitting. 116 Macdougal St., 212-260-3000,


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