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Eat and Drink

Best bars: NYC's top cocktail den, speakeasy, newbie and more

It was a great year for booze in New York City.

2016 saw the arrival of plenty of new bars, some of which quickly worked their way into the cream of New York City's cocktail crop. Whether you want to sip selections from a lovingly curated wine list, enjoy a perfectly mixed cocktail or just hang out in a beautiful space, we've got you covered.

Here's a look at the best new bars to hit the nightlife scene in 2016.

Best new bar: BlackTail

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry already have a
Photo Credit: BlackTail

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry already have a winner with The Dead Rabbit, which was named the best bar in the world this year by Drinks International. Their newest NYC bar lives up to their acclaim. The Cuba-during-U.S.-Prohibition theme actually works, with decor that transports you to Havana (the live Cuban music and bartenders' fedoras also help). After starting with a frozen daiquiri sampler, you have your pick of nearly 50 expertly-crafted cocktails. (22 Battery Place, 2nd floor of Pier A, 212-785-0153, blacktailnyc.com)

Best cocktail menu: Suffolk Arms

Co-owner Giuseppe Gonzalez's resume includes such influential bars
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Co-owner Giuseppe Gonzalez's resume includes such influential bars as Flatiron Lounge, Pegu Club and Dutch Kills. Add Suffolk Arms to that list. A love letter of sorts to the modern cocktail scene, the thoughtful, personal drinks menu pays homage to top mixologists while mixing up creative originals. The pub is also a love letter to New York, with portraits of influential New Yorkers on the walls. (269 E. Houston St., 212-475-0400, suffolkarms.com)

Best wine bar: Ruffian

This is the definition of hidden gem. The
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

This is the definition of hidden gem. The narrow, friendly spot in the East Village has gained fans for its ambitious 100-bottle wine list that ranges from all over the world, though makers are primarily from France, specializing in natural wine. Don't pass on the food either, with small plates tailored to pair well with the available selection. (125 E. Seventh St., 212-777-0855, ruffiannyc.com)

Best rooftop bar: Westlight

The rooftop bar can be a bit of
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks

The rooftop bar can be a bit of a gamble, with overpriced, poorly made drinks, unwieldy crowds and subpar views at risk. But NoHo Hospitality's new bar manages to avoid the hazards with a beautifully designed space on the 22nd floor of the new William Vale hotel. Enjoy unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline while sipping on local beers or a negroni sbagliato or the cheekily named College Fund cocktail, and snack on the elevated bar bites from Andrew Carmellini. (111 N. 12th St., Williamsburg, 718-307-7100, westlightnyc.com)

Best hidden bar: Karasu

It's no secret that New York City is
Photo Credit: Karasu

It's no secret that New York City is chock full of hidden bars -- bars beneath other bars, bars behind unmarked doors and bars within restaurants. Among the latter, there's Karasu. Located at the back of Walter's, the Japanese-style speakeasy is worth seeking out for its drinks menu (courtesy of famed Major Food Group beverage director Thomas Waugh) and exciting eats by Yael Peet (Shuko). 166 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene, 347-223-4811, karasubk.com)

Best-looking bar: Le Boudoir

This cocktail bar from the owners of Chez
Photo Credit: Le Boudoir

This cocktail bar from the owners of Chez Moi also requires you to be a bit in-the-know -- you enter through a door in the French restaurant. Once you descend the steps, you're transported to a Marie Antoinette boudoir-inspired beaut of a bar, from the gilded mirrors to the red velvet banquettes to the white marble tables. The signature cocktails are appropriately just as ornate, served in silver coupes and Cristal D'Arques Longchamp glasses. (135 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights, 347-227-8337, boudoirbk.com)

Best budget-friendly bar: Yours Sincerely

Shelling out $15 or $16 for a cocktail
Photo Credit: Adam Robb

Shelling out $15 or $16 for a cocktail is pretty standard now. But that isn't the case at this laid-back Bushwick bar. The unpretentious "cocktail laboratory" serves all of its libations on tap, most for $8 (if not less). Even better, they taste better than you'd expect a draft cocktail to taste. If you're hungry, order from the owners' equally affordable next-door restaurant, Sincerely Burger. (41 Wilson Ave., Bushwick, 929-234-2344, yourssincerely.co)

Best moment in NYC night life: Bill Murray tending bar at 21 Greenpoint

When 21 Greenpoint held private opening parties in
Photo Credit: Gabi Porter

When 21 Greenpoint held private opening parties in September, it had none other than Bill Murray behind the bar (Murray's son owns the Greenpoint space, a revamp of the restaurant River Styx). It was a publicity ploy that worked like magic: The stunt went viral and drew lines of Murray fans eager to take an Instagram of the actor pouring shots. Long-term, we're sure visitors will be keeping their eyes open in case the proud pop is there, on the clock or not. (21 Greenpoint Ave., 718-383-8833, 21greenpoint.com)

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