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Eat and Drink

Best of New York: Bars

Sakamai has wonderful saki but also fantastic complimentary

Sakamai has wonderful saki but also fantastic complimentary small bites, like oysters three ways. Photo Credit: Sakamai

Best Bar for Unique Cocktails: Whiskey Soda Lounge

This Brooklyn spot has the power of Andy Ricker (Pok Pok) behind it. Opened this past summer just next to the waterfront, the casual Southeast Asian-inspired cocktail lounge serves up creative drinks, such as the Khing & I, with Mekhong, lime and house-made ginger syrup, alongside signature Pok Pok-style peanuts with lime leaf, garlic, chilies and sea salt. 115 Columbia St., Columbia Street Waterfront District, 718-797-4120,

Best Sake Bar: SakaMai

This spot has earned a spot on the Best of New York list thanks to its sleek vibe, comprehensive and varied sake menu and fantastic complementing fare. Bites such as the Egg on Egg on Egg with sea urchin and sturgeon caviar on a bed of scrambled eggs pair perfectly with sake flights and sake-based cocktails like the Ashputtel with junmai sake, plum wine, peach liqueur and plum vinegar. 157 Ludlow St., 646-590-0684,

Best Bar Bites: Alder

You can't argue with Wylie Dufresne's expertise. At his new spot Alder, Dufresne has brought his creative (to say the least) cuisine to a casual, publike atmosphere. Here, bites like Scotch quail eggs with onion marmalade and arugula and curried goat with acorn squash, coco bread and pickled turmeric balance a fun and varied libation selection. 157 Second Ave., 212-539-1900,

Best Beer Bar: Torst

Opened in partnership (and in a shared space) with Scandinavian eatery Luksus, Torst has earned acclaim as one of the most popular beer destinations since its opening in July. The space is clean and simple with lots of wood and light marble, and the vibe is laid-back, with a full-service tasting menu eatery in the back should your stomach start grumbling. 615 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint, 718-389- 6034,

Best Bar to Catch Up with a Long-Lost Friend: The Norwood

Proclaimed as a "home for the curious" by its owner, The Norwood Club exists somewhere between the SoHo House and an Upper East Side supper club. Sure, it has an air of exclusivity, but with that air comes a quiet, subdued vibe that allows for long talks about all the major life events that took place in the time since you last saw each other -- and there's a fireplace! 241 W. 14th St., 212-255-9300,

Best Bar for a First Date: The Penrose

Part bar, part restaurant, The Penrose is a casually cool spot that has all the makings for a great first date. From the Wilfie & Nell mind of Ruairi Curtin, The Penrose has bites like oyster sliders (an aphrodisiac for the gastropub set) and creative cocktails such as the funky Dirty Pickle Martini, with Tito's vodka, McClure's Spicy Pickle Brine and, of course, a pickle garnish, or, on the slightly less smelly side, the Ginger Lee with blanco tequila, fresh-pressed ginger, lime, crème de cassis and club soda. 1590 Second Ave., 212-203-2751,

Best Bar for Networking Drinks: The Daily

This casual and inviting bar adjacent to the award-winning Public restaurant is quiet enough to chat, but not so quiet that a lull in conversation will get awkward. And, as an added bonus, a frequently changing menu featuring an array of great cocktails can certainly make for another topic of conversation should the need arise. 210 Elizabeth St., 212-343-7011,

Best New Sports Bar: The Royal

The Royal features 2,400 square feet of homemade cocktails, wine bottles, beer on tap and delicious snacks ranging from tuna tacos to meatball sliders. It strikes an ideal balance: The vibe is slightly more upscale than your average downtown pub, and the atmosphere is not nearly as uppity as you'd imagine. 127 Fourth Ave., 212-260-1099,

Best Bar for a Big Night Out: Acme

Located beneath the trendy Scandinavian eatery, the basement bar at Acme features a consistently upbeat and dance-inducing atmosphere, a late-night DJ and comfortable seating. There's also an elegant cocktail program to up the maturity level, and the space is available for private parties. 9 Great Jones St., 212-203-2121,

Best Happy Hour: Maison Premiere

Accurately billed as an absinthe and oyster house, one of the best assets of this spot that's been beloved in its two years of service is its oyster happy hour. At $1 each, these slippery treats are worth the trek across the river -- especially if you're also craving a well-crafted cocktail, too. 298 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg, 347-335-0446,

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