Eat and Drink Cocktail bars NYC: Our favorite places to drink By Georgia Kral and Meghan Giannotta Updated October 13, 2016 8:43 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet gShare Email New York has raised the bar when it comes to cocktails. The city is brimming with spots that cater to the cocktail crowd, from Porchlight to Employees Only and beyond. Ditch the draft beer and house wine for the night, and try a complex cocktail at one of these top-notch spots. The Bonnie Photo Credit: The Bonnie Mixologist Mike Di Tota is the talent behind The Bonnie's cocktails. The Astoria-based bar and eatery prides itself on incorporating fresh ingredients, thanks to Di Tota's botanical background (he's a graduate of the New York Botanical Garden's School of Professional Horticulture and a self-proclaimed "plant geek"). Want to taste just how fresh The Bonnie's drinks are? Try the Just Benji (pictured). It's a mix of Cruzan dark rum, blackberry puree, house-made orgeat, ginger, honey, lime juice and Peychaud's Bitters. (29-12 23rd Ave., Queens, thebonnie.com) Standing Room Photo Credit: Standing Room When you order a cocktail at Standing Room, don't expect to drink it out of a glass. The Queens-based bar is known for serving its craft cocktails in unusual items (like a whole pepper or light bulb). While you're there, try the Smoke and Flower, pictured, right. It's a mix of smoke-bourbon, ancho chile, Cynar, house bitters, dry gin, lavender, elderflower and cranberry. (4738 Vernon Blvd., Queens, standingroomlic.com) Dutch Kills Photo Credit: Isaac Rosenthal Dutch Kills is "Long Island City's finest cocktail bar" (self-dubbed). It may be tempting to fill up on the pies and treats (the joint sells desserts from LIC's M. Wells), but save some room for the crafty cocktails. Its drinks are known for their fresh ingredients, which topple over atop the bar. Those with a taste for brandy will want to try the Brandy Cobbler, pictured, served in a metal cup and topped with seasonal berries. (27-24 Jackson Ave, Queens, dutchkillsbar.com) The NoMad Bar Photo Credit: The NoMad Bar Inside the NoMad Hotel is the NoMad Bar, a beautiful and luxurious spot to have a cocktail. At once both dark (mahogany, velvet) and light (huge windows), the spot feels like an exclusive clubhouse. The cocktail menu, which features the classics as well as large-format, shareable drinks, was designed by bar director Leo Robitschek. (10 W. 28th St., Manhattan, thenomadhotel.com) The Dead Rabbit Photo Credit: Brent Herrig The Dead Rabbit opened in 2013 but feels like it's been in its multi-story townhouse in the Financial District for 100 years. It is a highly stylized cocktail bar with punches, oysters, decadent mixed drinks and bartenders in old-fashioned outfits. (30 Water St., Manhattan, deadrabbitnyc.com) Bar Sardine Photo Credit: Henry Hargreaves Gabriel Stulman's small bar and restaurant Bar Sardine in the West Village makes up for its size with its outlandishly delicious cocktails. What sets these cocktails apart are the embellishments. The Texas, Paris, pictured, is made with vodka, Lillet and maple syrup, and it's finished with a coffee barbecue rub on the rim. The Mexican old-fashioned is made with tequila, amontillado and cognac and finished with black pepper. Spicy! (183 W. 10th St., Manhattan, barsardinenyc.com) Tooker Alley Photo Credit: Paul Wagtouicz This Prospect Heights bar is open to anyone who loves a stiff drink with a side of history. Boasting a deep menu, complete with illustrations and bar rules and tales, Tooker Alley is a throwback to the Prohibition era. The cocktails are appropriately named: Try the Woody Guthrie or the Outlaw Josey Wales. (793 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights, tookeralley.com) Porchlight Photo Credit: Andrew Kist Union Square Hospitality Group opened this bar on the far west side of Manhattan in early 2015, and it's been popular since day one, thanks to its tasty tipples that span the spectrum from boozy to very, very boozy. Our favorite to look at and drink is the Gun Metal Blue, pictured, with mezcal, curacao, peach brandy, lime and cinnamon. (271 Eleventh Ave., Manhattan, porchlightbar.com) Bemelmans Bar Photo Credit: Don Riddle This classic bar at The Carlyle hotel in the Upper East Side is the stuff of nostalgic dreams, soaked in brandy and bourbon. There's a grand piano, cocktails are almost twice the size they should be and Woody Allen plays clarinet across the hall at the Cafe Carlyle every Monday. You get the idea. The Art Deco decor and low lighting make this a favorite haunt of both celebrities and politicians. Oh and did we mention the drinks are stiff? Try the Luxury Sidecar with cognac, Calvados, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, lemon juice and simple syrup or Bemelmans take on the Moscow Mule, made with gin instead of vodka. There's a cover charge after 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday and after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. (35 E. 76th St., Manhattan, rosewoodhotels.com) The Long Island Bar Photo Credit: Al Rodriguez The Long Island Bar takes its name from a restaurant that for 50 years operated in the same location at the foot of Atlantic Avenue near the East River. The bar owners lovingly restored the feeling of that restaurant and even kept the neon signs outside, to the pleasure of locals. The cocktails are classic: gimlets, boulevardiers and daiquiris are popular. (110 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, thelongislandbar.com) Pouring Ribbons Photo Credit: Jakob Layman Located two stories above Avenue B in the East Village is Pouring Ribbons, an exceptionally comfortable and chic cocktail lounge. If you like classiness with your beverage, this is your place. Don't miss The Lost City, with tequila, kumquats, Thai basil, Aperol and ginger. (225 Ave. B, Manhattan, pouringribbons.com) Employees Only Photo Credit: Emilie Baltz In 2004, five cocktail lovers decided to open a bar that would focus on the art of the cocktail, paving the way for the modern cocktail movement that has dominated the country, one bitters drop at a time. (Can you even think of a new restaurant that doesn't have house cocktails at this point?) Employees Only in the West Village has been considered one of the best cocktail bars in the city and even the country ever since opening its doors. Don't miss the Provencal, pictured, with lavender-infused Plymouth Gin, herbs de Provence-infused French Vermouth and Cointreau. (510 Hudson St., Manhattan, employeesonlynyc.com) The Happiest Hour Photo Credit: Zandy Mangold This West Village gem takes you to a place far, far away from NYC. With it's tropical vibes and both classic and beachy-themed cocktails, there's nothing not to like about this spot. Try the Maid to Order, pictured, with cucumber and mint and your choice of gin, rum or tequila. Oh, and did we mention they also make some of the best cheeseburgers in the city? (121 W. 10th St., Manhattan, happiesthournyc.com) Booker and Dax Photo Credit: William Hereford The cocktail bar from Momofuku and mixologist Dave Arnold is known for employing tools like liquid nitrogen to make its cocktails special. They have an entire section of the menu dedicated to carbonated cocktails, and no that doesn't mean with seltzer. We love the First Date, pictured, with bourbon and dates and the Parti Down, with rhum agricole, cane syrup and lime acid. (207 Second Ave., Manhattan, bookeranddax.momofuku.com) Maison Premiere Photo Credit: Maison Premiere This absinthe and oysters den features one of the most beautiful backyards in Brooklyn. Maison won the Outstanding Bar Program award at the 2016 James Beard Awards, so don't sleep on this one. It's always pretty crowded, especially at happy hour, but the wait is worth it for the absinthe drip, the absinthe cocktails and the rest of the cocktails, too. (298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, maisonpremiere.com) Clover Club Photo Credit: Clover Club Open since 2008, Clover Club is one of Brooklyn's classic cocktail establishments. Opened by mixed-drinks maven Julie Reiner, who previously worked at Pegu Club and Flatiron Lounge, the bar quickly caught on with knowing Brooklynites who loved the small plates, cozy atmosphere (complete with fireplace) and inventive cocktails like Napoleon's Gold, with cognac, rum, orange liqueur, lime cordial, house falernum and prosecco. (210 Smith St., Brooklyn, cloverclubny.com) Leyenda Photo Credit: Leyenda This new spot in Carroll Gardens was opened by Julie Reiner of Clover Club fame and her protegee Ivy Mix. The bar specializes in "pan-Latin cocteles," like the Lil Smokey, pictured, with mezcal, cachaça, lime and pineapple syrup. (221 Smith St., Brooklyn, leyendabk.com) Yours Sincerely Photo Credit: Yours Sincerely via Facebook This new Bushwick "cocktail laboratory" features cocktails on tap, all for just $8 a pop (the cheapest we've seen for craft cocktails in years). Try the Pineapple Express Pina Colada, with coconut-infused Denizen rum, organic pineapple juice and vanilla-coconut syrup. (41 Wilson Ave., Brooklyn, yourssincerely.co) The Penrose Photo Credit: The Penrose A diamond in the rough of the Upper East Side, the Penrose is a beautiful place for dinner and, of course, cocktails. Nothing about this place is especially unique, per se, but it hits all the right notes, which is the objective of a neighborhood spot like this. Try the Old Pal Spencer, with Templeton rye, Aperol, Dolin Rouge vermouth and Angostura bitters. (1590 Second Ave., Manhattan, penrosebar.com) By Georgia Kral and Meghan Giannotta Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Brooklyn's best bar deals How to drink on the cheap in NYC. Ladybird, Mile End and more new restaurants to visit Stay in the know on new restaurants. Raise a stein at these local beer gardensFrom the old to the relatively new, some favorite communal options for grabbing a pint -- or two. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.