Eat and Drink NYC's best bars of 2014 By DAISY MELAMED Updated December 17, 2014 11:25 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email It's that time again -- time to revisit all that the past year has brought us and single out some of the best New York City has to offer. It's a tradition that never gets old. With that, here are our favorite new bars. Best setting: Grand Banks Photo Credit: Facebook/ Grand Banks When news of Grand Banks first hit, excitement levels were off the charts. Cocktails and oysters, on a 1940's fishing boat in the Hudson River? Fears of a Frying Pan-style scene dissipated too, when we learned Mark Firth (Diner, Marlow & Sons, Romans) was involved. Brooklyn charm/ hipness on a boat! And the only disappointment ended up being the popularity of Grand Banks. It was hard to get a spot, but if you did, blissssss. Did we mention it's a "social business" in collaboration with the non profit Maritime Foundation? Yeah, they want to support the seas that give us delicious bounty! The ship will set sail (it will open for business again) come spring. Hudson River Park, Pier 25, N. Moore Street and West Street, grandbanks.org --GEORGIA KRAL Best cocktails: The Eddy Following in the footsteps of its big sister Wallflower — a West Village favorite with a quiet cult following — The Eddy opened this spring in the former Toucan and the Lion space. The casual, intimate bar is helmed by Kelvin Uffre, a vet of Aldea and Maison Premiere. He’s designed a number of creative, masterly-made cocktails (all $14 and under), such as the Morgan LeFay and Crazy 88, that are beautiful to behold, too. 342 E. Sixth St., 646-895-9884, theeddynyc.com Best bar bites: Bar Sardine Photo Credit: Henry Hargreaves Bar Sardine is a reincarnation of Happy Cooking restaurateur Gabriel Stulman’s restaurant Chez Sardine. The new concept focuses on ultra-creative cocktails from the mind of Brian Bartels, but also a menu of small bar bites by Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly that are more delectable than the next. Highlights include the deviled eggs with soy and black garlic, local burrata with radishes and boquerones and the beloved Fedora Burger, piled with smoked cheddar, crispy potatoes, cucumbers and barbecue mayo. 183 W. 10th St., 646-360-3705, barsardinenyc.com Best bar for winos: Aldo Sohm Wine Bar Photo Credit: Aldo Sohm Wine Bar Aldo Sohm earned itself a ton of buzz when it opened this fall, thanks in large part to the superstar team behind it. This cozy midtown den of vin is the brainchild of Maguy Le Coze and Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert and is helmed by sommelier Aldo Sohm, the wine director of Le Bernardin. The wine list is naturally impressive, with rare bottles for the discerning sipper. Though the menu of Murray’s cheeses (could there be a more satisfying dish than baked camembert?), small French plates like grilled foie gras lollipops and luxe décor are also winning. 151 W. 51st St., 212-554-1143, aldosohmwinebar.com Best bar for groups: Berg’n Photo Credit: Berg'n This mega-beer hall from the Smorgasburg team is the perfect place for your next big hang, thanks to rows of communal picnic tables in its massive garage-like space. And with a variety of beers on draft, including Other Half Veldrijden Love and Sixpoint Sweet Action, and a mix of food vendors (Asia Dog, Might Quinn’s BBQ, Pizza Moto and Ramen Burger), there’s something for even your most picky friend. 899 Bergen St., Crown Heights, 718-857-2337, bergn.com Best not-so-secret secret hotspot: The Garret Photo Credit: The Garret It’s hard to keep a good secret these days, what with word of mouth amplified on social media and countless publications. But it's still fun to feel like you have a secret bar, and The Garret, located above a Five Guys on Bleecker Street, is that spot. At the self-proclaimed “refined drinking establishment,” bartenders can whip up any bespoke cocktail. Or give one of the signature creations a try, like the LTT Part Deux with vodka, pear, lime, genepi guillaument and maraschino in a coupe glass. 296 Bleecker St., 2nd Fl., 212-675-6157, garretnyc.com Best hipster bar: Sweetwater Social Photo Credit: Sweetwater Social Located beneath Bleecker Kitchen & Co., Sweetwater Social is like the adult playground you didn’t realize you wanted. The subterranean lounge from veteran mixologists Tim Cooper and Justin Noel has throwback games such as shuffleboard and foosball, as well as a playful menu of drinks including Call of Duty, Root Beer Buck and Bill Murray. You’ll feel like you’re back in your parent’s basement — but with better drinks. 643 Broadway, 212-253-0477 Best bar for a first date: The Handy Liquor Bar Photo Credit: Handy Liquor Bar Matt Levine (of Sons of Essex acclaim) is behind one of SoHo’s most mature additions, which has all the trappings of an ideal first date spot. The bar has a dark, library-like feel complete with mahogany walls, soft leather couches and excellent, house-made cocktails to impress your plus one. Time your date to the live jazz, played every Monday through Thursday from 7-9 p.m., to help set that ever-so-perfect ambience of romance. There’s also a chessboard, in case conversation is lacking. 527 Broome St., 212-390-1705, thehandyliquorbar.com Best bar for networking: Crimson & Rye Photo Credit: William Shear Part of Charlie Palmer’s empire, this popular after-work spot in midtown is calm, elegant and classic. The well-lit space features a round, wood-topped bar, leather chairs and metal bar stools. The bar, helmed by Luis Mendez of Mercer Kitchen, offers rare bourbons and house-made ginger beers alongside wines and cocktails like the Lincoln Road Julep with Four Roses Bourbon, angostura bitters and fresh bitters. If you need some calories to keep up your schmoozing, the kitchen offers small plates such as ahi tuna tacos and beef sliders. 198 E. 54th St., 212-687-6692, crimsonandrye.com Best bar for a big night out: Studio Photo Credit: Noah Fecks Located below the W Union Square, Studio is one of the latest creations from the Gerber Group, the hospitality powerhouse also owns spots like The Roof at the Viceory and Whiskey Park. Artist Domingo Zapata did the decor, and his aesthetic marries the cool-kid, loft-like feel of exposed ceilings with luxe velvet and funky, “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired pieces. There’s live music, a “create-your-own” gin and tonic menu and no lack of A-list clientele. 201 Park Avenue S., 212-358-1560, gerberbars.com/studio Best new Queens bar: Sek'end Sun Photo Credit: Se'kend Sun This Astoria cocktail bar brought a much needed shake to Broadway. Opened by New York bar veterans Derrek Vernon and Jay Zimmerman, this rustic yet chic venue serves a solid cocktail list of $10 concoctions including the Steinway-themed Black Baby Grand made with Irish whiskey, amaro, orange blossom water and barrel aged angostura bitters. In addition to excellent libations, the food menu, created by a Locanda Verde alum includes modern renditions of bar food like buffalo fried oysters and tots with spicy cheese sauce. 32-11 Broadway, Astoria, 917-832-6141, sekendsun.com --MELISSA KRAVITZ Most Instagram-worthy bar: The NoMad Bar Photo Credit: The NoMad Bar What exactly makes an establishment Instagram-worthy? Beauty and white-hot popularity, and the NoMad Bar has them both to spare. Both floors at this casual little sister to the neighboring NoMad restaurant are beautiful, with green leather seating, lots of dark wooden paneling and a comfortable, upscale pub-like atmosphere, and the cocktail creations by bar director Leo Robitschek are just waiting to be hashtagged. Since opening in June, NoMad Bar has not lost its impressive levels of ultra-adoration from its stylish clientele. 10 W. 28th St., 212-796-1500, thenomadhotel.com By DAISY MELAMED Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic The best new restaurants of 2014Our favorite new spots to eat. Our 10 new favorite places to shop in NYCSpend that dollar wisely. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.