Sake bars in NYC: Sakagura, SakaMai, Samurai Mama and more

There are beer gardens and there are wine bars — and of course, there are regular corner dives, too. But if you happen to be on the lookout for a nightlife change, head to one of these sake bars.

Sake need not only be consumed alongside rolls at your local sushi joint. Made from rice in a process more similar to beer than wine, sake runs the gamut from cloudy and sweet to clear and bone-dry. In Japan sake culture revolves around izakayas (pubs, usually serving small bites). Luckily for New Yorkers, the city has some establishments that emulate this tradition.

Head to easygoing spots like Sake Bar Hagi or Sakagura in midtown for casual sipping or perhaps hop on the L train to Williamsburg for more of a sit-down affair at Samurai Mama. And remember, you can drink your poison chilled or warmed up.

Steven Castile