It’s no secret that New York City has some of the best cocktails in the world. With the advent of cocktail culture brimming over from London in the past century or so, craft cocktails are no longer found only behind hidden doorways and through secret passageways. Nowadays, fine drinking is just as common as fine dining. You won’t encounter fine food at many bars in NYC, but sometimes, when the moon and the stars align just right, a single venue does both incredibly well, and the dining experience becomes an epicurean journey for the senses.
Saxon + Parole
As the hostess directs you to a seat at the bar, you notice the heavy use of bare wood throughout the restaurant. Saxon + Parole is an equestrian-themed restaurant, but it’s the best-smelling stable you’ve ever been to. Located on The Bowery, Saxon + Parole serves traditional grill fare with a global twist, pairing local and domestic meat and seafood with seasonal produce.
Award-winning and heavily influenced by the Japanese cocktail culture, the drink list here is complex, yet focuses on one thing—drinkability. Each bartender is adorned in a bespoke leather apron, and you can tell by the precise care taken in shaking, stirring, and swizzling that these guys know what they’re doing.
The NoMad Hotel
Perhaps one of New York’s finest establishments, The NoMad Hotel is not only an upscale hotel with influences from all over the world, but it’s home to seven renowned spaces for eating and imbibing. Walking into the main dining room is a luxurious experience—lavish crystal chandeliers sway from the ceiling, and oriental rugs and an intricate mahogany decor beckon, “Come, drink here, relax…”
Serving some of the best cocktails in the city, and known to be home to some of the best bars in NYC, The NoMad Hotel’s cocktail program that has won multiple awards. Though any one of their venues is a fine choice, The Parlour is a dignified space made for an unparalleled dining experience accompanied by a perfectly crafted cocktail.
For a true Upper East Side experience, visit Rotisserie Georgette. The opulent dining room is alight with delicate candlesticks and the city’s upper class. Antique sconces hang from the exposed brick above a number of small, intimate tables. Serving rustic French fare and, of course, some of the most mouthwatering rotisserie chicken you’ll ever sink your teeth into, Rotisserie Georgette is the full Parisian experience in NYC. The bar is run by some incredibly knowledgeable bartenders, and you can rest assured knowing that your drink order is in good hands. After dinner, try the Brown Bull Float, a bourbon-based cocktail inspired by a classic root beer float.
Named after the goddess of the maguey, the plant used to make tequila, Mayahuel is an upscale Mexican restaurant with a specialty in, you guessed it, tequila. The doorway on East 6th Street is discreet, embellished only by the curvaceous outline of Mayahuel herself. Once inside, you feel like you’ve been transported to either a Mexican dive bar or a Mexican prison (if Mexican prisons served booze), where steel bars line the windows and skinny figurines are trapped inside the walls. The upstairs restaurant, however, is sure to be a spiritual experience, as the stained-glass windows are more reminiscent of a Mexican church. Mayahuel is another venture by Phil Ward, a cocktail mogul best known for his internationally-recognized bar, Death & Co, which is widely considered to be one of the best bars in NYC.
If you’ve come to New York but are craving a little bit of New Orleans, look no further than Maison Premiere. Doling out some of the city’s freshest oysters, this bespoke restaurant is a Williamsburg institution. Small plates are served up NOLA style, and the cocktails are, too (that means they’re good). The indoor dining area is small and rustic, but in the warmer months, saunter your way to the outdoor garden and escape the sun under a thick blanket of greenery that lines the courtyard. Some of their best cocktails include absinthe, but don’t let that scare you—when used appropriately, it’s a glorious addition to a mixed drink (and won’t make you see fairies)!