It’s time to end your hibernation and venture back out into the not-so-wild yonder: New York’s best spring bars. Put on your day-drinking face: Whether the coming weeks hold rainy days or sunny skies, we found the best places to booze and the top drinks to down while you are at the Big Apple for AD Home Design Show.
Applewood-smoked ice, radish bitters, and Fernet-Branca-and-cola on tap make their Avenue C debuts on January 13 at the Wayland, Alphabet City’s newest outpost for cutting-edge cocktails. The scavenger-chic décor bears the distinctive mark of Greenpoint’s brothers Haslegrave; bar snacks range from raw oysters to “braised beast” on toast; and live music is the sole legaly of the joint’s humble predecessor, Banjo Jim’s.
The diminutive 1534 packs a punch. Actually, it packs several on the spring menu. Based on the geography of the French colonies, the drinks list is divided into various regions—French Polynesia and the Pacific, Indochina, Africa and the Americas—and you can explore each via three cocktails, served either as an individual size or in a larger group format. While the flavors sometimes veer into extreme exoticism, it all works thanks to skilled mixologists. Balance is achieved in complex tipples like the Tirailleurs Punch, in which Zu bison-grass vodka gets a bitter splash of Aperol, acidity from fresh lemon juice, and cinnamon and clove notes from ras el hanout–spice-infused apple cider. Clean, sophisticated design completes the experience: Cream-hued walls bear a faint design of grass stalks, puddles of light pool on tiled floors, and dark wood booths are easy places to sequester for intimate conversations.
An international crowd flocks here, given the proximity to the U.N., so don’t be surprised if you overhear conversations on the latest in world affairs. Sip $12.50 cocktails such as the Havana Fizz (aged rum, Champagne, lime juice and muddled mint) or the World Peace Cocktail (gin, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, elderflower syrup and a dash of blue curacao), or if you’re willing to part with $50, go for The World Cocktail (Remy XO, Pineau des Charentes, grape juice, lemon juice and bitters, topped with Veuve Cliquot Champagne and a drizzle of 23-carat edible liquid gold).
If you’re looking for an opulent setting to kick back in, The Champagne Bar at The Plaza delivers, with soaring ceilings, upholstered furniture and gleaming chandeliers. In addition to high-end Champagne (a glass of Krug Grand Cuvee will set you back $42), The Champagne Bar also offers a small selection of Champagne cocktails. Try the Imperial Plaza (Blume Marillen Apricot eau-de-vie, clover honey syrup, lemon juice and Brut Champagne) or the Strawberry and Champagne Mojito (strawberries, mint bathed in Bacardi Light, lime juice and Brut Champagne). Wine, beer, coffee, tea and small gourmet plates round out the menu.
Featuring a black and white decor inspired by Coco Chanel, this hotel bar adjacent to Daniel Boulud’s Cafe Boulud is an Upper East Side gem. The cocktail menu here ranges from classic to seasonal to exotic. Settle into a white quilted booth and toast your fashionable taste with the Cornucopia (gin, Kirsch, apricot, sage and lemon) or the Fujian Cocktail (brandy, black tea-infused Cointreau, amaro, lemongrass distillate and Japanese bitters).