Happy Hour Friday // My Four Essential NYC Bars

There's no shortage of great bars in this city. I could pick a favorite place to grab a drink in every neighborhood in Manhattan, and a favorite in each borough, but I wanted to put a list together of what I consider to be my essential Manhattan bars. This is a very short list of places I love and would highly recommend to someone visiting New York. It is by no means a full list of the greatest bars in the city. Without further ado...

The Rainbow Room
On the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza is The Rainbow Room, an iconic fine dining restaurant. The Rainbow Room opened in 1934 and was the first restaurant in a high-rise building. It closed in 2009 and reopened last year after a full renovation. The result is a gorgeous, sleek, modern restaurant that still hints at its past (some areas of the space remain largely unchanged, protected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission). As part of The Rainbow Room's reopening, a cocktail lounge adjacent to the restaurant called SixtyFive was created. It's a stunning bar to grab a drink and take in breathtaking views of the city.

The Happiest Hour
A great West Village spot, The Happiest Hour is such a fun change from your typical neighborhood cocktail bar. It has a bit of a tiki bar vibe, with palm tree wallpaper and decor that nods to 1950's Florida. The cocktails are killer, the scene is unpretentious, and they have a great menu (my meat-eating friends swear by the burger).

Raine's Law Room
The original Raine's Law Room in Flatiron (there is now one on 39th street too) is such a special place. The bar is a speakeasy with an unmarked door. Ring the doorbell and a doorman appears to take your name and party size. The space is dim and romantic, with 1920's decor. Each table comes equipped with a buzzer that you can ring when you need service. It's such a cool little spot and makes for the perfect date night.

McSorley's is one of the oldest bars in the city; the sign outside says it opened in 1854. It's known as the oldest Irish tavern in NYC and is cash-only, beer-only (only two types, light and dark) and jam packed with awesome memorabilia from its over a century in business. Sawdust covers the floors, when you order a beer you get two 8oz glasses of suds, and women weren't allowed in until 1970. It's a quirky place filled with great New York history (read more about that here).

Check out some of my other favorite bars here and here.

*images via one two three four


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