Eight Enchanting Design-Forward NYC Bars

From a sky-high cocktail bar to the return of a downtown icon and a luscious piano bar

For those who like to dine out or drink well, there’s so much to be excited about in NYC. Many longtime favorites—from Dante and Katana Kitten to Bemelmans Bar and The Terrace at The EDITION Times Square—weathered years of uncertainty. Erstwhile, a number of new venues opened their doors and welcomed guests to inviting, innovative and impressive spaces. Though the list is ever-growing, the following eight spots enchant from the moment one takes a glimpse within.

Courtesy of Liz Clayman

The Nines

Nothing is left unconsidered at The Nines, the sumptuous piano bar by Jon Neidich’s Golden Age Hospitality. Whether it’s the mood-setting, drenched-in-red design by Springs Collective; the live jazz performances (which often include riveting renditions of pop hits), the signature cocktail list (which features a Cosmo worth consuming) or the dazzling and unexpected menu items, The Nines turns an age-old international concept into an inspiring present-day destination.

Courtesy of Pebble Bar

Pebble Bar

Pebble Bar exceeds all expectation. Extending upward over several floors in an iconic townhouse that’s held drinking establishments for more than 100 years at Rockefeller Center, the new hot-spot serves classic cocktails, a light and refreshing menu and even incorporates a secret speakeasy. The impeccable design—a bit nostalgic, entirely elegant—was helmed by Gachot Studios.

Courtesy of Sunken Harbor Club

Sunken Harbor Club

Tucked above the retro charm of historic Brooklyn bistro Gage & Tollner, the tiny cocktail nook that is Sunken Harbor Club embraces a thorough nautical theme. Owned and founded by St. John Frizell and designed by Gage & Tollner partner Ben Schneider, the nuanced space emulates being onboard a seaworthy ship; perfectly paired to this, the cocktail menu—imagined by Chief Cocktail Officer Garret Richard—takes tiki into the 21st century. If Sunken Harbor Club is full or if one happens to be interested in exploring the area, it’s a two-minute stroll to Grand Army or the lobby bar at the Ace Brooklyn.

Courtesy of Alexa Bendek

Saint Tuesday

In Tribeca, the Walker Hotel’s subterranean speakeasy, Saint Tuesday possesses a dash of charm that travels from its design—led by John McCormick—to its concise menu of classic cocktails. Saint Tuesday embraces the speakeasy ethos, and the cozy space feels out of place and time. Be prepared for live music after 10:30PM.

Courtesy of Don Freeman

Temple Bar

From 1989 to 2017, Temple Bar accrued quite a reputation for its specific iteration of downtown glamour. Last year, the venue reopened under a pioneering new management team (who were all patrons of the original), with design led by Melissa Bowers. Although some original touches remain, there’s even more to love—top among the additions being the Blue Negroni and caviar bumps to accompany martinis.

Courtesy of Great Jones Distilling Co

Great Jones Distilling Co

A milestone addition to NYC, Great Jones Distilling Co was the first whiskey distillery to open in Manhattan since Prohibition. The building in Noho is architecturally significant (and was reimagined through a partnership with Groundswell Design Group), the brand’s bourbon is superb and each of the bars on site offer something distinct. The Grid restaurant is an essential but it’s far from the only place one should drink when paying a visit.

By Aaron Bengochea, courtesy of Gem

Gem Wine

Around the corner from Lower East Side sister establishment Gem, chef Flynn McGarry’s Gem Wine is a warm, welcoming space serving a shifting selection of natural or low-intervention wines, as well as charming, seasonal small plates. It’s designed with a cozy, comfortable eccentricity—and communal tables encourage a bit of conversation with those nearby.

Courtesy of Rockwell Group

Peak/Peakaboo

On the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards (a few doors away from the Edge NYC outdoor observation deck), Peak—and its minimal design by Rockwell Group—offers uninterrupted views of the NYC skyline. By night (Thursday to Saturday), the restaurant’s chic cocktail bar transforms into Peakaboo, a glittering destination complete with a live DJ. Regardless of the time of day, it’s all a spectacle that’s supported by top-notch service and excellent mixed drinks. Peak isn’t alone in welcoming guests into the sky: both Overstory to Manhatta yield breathtaking views.

Hero image by Charissa Fay, courtesy of Peak