Back in the Borough: Drink in NYC


Hi friends — welcome to the second installation of my ‘Things to do in NYC’ series. Today I’ll be taking on an uber-important category … drinking. We tend to do a lot of going out where drinks are involved. When you’re hanging out with friends, when you have people in town, when you’re celebrating something — all of these occasions tend to lend themselves to the drink.

Does that sound bad?

Anyway, Chris and I love a good classy cocktail as much as we love beer as much as we can get behind a tasty glass of wine. Essentially, we’re not picky. When it comes to places to grab a drink, though, well that’s a different story. A great place to kick back with a drink can be hard to find. And it doesn’t always have to be fancy — I love a good dive as much as the next guy. I’ve been taking mental notes throughout my past almost-seven years here, remembering those bars that seem great for certain occasions, and I’ve come up with a list that, I think, covers most of the bases.

Let’s see what you guys think.

Where to Drink in NYC

  1. The Lobby Bar at Ace Hotel for the trendy set: I’ve talked about the Ace Hotel bar on this blog before, but it’s worth repeating on this list. On any given night here you’ll see drag queens hangin’, actors still in costume from the plays they just finished performing chillen’, boys and girls canoodling on the comfy couches — just a whole bunch of really amazing stuff you can pretty much only find in Manhattan. Plus, the bartenders make a mean Mojito.
  2. Brooklyn Brewery for the hops lovers: Having been to the brewery a handful of times now, I can honestly say this is the place to go for a relaxing afternoon with your friends. While it’s a bit out in the middle of nowhere, and it can take some time to get there if you’re traveling from Manhattan, it’s worth the trek. The beer is delish, the atmosphere is festive, and you can order pizza from a nearby restaurant and get it delivered right to your table. There’s just something so fantastic about that.
  3. Little Town for a taste of New York state: NYC is relatively small, right? So there’s not a whole lot of room to brew our own beers here. The entire state, however, is quite large, and amazing little breweries have been popping up all over for some time now. You don’t have to travel the length of NY to try them out, though — Little Town will bring them directly to your table. The last time I was here I talked about the map on the wall, which points out all of the locations around the state from which they gather their brews, including places like Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. It doesn’t hurt that their appetizers are amazing, as well.
  4. The Raines Law Room for an old-school feel: If sophisticated swilling of fine, fancy cocktails is what you’re looking for, look no farther than The Raines Law Room. Knock on the front door and see if you’ll even be allowed in — fanciness comes with a bit of attitude, my friends. If you are indeed let in, you’ll find that It’s dark, quiet and comfy with all of their soft, plush couches. And there’s no rushing the bar, here, either — just click the hidden buzzer at your couch and the waitress comes to you. Now that’s service.
  5. 2nd Floor on Clinton for speakeasy seekers: Another hidden gem (you have to walk to the back of a raging Mexican restaurant and politely ask the bouncer at the back stairs if you can go up), 2nd Floor on Clinton is the polar opposite of what you’ll find downstairs. Decorated as if you’re at home in a good friend’s apartments, you’ll find fireplaces and dim lighting, small tables, comfy chairs and couches and quiet music. The cocktails here are pretty $$, but they’re delicious, and I would highly recommend ordering the chocolates infused with different liquors.
  6. The Campbell Apartment for classy convenience: Let’s say you’re in midtown, and you’d like to grab some drinks, but you’d rather not head into a dive bar or spend hours trying to find a place that’s good and not crazy expensive. The Campbell Apartment is conveniently located right inside Grand Central Station, and their cocktails are cool and sophisticated (if also somewhat $$). There’s a dress code here, though, so if you walk in off the street in your jeans you may feel a bit out of place.
  7. Refinery Rooftop for the view: One of my favorite things about New York is rising above it. You’d be amazed the difference you’ll feel after a 10 second elevator ride brings you from concrete jungle to awe-inspiring vistas. The Refinery Rooftop is a new find for us (friends just recently brought us there earlier in the spring), but it’s bound to be a go-to place over the summer, especially when we have visitors.
  8. The Guthrie Inn for Manhattan lovers: This suggestion comes to you from the hubs, who prides himself on trying out Manhattans at every single bar we go to. He’s had ’em at every single bar on this list, as well as countless others, and he swears, my friends, that in his expert opinion, The Guthrie Inn is the place to go for a slammin’ Manhattan in its namesake city. To be honest, this bar is a bit of a hole in the wall, and at Park and 97th St., it’s pretty out of the way of anything touristy — but the drinks make it worth it!
  9. Dying to try: The Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar at the Met: The rooftop at the Met can get pretty insanely crowded, as I’m sure you’ll imagine, so we have yet to brave the visit. Still, I’m hoping to hit up this hot spot during the early evening in the near future when I have a friend in town … I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Bis bald, friends! Next up on our tour around NYC — DO in NYC!

Back in the Borough

Happy Friday friends!

I wanted to quickly share a short round-up with you of some places I’ve been to in good ole’ NYC in the past few weeks. As Chris and I move towards this potentially big goal of ours for next year (I still haven’t gone into detail on that yet, I know … don’t worry, it’s coming!), we’re trying to make the most of our time here in the city.

[So yes, the big goal may involve a big move next year … I’ll get to that later.]

Anyway, I’ve had a list of places I want to visit in this fabulous city for quite a while now, and we’re slowly but surely putting a small dent in them. So without further adieu, here’s a bit of what’s been happening Back in the Borough lately:

1. Antique Garage

^^How homey! Photo courtesy of Antique Garage Website
^^How homey! Photo courtesy of Antique Garage Website

Located on 41 Mercer St. in Soho, this cute little restaurant is everything I wanted it to be, and more. The restaurant itself was converted from an old mechanic shop, and it’s unlike any other restaurant you’ll find in the city. They’ve got live music most nights (although sadly not on the night we went when Chris’s sister and her boyfriend were in town from Australia), and their dinner menu is chock full of delicious Mediterranean and Turkish foods like Grilled Halloumi Cheese Salad, Turkish Hamburger Deluxe and Aegean Sarma (which is Halloumi cheese slices and tomatoes seasoned with fresh thyme wrapped in grape leaves and grilled).

Yum! Prices are pretty moderate-to-high, depending on what you consider high 😉 (Generally ranging from $24 – $35 for an entree)

2. The Raines Law Room

^^You have to ring this bell to be let in. And even then it's not a sure thing...
^^You have to ring this bell to be let in. And even then it’s not a sure thing…

If you want to feel like the most special person in the world (or like you’re part of a secret cult/club), you should head to The Raines Law Room at 48 W. 17th St. You’ll head down a short staircase from the sidewalk to a black door with a doorbell on the left. (See photo, totally stolen from my friend who visited this place with me.) Inside (if you’re lucky enough to make it in) you’ll find a dark and mysterious room filled with comfy couches and tasty cocktails, champagnes, wines and liqueurs. Don’t expect to be able to taste something more than once, though, because the menu changes frequently. There’s an outdoor area as well, where it would be super fun to sit on a nice day. As one of the reviews from their site states: “I thought that I was over the whole neo-speakeasy mixologist trend but I guess not. You walk down the steps of a unmarked building, ring the doorbell, and are transported back into a scene from the prohibition era. There are plenty of private tables and velvet couches all equipped with wall buzzers that will summon your waitress.” And while the cocktails are quite pricey (mine were $17 a piece) … sometimes it’s just worth it.

3. The Marrow


Full disclosure: One of Chris’s good friends works at The Marrow so yes, we are a bit biased. But still–it was delicious. And I’m pretty sure you’d say that even if you didn’t know the head chef. Cocktails here are fantastic (I went for the namesake Marrow 75, made of bitter truth pink gin, lemon, sage and blanc de blancs, pictured above), and the food is even better. I had the Crispy Kale & Bale Scallops appetizer and the pasta special, which was a squid ink linguini with some other deliciousness. This is an adorable little restaurant located in the heart of the West Village at 99 Bank St, but if you’re going here remember to make a reservation. Even if the place looks empty, you’re not likely to get a walk-in seat.

Squid Ink Pasta
Squid Ink Pasta
Kale appetizer
Kale appetizer


4. The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel

^^Photo courtesy of
^^Photo courtesy of

Although our visits here haven’t necessarily been recent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel in this list. This comfy spot has slowly become one of our favorites, as we’ve visited a handful of times now. With nothing even remotely resembling a normal, typical hotel lobby, The Lobby Bar is as eclectic a place as you’ll find. It’s dark, noisy and most of the time crowded … but none of that matters. The music is fabulous. The people are interesting. The drinks are tasty. And if you’re lucky enough to snatch a seat on a comfy couch or chair, I defy you to try spending less than an hour there just people watching.