American Restaurant in New York, NY, United States
With his former watering hole Bruckner Bar & Grill destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Alex Abeles embarks on a new project with the owners of Cask Bar & Kitchen. Bearing a name that references Ulysses, the lit-themed bar will display bookstore antiques.
This cavernous, bi-level venue may not fit the textbook definition of intimate, but the flickering stone fireplace is damn cozy. Commandeer the plush couch or one of the chairs near the hearth and settle in for the night with a hot Irish Nut (Bailey’s, amaretto coffee; $10).
This East Village bar owes its atmosphere to co-owner and Tony–award-winning set designer William Ivey Long, who filled the cozy pub with stained-glass flourishes, an abundance of orchids, cherrywood-paneled walls and Louise Bourgeois lithographs.
You’ll have to battle the hotel’s out-of-town guests to score a seat in the Art Deco–inspired environs, but it’s well worth it if you can secure one of the overstuffed couches or chairs by the gas furnace. Arrive early, pretend like you own the place and enjoy a stiff Negroni ($14), crafted with Bulldog gin, Antica Formula and Campari.
LIC’s owners inherited the previous bar’s brick, wood and tin-ceiling fixtures, then brought in a laid-back attitude all their own—and a much more extensive drink selection. They also added an outdoor patio where you can smoke, tie up the dog and even order delivery from nearby restaurants. LIC is a convenient keep-the-party-going pit stop for music fans who migrate down the block after P.S. 1’s Warm Up evenings.
As pleasant as it is to dine in the front room of this bistro and nosh on coq au vin, the best seats in the house are hidden in the cozy back room, where you’ll find lounge furniture and a vintage cast-iron stove. Warm up by the wood-burning device and mull the affordable, all-French wine list; nine selections are offered by the glass, 60 by the bottle. We’re partial to the Cahors malbec (glass $11, carafe $32, bottle $44), a spicy, medium-bodied red with hints of cranberry.
Ease into a seat near the gas-powered, black-laquered hearth and scan the list of tipples, including the frothy New York Harvest (bourbon, applejack, lemon, egg white, red wine; $15). The bar often has limited hours and can be rented out for private parties; be sure to call ahead and make a reservation so you’re not left out in the tourist-ridden streets of Midtown.
More than 400 varities of whiskey line the shelves at this bar from nightlife maven Tommy Tardie and cocktail ace Miguel Aranda (Bar Masa, Apotheke). Check out the ancient flooring (the planks are 100-year-old reclaimed wood) while nibbling cured meats, cheeses, oysters and ceviches and enjoying nightly jazz performances.
A fortune teller greets patrons at this comfortably-worn reproduction of a prohibition speakeasy. There’s a rousing scene in front, a mix of diehard regulars and industry types who jockey for the attentions of the chef-coat–clad barkeeps. Of all of the city’s craft cocktail joints Employees Only is among the most populist, with enough nerd-baiting tipples on the menu to please aficionados without alienating everyone else.
This standard-bearing cocktail parlor from mixology matriarch Julie Reiner (Lani Kai) expresses its Victorian bent in intricate tile work, curved leather booths, marble tables, vintage sofas and a functioning fireplace. The centerpiece is the 19th-century mahogany bar, where vest-clad barkeeps stir and shake throwback potions, handily defined in the novel-like menu.
On weekends when escaping the city isn’t a viable option, head to this cabinlike space for a rustic retreat. Your objective: Snag a seat around the wood-burning brick hearth. Though the wine list offers a wide variety of options, sip the mulled vino ($8) to eradicate any chill left in your bones.
The white-brick mantel gives the gas-fueled fireplace at this two-story beer bar a homey feel, even when the place is packed. Brewhounds can hunker down with one of the 100-plus international beers by the bottle or one of 28 on tap, but we recommend going with one of the hot punches (often mulled wine or spiked cider), served in a teakettle and ideal for sharing with a friend or romantic flame.