City Guides: The best bars in New York

The Dead Rabbit, 30 Water Street, New York

Dead Rabbit

One year in and The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, a mid-19th century-style drinking saloon in a landmarked building downtown, has won just about every award in the biz. 

It’s been so successful because it’s telling a New York story – how the Irish integrated into New York society – and has created a bar that is very New York in its ethos, welcoming people from all walks of life with warm staff, tasty snacks and a lengthy list of hit cocktails.

Its new Parlor menu celebrates two things: Irish whiskey (more than half of the 72 drinks feature it) and John Morrissey, who was the leader of The Dead Rabbit gang. It gives an accurate portrayal of his life summarised under eight sections: Fresh, Fiery, Sharp, Strong, Low-Spirited, Bitter, Ambitious and Cultivated. 

No matter what you order, you’ll be mesmerised by the military speed and precision with which drinks are whipped up and the encyclopedic knowledge of the bartenders should you fancy something off-menu, such as the Devil’s Share I enjoyed on a recent visit. 

But Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry are not ones to rest on their laurels. “Consumers in New York are discerning and get bored very quickly, so it’s important to keep them and our staff captivated and keep the bar as current as possible. Once you let up in New York you are as good as done.”

PDT, 113 St Mark’s Place, New York


PDT is a perfect example of a bar that has managed to remain relevant (and busy) and is a shining beacon of a well-done speakeasy-style bar. As people in the business know and head bartender Jeff Bell affirms, a lot of that success is owed to general manager and master mixologist Jim Meehan and the hard-working staff. “It is crucial to have a hard-working, loyal staff and we have just that. Because we have great staff who work hard we are able to consistently serve our seasonal cocktails that evolve as the years move on. Also, the phone booth doesn’t hurt.”

The 18-deep seasonal menu means whiskey, Cognac, aged rum and genever cocktails are more prevalent in the colder months and lighter spirits such as vodka, tequila, gin, light rum and aquavit fall into focus during spring and summer.