Sunday, December 13, 2009

New York Top 10 Bars of 2009

1.The Jane Ballroom
(212) 924-6700
113 Jane St (West Street and Washington Street)
New York, NY 10014
Sun-Mon 5pm-2am
Tue-Sat 5pm-4am
Parking: Street
Ah, 113 Jane Street, what a nice long ride it's been. We loved you as Salon, loathed you as Socialista and now, in your latest incarnation as the Jane Ballroom, we love you again. The uber-swanky hot spot at the Jane Hotel has been a godsend for the too-cool-for-school hipsters, scenesters and socialites for whom life all but ended with the closure of the Beatrice Inn. But when He closes one door, He opens another--or at least cracks it just enough to allow the VIPs to pass through. From the disco ball to the Persian rugs to the glam rock scene, we're on board with what's happening here.

2.The Summit Bar
133 Avenue C (East 8th Street and East 9th Street)
New York, NY 10009
Mon-Thu 5:30pm-2am
Fri-Sat 5:30pm-3am
Sun 5:30pm-1am
View the menu
Parking: Street
There's no shortage of bars in Alphabet City, but this sleek cocktail lounge offers more mature East Village locals a respite from the area's many dives and rowdy party bars with a more refined attitude--making it suitable for those of us who want to drink like 21-year-olds, not with them. Friendly bartenders are happy to concoct original drinks upon request, and may even let you sample something before you commit, provided it's not too crowded. The low-key door policy and smoker-friendly back patio will remind you that you're still on Avenue C, and all the better for it.

3.675 Bar
(646) 461-8318
675 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
Mon-Thu 6pm-2am Fri-Sat-6pm-4am
View the menu
A Lounge with 5 Personal rooms- Ms. Pac Man, Billiards & Foosball. Formerly Level V, this tastefully appointed bar and lounge is stylish enough to have a tough, bottle-focused door policy. Instead, 675 Bar is democratic, with occasional waits owing only to its popularity and the need for crowd control. The cavernous, subterranean space is warmly lit, with retro furniture scattered about; foosball and pool offer imbibers a way to unwind, cocktail in hand, and escape from the B&T scene that dominates the rest of the Meatpacking District.


(212) 555-1212
304 E 6th St (Between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10009
Mon-Sun, 6pm-midnight
Parking: Street
Named after the mythological Aztec goddess of agave, this bi-level East Village looker is one of several newbies devoted to cocktails made with tequila and its cousin mezcal. Church pew benches and a 20-foot-wide stained glass chandelier shaped like a tarantula give Mayahuel an unusual, romantic charm, and a menu of cocktails devised by Death & Co. alum Philip Ward holds its own next to the city's more prominent cocktail clubhouses. It's enough to make us change our rule about mixing tequila with date night.

5.Brooklyn Bowl

(718) 963-3369
61 Wythe Ave (N 11th Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Mon-Thu 6pm-2am
Fri 6pm-4am
Sat 12pm-4am
Sun 12pm-2am
View the menu
Parking: Street
This 16-lane, 23,000-square-foot behemoth of a bowling alley is Williamsburg's second in as many years, and apparently there is no shortage of fun-loving Brooklyn hipsters to support it. The sheer magnitude of the 600-person capacity space allows Brooklyn Bowl to double as a venue for live music and other special events, enlivened by a full bar and gourmet eats provided by the Blue Ribbon restaurant group.


(212) 982-8802
304 Park Ave S (Between 22nd Street and 23rd Street)
New York, NY 10010
Mon-Sun 11am-12am
Parking: Street
Gimmicky though it may be, this long-awaited Gramercy-area ping-pong club (backed by actress Susan Sarandon) ventured to do something different in a city overrun with lots of, well, the same. Part full-service bar, part table tennis playpen, SPiN is open to members and guests alike, with tables rentable by the half-hour at a relatively affordable rate. Delirium Tremens on tap and stiff martinis are an added draw, plus--let's not kid ourselves--ping-pong is super fun when you're wasted. So there's also that.

7.Sweet Afton

(718) 777-2570
3009 34th St (30th Ave)
Astoria, NY 11103
Mon-Fri 4pm-3:30am
Sat-Sun 1pm-3:30pm
Parking: Street
It may seem like an unlikely contender for "best of" status, but don't write off this Astoria charmer, which comes from the team behind Wilfie & Nell. Locally sourced brews and snacks (like a Pat LaFrieda burger and fried McClure's pickles) give the bar a decidedly Manhattan-esque feel, while the laid-back, weathered aesthetic and indie rock tunes remind that you're not in Soho--and in this case, that's a good thing.

8.The Ainsworth

(888) 513-7996
122 W 26th St (6th Avenue and 7th Avenue)
New York, NY 10001
Sun-Wed 11am-1am
Thu-Sat 11am-4am
View the menu
Parking: Street
A First Class bar & a visually stimulating decor culminating in the ultimate drinking & dining experience. Just as booze is recession-proof, so too is America's love of professional sports. This sprawling 6,000-square-foot space boasts a sea of flat-screen TVs in an upscale setting (think Gothic chandeliers and leather banquettes) that's well-suited to cheering on your favorite team or grabbing a pint and a bite. All the standard sports bar elements are also present--from frat boys to beer served in 100-ounce tubes--but specialty cocktails, wine and fancy snacks like lobster po' boy sliders mean even your girlfriend will feel comfortable on game day.

9.The Standard Biergarten

(212) 645-4100
848 Washington St (Little West 12th Street and West 13th Street)
New York, NY 10014
Mon-Thu 4pm-12am
Fri 4pm-1am
Sat 2pm-1am
Sun 2pm-12am
Parking: Valet
Just when you thought the Meatpacking District already had everything it needed (plus a bunch of things it didn't), Andre Balazs opened the Standard Hotel, along with its foodie-approved restaurant and celeb-approved rooftop lounge, the notorious Boom Boom Room. But luckily for the rest of us, he also brought the 'hood this more casual rustic German beer garden, complete with communal wooden picnic tables and ping-pong--speaking of which, do we smell a new trend on the horizon for 2010? We'll have to wait and see.


(212) 229-2670
150-152 W 10th St (Waverly Place)
New York, NY 10014
Sun-Thu 6pm-2am
Fri-Sat 5pm-2am
Parking: Street
In 2008, it was wine bars; in 2009, the gastropub trend took New York by storm, with everyone from Daniel Boulud to Michael Psilakis jumping on the bandwagon. Even the Martignetti brothers got in on the action. But this Scottish-themed West Village gastropub stole our hearts with its Scotch-based specialty cocktails and lodge-like design accents like pheasant wallpaper and a wall-mounted deer head. A working fireplace and tasty, authentic Scottish grub like beef cheek and ale pie also helped make this decision an easy one.

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