The phrase "let's get drinks" serves as a beacon of light at the end of an otherwise dark workday. But for many of us, the suggestion of after-work drinks can be trying since most of New York’s offices sit in less-than-fun neighborhoods. It’s easy to end up schlepping to another area or settling for watered-down libations at a nearby chain restaurant, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As more and more buzzy spots open in business-dominated hoods, from midtown to FiDi, working New Yorkers have more options than ever.
Below are some of our favorite boozy destinations that help take the work out of after-work drinks.
Garden Bar, Financial District
It doesn’t really get any more dire than FiDi; after all, the neighborhood is literally named for the many banks and financial institutions that call the downtown streets home. But thanks to a massive revitalization of the area’s South Street Seaport District, FiDi is no longer just a place to spend your 9-to-5 (or really, more like 5-to-9). Garden Bar, one of the newest additions, sits on the storied cobblestones of Fulton Street and has become the perfect spot for downtown workers to unwind and enjoy the summer sun. The outdoor bar is draped in greenery and offers patrons a curated list of seasonal cocktails like the Seaport Sipper, a blend of whiskey, pineapple and passionfruit, as well as beer and wine and Italian bites from neighboring 10 Corso Como.
19 Fulton St., Manhattan
Bar Fiori at The Langham, Midtown
There’s not a whole lot in the east 30s beyond the Empire State Building and the masses of camera-toting tourists it attracts. But, despite what the movies may have you believe, the New York landmark actually houses more than 1,000 businesses in its 2.8 million-square feet of space. For these and other workers in the area, though, there are few places in the neighborhood that are actually worthy of a post-work drink, which is why the Langham hotel’s Bar Fiori is such a gem.>
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Located on Fifth Avenue and 36th Street, the expansive bar sits just outside the Michelin-starred Ai Fiori on the hotel’s second floor and is constantly abuzz with customers. Head bartender Pete Stanton and sommelier Mariarosa Tartaglione have put their respective passions together to curate a wide-ranging list of cocktails and wine, featuring something for everyone whilst serving only the best of the best. Bar Fiori also recently launched its Apertivo Hour, an Italian-inspired offering that happens every day between 2:30 and 5 p.m. — perfect for those early summer Fridays. The Apertivi include warm-weather options like the Mela Negroni and the ever-trendy Aperol Spritz, and every Friday this summer, sommeliers will be opening their favorite bottles of wine from the restaurant’s Grand Award-winning wine list to pour by the glass at special prices.
400 Fifth Ave., Manhattan
Lobby Bar at the Times Square EDITION, Times Square
Ah, Times Square, every New Yorker’s greatest fear. Sure, the busy and bright stretch of Midtown just might be corporate America at its finest, filled with chain restaurants and stores, discount Disney characters, and enough slow-moving tourists to fill a stadium, but the neighborhood is also home to thousands of businesses and their employees. Of course, no self-respecting New Yorker would ever be caught dead getting after-work cocktails at Bubba Gump or the Hard Rock Café, so Ian Schrager came to the rescue by opening the Times Square EDITION earlier this year.
The hotel boasts several incredible dining and drinking venues, but Lobby Bar, a black-and-white minimalist space that offers respite from the hustle-and-bustle outside, is the ideal venue for casual after-work drinks in a refined and elegant spot. The menu features a number of Spritz selections, cocktails like the Big Apple Cooler and the Japanese whiskey-based Arigato Sour, as well as several beers and wines by the glass. And for those feeling a bit peckish, the bar also offers a long list of all-day and late-night foods like baked rigatoni and the famous Cheeseburger + Chocolate Shake.
701 Seventh Ave., Manhattan
Tribeca may be a significant step up from the business-heavy hoods of Times Square and FiDi, but it’s increasingly difficult in this area to find a local spot that’s both fun and won’t require waiting hours and hours for a seat.
Ward III, which opened its doors to Reade Street a decade ago and underwent a renovation in 2017, is one of those places. Cozy and cool, the bar is adorned with brick walls and velvet curtains and offers a happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. during the week and all day on Sundays. The cocktails are inventive and fresh and change seasonally. Right now, guests can enjoy the Pretty in (Millennial) Pink, an unexpected blend of bourbon, Aperol, lemon, grapefruit, agave and kombucha, or the fruity and rum-heavy Hot In the City. Ward III also serves Mediterranean-influenced bites like beet hummus with za’atar pita chips alongside American classics like grilled cheese and fried buttermilk chicken tenders.
111 Reade St., Manhattan
Valerie, Times Square
For those looking to relive New York’s golden era, when Broadway was still the only street in America to be fully lit by electric light, look no further than Valerie.
The Art Deco-inspired bar, which opened on 45th Street in January, is spread across two levels and is full of retro flourishes like barrel-vaulted ceilings with tufted cushions, smoked mirrors and vintage tiling. The old-school feel even extends to the drink list and bistro menu. There are timeless classics like the El Capitan and the Daiquiri and nostalgic Valerie blends like the mezcal and apple brandy-based Kerouac’s Tales, as well as a menu entirely devoted to letting patrons create their own gin and tonics. The bar also offers nonalcoholic options made with Seedlip, a number of beers, and wines by the glass.
Valerie not only has light bites for the after-work crowds but has entire brunch, lunch, and dinner menus that make the bar well worth a visit.
45 W. 45th St., Manhattan
Peppi’s Cellar, SoHo
SoHo may have no shortage of great after-work spots, but Peppi’s Cellar, located below Italian restaurant Gran Tivoli, is quite literally a hidden gem.
The huge, subterranean bar is dark and seductive, with a brick-lined bar, candlelit booths, and a stunning wine cellar that guests can actually sit in. Peppi’s is accessed via a winding staircase descending from Gran Tivoli, and the underground bar is fittingly run by two restaurateurs from down under. Cocktails include the Southern Royale, a combination of Calvados, mint, peach, lemon and champagne, and the Amaro-Palooza, which blends Peppi’s homemade amaro with lemon, egg white and orange. The bar also boasts more than 700 bottles of wine, 350 whiskeys and 40 brandies for guests to choose from, alongside coastal Italian bar fare.
406 Broome St., Manhattan
Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO
For those working on the other side of the river in increasingly business-heavy DUMBO, it can be challenging to find a nice place near the water that’s not dominated by tourists and wedding photoshoots.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has long been a go-to destination for just that, but its newly renovated rooftop lounge, Harriet’s, makes it even more worthwhile. The roof offers unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline and has been decorated with reclaimed and sustainable materials throughout. The rustic aesthetic extends to banquettes and furniture made out of 100-year old barn wood, providing a beautiful and earth-friendly spot for guests to enjoy refreshing cocktails. The nature-conscious attitude carries over to the drinks menu with options like Solar Energy, a blend of pineapple, coconut water, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, lime juice, and your choice of spirit. Harriet’s also has a selection of frozen drinks that are perfect for summer, including Froze-Aye and Pina Colada, and boozy and virgin frozen paletas for anyone wanting something sweet.
60 Furman St., Brooklyn