You’ve been wandering in and out of splashy art galleries and designer stores all day, and even trekked the entire strip of the High Line, haven’t you? Now you’re in dire need of a drink. Luckily, the neighborhood is rife with all kinds of bars, from hidden speakeasies to wine bars galore. These are the best bars in Chelsea, New York to recuperate with a glass (or three) of wine, some shareable snacks and larger plates to line your rumbling stomach, and cozy chairs you’ll never want to leave.
Bar, Charcuterie, Wine Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Named after the eponymous world traveler, Pierre Loti offers wines as exotic as the far-flung places the Frenchman visited and wrote about. The extensive wine list flaunts labels from the Finger Lakes to South Africa and Chile, plus a host of beers, cocktails, cognac and spirits from the US, Ireland and Scotland. The bar also serves Mediterranean dishes to offset the drinking, such as plump Turkish dumplings dolloped with yogurt and crispy risotto balls teeming with goat cheese and spinach. Stop by for the daily 4pm-7pm happy hour for a $6 glass of wine and a $10 cheese plate.
Tucked underneath Chelsea Market, The Tippler is seemingly hidden away from those padding down the street, but it does get packed on weeknights after work. The large space is strewn with big, shareable tables, teeming with coworkers sipping cheekily named cocktails like Call an Uber (brown-butter-washed bourbon, honey, cinnamon and absinthe) and My Girlfriend Lives in Queens (tequila, cucumber, ginger, honey, toasted sesame and chili). Even the food options are funky, like crack mix – an elevated take on bar nuts, replete with rye bagel chips, sesame and cajun sticks, and peanut butter-covered pretzels – and a grilled peanut butter & jelly sandwich.
You’ll have to walk through Stone Street Coffee to find Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy focused on gin. And yes, as the name would also suggest, there is a copper bathtub ceremoniously displayed in the center of the bar. Stick with any of the many gin-based cocktails, from tableside martini service to punch bowls and elevated gin and tonics, or simply drink it neat, with gin labels from around the world. There’s also beer and wine, plus shareable small plates for when you get hungry, including crispy calamari, steak tartare and fresh burrata drizzled with aged balsamic.
Ring the doorbell outside The Raines Law Room, and you’ll be escorted into this speakeasy-style bar, home to plush leather couches and Prohibition-era cocktails. All drinks are crafted in a semi-hidden back room, where bartenders swirl together classics like an old fashioned and manhattan, but you can also try the house cocktails, like the American Trilogy: Laird’s 7.5-year-old apple brandy, rye whiskey, a sugar cube and orange bitters.
Recuperate and hydrate after wandering around Chelsea Market at Corkbuzz, a wine bar tucked in the middle of the bustling market. There’s a thick list of wines by the glass and bottles to choose from – including those from New Zealand, Germany and Austria – plus beer, cocktails and spirits. The Monday-Friday happy hour is between 5pm and 6pm, flush with $8 wines and $5 beers. Round it all out with a couple of small plates: cheese and charcuterie platters, roasted beet salad with goat cheese morsels, and seared tuna flanked by paprika aioli.
Danny Meyer’s far-flung empire has reached the westernmost edge of Chelsea with Porchlight, a buzzy, Southern-inspired bar replete with a back game room and stiff cocktails. Play Jenga and Yahtzee as you sip an on-tap long island iced tea or the How Now (chocolate milk-washed Old Duff Genever, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, vermouth and Angostura bitters), and then snack on warm smoked-cheddar biscuits, hush puppies doused with hot honey, and a Texas bowl of red chili.
During the day, The Park operates as a restaurant, but once the sun sets, its five rooms (the atrium, main room, red room, garden room and penthouse) turn into bona fide drinking spots. Belly up to one of the many bars strung throughout the cavernous space for a specialty cocktail, wine or beer, and then station yourself on the first floor’s restaurant/lounge where the kitchen stays open until 1am on weekends. If you do venture to the penthouse, you’ll join the masses dancing to music roaring out of the speakers.
Housed above Sleep No More, the interactive production of Macbeth at the McKittrick Hotel, Gallow Green is just as mysterious and exotic as its neighbor. The rooftop bar is ever-changing. During the warmer months, it flaunts a verdant secret garden, home to a nursery of wild plants and live music, but once the temperature plunges, it morphs into an intimate lodge rife with blanket-wrapped bunk beds and sputtering firepits. The drink selection changes as well – mulled wine to warm you up, frosé to cool you down – and there’s a hefty food menu with things like baked Camembert and lobster rolls.
Sometimes you simply need uncomplicated, unfussy and straightforward. That’s Bar Veloce. The wine bar has several locations across the city (and even one in JFK) to suit all your wine-bar needs. Let the knowledgeable bartenders direct you to a glass of red or white or rosé, and then settle down at one of the many bar stools with a panini in hand (try the truffled cheese melt, a blend of five cheeses and white truffle oil).
From the same team behind Bathtub Gin, The 18th Room is another speakeasy housed behind a fake coffee shop. Named after the 18th Amendment that started Prohibition, the dark Art Deco-inspired speakeasy is outfitted with green leather banquettes and bartenders prone to craft bespoke cocktails based on your preferred liquors and flavors. Although the off-the-cuff cocktails are perpetually exciting and fun, narrow down the infinite choices by ordering a drink off the set menu.
This moored former Coast Guard lightship on the Hudson River only operates seasonally – from May through October – shuttling out pitchers of beer and burgers to crowds watching the sun set. There are also seafood bites to snack on – you are on a boat after all – like steamed clams and fish and chips.
It’s all about American spirits at Rye House – from bourbons and ryes to vodkas, gins and rums, all distilled in the United States. Have them neat or on the rocks, or opt for a cocktail like Her Red Lipstick (Brooklyn vodka, lime, ginger, hibiscus, housemade habanero and mint). The tavern-style spot is flanked by a bar with stools on one side and small tables on the other, where you can sit, sip on a flight of spirits, and line your stomach with deep-fried Wisconsin cheddar curds and duck quesadillas.