Bushwick Country Club
Contrary to its name, the Bushwick Country Club isn’t located in Bushwick nor is it a country club. It does happen to be the birthplace of the Pickleback shot, and once you taste the original, you’ll forgive any confusion. One of New York’s last true dive bars, BCC offers graffitied walls, inexpensive drinks, and a taste of local history. Whether you keep things classic with the standard Pickleback or take on the bar’s “supersize Pickleback,” which comes with an additional PBR tallboy, you’re sure to savor this establishment’s mouth-puckering legacy.
A must-visit for sour seekers, The Belfry’s pickle-centric menu goes far beyond sour shots. The “Pickles To Drink” menu features a classic Irish whiskey and local brine pickleback, a Jameson black barrel and sour or spicy brine combo, and a smokey mezcal shot with a chipotle-infused sour brine chaser. Tip: For an even more mouth-puckering experience, pair your drink with an item from The Belfry’s “Pickles To Eat” menu.
The Belfry, 222 E 14th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 473 6590
A self-described “true New York City tavern,” Whiskey Tavern takes its drinks seriously, so you can feel confident taking yours on the rocks. The Chinatown bar pours its Picklebacks with upscale twists, such as using cinnamon whiskey and spicy pepper-infused pickle juice.
Whiskey Tavern, 79 Baxter St A, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 374 9119
Boulton & Watt
The Industrial Revolution-inspired Boulton & Watt is itself a pioneer of New York City’s penchant for pickling. Settle in under the bar’s raw wooden accents and towering windows with a Pickleback shot featuring pineapple, mint, and habanero; pickled beet; or traditional pickle juice. Like what you taste? Enjoy more of the spot’s boundary-busting offerings when you sample jalapeños in bourbon brine, watermelon with ginger and rosemary, and other out-there pickles.
Boulton & Watt, 5 Avenue A, New York, NY, USA, +1 646 490 6004
Since 1916, 169 Bar has been the local’s pick for old-school offerings, such as botanical juleps and classic ciders. In the 101-year-old establishment’s recent history, the addition of Pickleback shots to the menu has helped ensure that “one of the last original bars” in Manhattan continues to be one of its best.
Anyone guilty of proudly announcing they “never go to Queens” must have not yet experienced Sweet Afton. The Irish-owned Astoria establishment attracts die-hard drinks fans from across the city with its top-shelf liquors and playful cocktail ingredients. Here, Pickleback buffs are treated to a generous pour of Four Roses bourbon and a McClure’s pickle juice chaser.
Serving everyday brunch and menu items such as New Mexican Frito pie and French onion soup-grilled cheese sandwiches, Mother’s Ruin specializes in nontraditional offerings. Naturally, the Soho hot spot’s Pickleback shot pairs perfectly with pimento cheese dip, black peppercorn duck wings, and other curious cocktails.
From brunch to dinner to after-work drinks (here, every hour is happy), The Penrose is always a worthy destination. For those who prefer their drinks on the sour side, the Upper East Side gastropub offers an array of pickle-heavy pours, including a spicy pickle juice back following a Tullamore Dew whiskey shot. Also sure to satisfy (and perhaps shock) your taste buds are The Penrose’s dirty pickle martini and pickle-accented bloody mary.