The Union Square neighborhood of New York City is known for the crowds of shopping tourists or busy farmers’ market regulars looking for the freshest groceries. But once the sun sets, a staggering number of bars pop up around this area. They range from trendy hotel lobby lounge settings to speakeasies so secret you must walk down an unmarked staircase and ring a doorbell. Here are the 10 best bars in the Union Square area.
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The Raines Law Room
Located just a couple of blocks west of Union Square is the Raines Law Room, a quintessential speakeasy-style underground bar. With the nondescript black awning and no sign, it is easy to walk right by the Raines Law Room without a clue as to what is going on below. A small gilded plaque announces that you have reached the Raines Law Room, with instructions saying to ring the doorbell. The interior of this hidden gem is a throwback to the bootlegging Gatsby days of underground speakeasies with the plush couches, thick curtains and vintage drinks. Coming to the Raines Law Room is a classic New York experience that should not be missed.
For those looking for a place to feel transported back in time, look no further than Dear Irving, located on 17th Street and Irving Place. The bar has an intimate, old school ambiance inside and exotic and sophisticated drinks. The theme of Dear Irving is time travel and has four different rooms: the Marie Antoinette room with ornate gilded detail, the Roaring 20s room with flashy details, an Abraham Lincoln-themed bar, and a 1960s JFK room. By moving between rooms you can be transported back and forth through different eras.
Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Restaurant
In keeping with the time traveling bar theme, Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Restaurant pays tribute to the classic Victorian age of England. Walking into this bar feels like walking into an elaborate Victorian parlor, with its stained glass windows, oil paintings, large fireplace, and gilded column capitals. This establishment honors British actress and socialite Lillie Langtry, who moved to New York in 1882 to pursue her acting dreams. Located just half a block east of Union Square, this vintage-style bar serves both delicious food and classic cocktails.
Also located just half a block off Union Square West is Park Bar, a cozy, intimate bar that that attracts young locals and the after work crowd. The music is loud and this bar is often packed, but drinks are reasonably priced and well made. The walls are outfitted in dark walnut, and an oak bar spreads across the room, giving Park Bar a classic New York ambiance. The numerous drink options scrawled on a large mirror behind the bar make up for the cramped space, making Park Bar an enjoyable experience if you’re up for braving the crowd.
Bar 13 is located just a block below Union Square and is spread out between three floors. The second and third floors have a traditional lounge bar scene, while the rooftop deck is slightly quieter. Unfortunately since this building is only four floors, the views from the rooftop deck are not amazing, but it does offer a refreshing breath of air. The vibe is slightly grungier than previous bars mentioned, but is still worth a trip if you are looking for a classic New York club/lounge experience.
Slightly farther up from Union Square towards the Flatiron district is a lounge that offers possibly the best rooftop views of any NYC bar. Guests enter on the Fifth Avenue entrance and then take an elevator up to the 20th floor penthouse. This indoor level has floor-to-ceiling windows that boast amazing views of the city, but just one flight of stairs up is the incredible rooftop deck. Spanning the entire roof of this building, the expansive lounge has multiple bars and plenty of tables and benches. Palm trees fill the planters, giving this lounge a more tropical vibe than most NYC counterparts. The view is the crowning jewel, however, as it looks straight up Fifth Avenue towards the famous Empire State Building; this is definitely a spot that cannot be missed.
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