By day, the Flatiron District is a hotspot of trendy cafes, contemporary restaurants, lavish hotels, and an eclectic mix of shops. By night, it’s an exciting destination in which to explore clubs, pubs, bars, and cocktail lounges. We profile ten must-try bars in this historic NYC neighborhood.
The Cellar is a 21-and-over bar and restaurant that doubles as a working cheese cellar attached to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese upstairs. The Cellar provides a large selection of foods such as embellished mac and cheese, roasted veggies, braised meats, soups, and charcuterie. To complement these delectable dishes, The Cellar offers a wide range of white and red wines, beers, and mixed cocktails. The drink menu pays homage to the interesting history that marks the 125-year-old building in which it’s located. Cocktails sport interesting names such as ‘The 1902,’ which is made of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica, Campari and lime, and ‘Industrial,’ made of Dorothy Parker gin, Fernet Branca, basil and Brut. Ultimately, the hidden, cozy ambiance of this underground bar is enhanced by a wonderful collection of strong drinks and comfort food.
Located within the luxurious, Parisian-inspired NoMad Hotel, The NoMad Bar offers incomparable beauty and a wide range of seating areas, including a balcony section that overlooks a 24-foot-long mahogany bar. A selection of classic and trademark cocktails are crafted by award-winning mixologist Leo Robitschek and other well-able bartenders. The ‘Needle and Thread,’ an attractive gin-based potion, is served straight up with sweet vermouth, a touch of absinthe and a drop of orange bitters. Although this gilded, two-story bar can be crowded on most nights, the classic decor, consisting of dimly lit lamps with lashings of leather and dark oak furnishings, allows a warm and inviting feeling to radiate throughout the venue.
The Raines Law Room is an opulent speakeasy named after an 1896 law that was designed to curb New Yorkers’ liquor consumption. Guests are encouraged to make a reservation before entering the bar, which is accessed by ringing a doorbell and meeting a discerning host who will escort you to a table. The windowless space emits a sumptuous 1920’s vibe. Plush, leather sofas and turn-of-the-century wall hangings are scattered about with a few bona fide antiques sprinkled in. Each private table is surrounded by black gauze curtains and comes equipped with a service bell so guests can catch the attention of their sharply dressed waitress. The cocktail list is filled with a variety of mixed numbers such as the citrusy ‘Regal Pompadour,’ the spicy ‘Lion’s Tail,’ and the stirred and potent ‘Chet Baker.’
Harding’s is rooted in traditional American patriotism. A 117-year-old American flag hangs on display against original brick work, and Civil War bullets remain embedded in the walls. Framed newspapers and an antique chandelier are additional touches of hometown pride that create an inviting aesthetic to the place. The bar offers a historically inspired menu featuring upscale American fare and classic cocktails. According to its website, the structural beauty of Harding’s bar is enhanced by a beverage program ‘comprised entirely of American sourced liquor, beer and wine brands all of which complement the fully domestically sourced menu.’ Original cocktails include ‘The Eisenhower’ (made up of New Amsterdam gin, Armadillo Cake vermouth and agave) and the ‘Continental,’ comprised of Rittenhouse Rye, Ransom Old Tom gin, grenadine, muddled rosemary and chocolate chili bitters. Unlike most other upscale bars that only offer finger foods or limited bites, Harding’s entrées make the most of the nation’s steak-and-potatoes culinary history. Entrées like the braised short ribs come with a creamy, pureed potato sauce.
This well-kept secret is hidden in the basement of Barn Joo restaurant. A 1920’s telephone serves as the means to inquire about seating in the underground lounge, and a secret door in the wall leads to the intimate speakeasy. Soft lighting and small tables make for an intimate setup, and the overall mood is much quieter and less hectic than the restaurant above. The Grain is notable for its impressive whiskey bar, which holds a wide range of American and Asian whiskies. Drinks are crafted with quality ingredients such as great spirits, freshly squeezed juices, natural produce, and house-made syrups and bitters. The cocktail list includes delectable mixes like the Manhattan, made with Iowa’s most notorious whiskey, Templeton Rye, as well as Carpano Antica Red Vermouth, aromatic bitters and brandied cherries. The bar also serves draft and bottled beer plus a comprehensive selection of red and white wine.
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Lillie Langtry was a successful British actress and an adored socialite of the late 19th century. She was envied but respected, and so the owners of Lillie’s Victorian Establishment deemed it appropriate to name this lush bar after her. The bar prides itself on its luxurious decor, which combines authenticity with a mellow ambiance to create a representation of ‘one of the last great Victorian ‘gin palaces.’ Inside, one will find ornate wooden carvings and antiques, a spectacular carved-wood bar procured from an old mansion in Belfast, Ireland, textured walls, and marble fireplaces. Lillie’s serves over 50 domestic and international beers, both on tap and bottled, as well as a great selection of whiskeys and scotches. Lillie’s also provides excellent wine from the Langtry estate in California where Lillie herself lived.
Located on the rooftop of Eataly, a bustling Italian marketplace, is La Birreria. This microbrewery offers the highest quality craft beer made from unfiltered, unpasteurized, and naturally carbonated cask ales. Each batch is made on the premises and served through traditional hand pumps at the perfect cellar temperature. It is simply beer heaven with a beautiful view of the Flatiron and Empire State Buildings. La Birreria is also prized for its eclectic menu that ‘conjures the family-style feasts of an Italy influenced by Austria and Germany.’ Customers can line their stomachs with rustic treats such as fat, beer hall-style sausages, delectable salami, and soft chunks of sticky pork shoulder. La Birreria is open year-round; its retractable roof and outdoor heaters keep it sheltered and comfortable for any weather condition.
Old Town Bar certainly lives up to its name as it was established in 1892. Today, it maintains a classic ‘Old New York’ look and feel thanks to its original furnishings, which include a magnificent tin ceiling, tall wooden booths and the city’s oldest operating dumbwaiter that carries food orders from the upstairs kitchen to the bar. Even the giant urinals are historic icons, for they were made by Hinsdale in 1910. The bar itself is 55 feet long and made of marble and mahogany. A friendly charm radiates throughout this old-fashioned and unpretentious saloon; it attracts an eclectic mix of New York’s natives and tourists, young and old, who enjoy a taste of history, a wide beer selection, and casual fare set at reasonable prices.
Roof at Park South is a walk-in rooftop cocktail bar at the Park South Hotel. It has a unique open-air design inspired by New York City’s High Line, with glass-front fireplaces and breathtaking views of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. The copper-sided lounge serves cocktails and Mediterranean fare like rocche’ di Napoli and roulades of salmon crudo. The cocktails are broken down into four categories, two of them being ‘Effervescent and Easy-Drinking’ and ‘Fancy.’ Under the former are the sparkling wine-finished ‘Airmail’ and a mellowing blend of Martinique rhum agricole. The latter consists of the ‘Count & Countess,’ ‘a white Negroni fortified with fruit-forward grappa and caramel-y oat whiskey.’ Ultimately, Roof at Park South offers impeccable drinks crafted by beverage director Ted Kilpatrick, delicious menus created by award-winning chef Tim Cushman, and an unobstructed view of the New York City skyline.
This trendy late-night bar offers an eclectic mix of craft cocktails, draft beers and casual fare in a rustic-chic setting. Drinks are fairly cheap by New York City standards, but are well crafted nevertheless. Some favorites off the menu include fresh chips served with delicious guacamole and zesty salsa, mouthwatering chicken wings, and burgers packed with flavor and served at just the right size. It’s unusual for Turnmill to be crowded, but it does remain lively and comfortable, making it a great spot to hunker down after an excruciating day at the office. Here you can catch your favorite sports game or dance the night away with a live disc jockey.