When it comes to watering holes, like other sybaritic pursuits, the bar is set higher in New York. Whether you're looking for a shady speakeasy, a new wave gin joint or a glamour den packed with models, this city has your number.
For a taste of the bar scene that spans the boroughs, start your boozy odyssey in Green Point. This is one of the grandest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, its wide streets lined with Dutch Colonial and Greek Revival townhouses. Relive the Jazz Age at the Manhattan Inn (632 Manhattan Ave., at Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint) where the centrepiece is a baby grand piano attracting tipsy hipsters and professionals alike, who love the braised pork belly & kimchi pressed sandwich. (Famous local and regular Joe McGinty from the Psychedelic Furs can often be found heading raucous singalongs.)
Next, catch the G train and transfer to the F at Bergen Street station to cross the East River into Manhattan. At Lower East Side/Second Avenue station get off and proceed west on foot through hipster central: 1980s nerd glasses and skinny jeans are the uniform of choice on these not-so-mean streets.
Opposite the arresting stacked white cubes of the New Museum is Double Crown, a beautiful people magnet that serves elegant Pan-Asian food in an industrial-chic space. Skip the sometimes hectic scene here and head out the back to Madam Geneva, a louche, low-lit joint featuring deep leather banquettes, quirky antique pieces and a spirited drinks list (if gin happens to be your poison, that is). Try one of the bar's signature creations, Beefeater Gin sweetened with homemade jam or fresh-mixed lime cordial.
While in the East Village, make like Superman and head to a phone booth at Crif Dogs – a nouveau dog and burger joint in the heart of hipsterville. This is no ordinary phone booth: it's the entrance to Please Don't Tell, a back room cocktail lounge with all the exclusivity of secret bars like Milk and Honey and La Esquina but none of the attitude. Order a few upscale comfort food dishes and settle in at the bar to sample a few of the exotic cocktails for which PDT has become famous. Bacon infused bourbon, anyone?
Now it's time to make a choice: you could go south to TriBeCa and finish the night in a grown-up fashion or continue west in search of your second wind. In TriBeCa, Terroir is the sister of a much-loved hole-in-wall wine bar of the same name in the East Village. The madcap bound drinks menu is a freewheeling compendium of everything owners Paul Grieco and Marco Canora love and hate. Reisling, they love – so much so they dedicated an entire season to it at the exclusion of all other whites. Crappy street fairs and Village Voice wine critics they hate (you can read their screeds on those subjects as you search through the bewildering array of wines.). The bar snacks err on the hearty side: oxtail meatballs, bone marrow bruschetta. Terroir's gleeful myopia is sure to spark debate into the wee hours.
For a less sedate end to the evening, head back uptown to Cabrito in the West Village. Just look for the hot-pink plastic goat motif hanging over the sidewalk. The fish tacos are exemplary, but they're not the only thing punters pack the place out for: the range of Mexican spirits is the best this side of Tijuana. Slam down a shot of mescal or sample one of the 70 tequilas from crystal clear blancos to earthy añejos. The scene is young, loud and bound to engender at least a mild hangover.
Emboldened by habaneros and firewater, head to The Standard Hotel's late night club of the moment, Top of the Standard aka The Boom Boom Room: that's the official name, although everyone still calls it the Boom Boom Room. The scene of many a fashion soiree and celeb-filled party, don't be surprised to find yourself watching the sun rise over the Hudson River. Now, where to go for breakfast…
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