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The Ultimate Guide to the Chinatown Bar Scene

My favorite places in the area to grab a drink.

Chinatown is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan. The community has a rich history dating back to the 1850s when Chinese immigrants moved to the city and sold cigars. Indeed, a smoke shop on Park Row was the initial storefront wherein which Chinatown grew around. Approximately 48,000 people live in the neighborhood, and thousands of visitors pass through every day.

friends out drinking at a bar in Chinatown

This diverse and unique New York neighborhood offers something for everyone, from shops to Chinese theatres to bars! If you are searching for where to get a drink in Chinatown, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the eleven best bars the neighborhood offers.

Best Bars in Chinatown

  1. Apotheke
  2. Whiskey Tavern
  3. 169 Bar
  4. Clandestino
  5. The Crown
  6. Asia Roma
  7. Bar Belly
  8. Up Stairs
  9. Mr. Fong’s
  10. Pulqueria
  11. R & D

Apotheke

9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-406-0400
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Apotheke specializes in creating cocktails in a hole-in-the-wall building. The restaurant is open between Tuesday and Saturday from 4:30 pm to 2:00 am. You can make reservations online, and the events coordinator can help you plan any special occasion or party you desire. Apotheke uses organic produce, herbs, and other botanicals in their craft cocktails.

I enjoyed the “Tainted Love” with gin, beets, ruby port, and Peychaud’s Bitters when I visited the bar. Other popular cocktails include the “Deal Closer,” with Quinoa vodka and horny goat weed tea, and the “Pink Panther,” with rum, blood orange, pink guava, coconut milk, and lime.


Whiskey Tavern

79 Baxter St A, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-374-9119
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Whiskey Tavern is a community saloon-style bar. The bar offers a laid-back vibe and serves various whiskies. The bar is open until 2:00 am daily and offers happy hour specials between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The exterior is a painted black and gold front, nearly impossible to miss as you walk down Baxter Street.

For a warm drink, try the Hot Toddy or an Irish Coffee. I also enjoyed “Grandpa Tom’s Lemonade” with whiskey and lemon. The menu offers various classic cocktails like a Paloma, Aperol Spritz, and a Dark & Stormy. Try the Mushroom Cheddar Burger or the Grilled Cheese on rye with an added tomato and bacon.


169 Bar

169 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-641-0357
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169 Bar offers a bit of island paradise in the middle of Chinatown with palm trees and a leopard-print pool table. The bar is open daily from 11:30 am to 4:00 am. In warmer weather, enjoy a frozen margarita or pina colada. The bar is perfect for private events, and the staff can help you plan the perfect event for any group size.

The menu changes seasonally. When I visited, I enjoyed the Hot Toddy and the Hot Chocolate with Baily’s Irish Cream. The bar’s signature drink is the 169 Gin Fizz Mimosa. Try the veggie dumplings or the cajun popcorn if you need a snack after a few cocktails.


Clandestino

35 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-475-5505
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Clandestino is a bar that serves cocktails, beer, and wine. The bar’s interior is trendy, with a unique pressed-tin ceiling and globe-style light fixtures over the bar. Clandestino is open until 4:00 pm daily and is located near the East Broadway metro stop.

I enjoyed the draft Guinness and Blue Point Toasted Lager. The bar serves one of the best Pimm’s Cups in the city with ginger ale, lemon juice, and Pimm’s No. 1. The New York Times even wrote that Clandestino was a cozy spot for cocktails and conversation.


The Crown

50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 646-630-8057
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The Crown is located on a boutique hotel’s rooftop. The location offers beautiful and sweeping views of the city. Bartenders craft delicious cocktails, and the kitchen produces creative small bites. The bar is open from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm and is situated in the heart of Chinatown.

I enjoyed the Chinatown Spritz with vodka, St. Germain, lime juice, and prosecco. Other popular drinks include the Espresso Martini and the Hibiscus Gin Mule. I would recommend the Mint Julep made with Woodinville bourbon. The bar has various beers and seltzers as well.


Asia Roma

40 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-385-1133
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Asia Roma is a multilevel bar that serves incredible drinks and creative Italian-Asian dishes. Asia Roma is directly adjacent to Columbus Park. During certain times, the bar hosts karaoke. The bar is open between Monday and Saturday. The bar offers private dining and group karaoke party options.

I would recommend some of the shots, like the Alabama Slammer, the Kamikaze, or the Jolly Rancher. The drink menu also offers red and white wine and domestic and imported beers. I enjoyed trying the Blue Point oysters, the steamed mussels, or the clams casino for a bite to eat.


Bar Belly

14 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 917-488-0943
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Bar Belly is a small bar that serves oysters and drinks–the daily happy hour includes one-dollar oysters! The bar’s interior is filled with vintage furnishings, and the vibe is exciting with live music. The bar is open daily until at least 1:00 am with extended hours on the weekend.

I most enjoyed the Old Fashioned with Wild Turkey bourbon. Other popular cocktails include Roxanne with vodka and grapefruit and the Paloma with cardamom. For beers, try the Lagunita IPA or the Peroni. I most enjoyed the deviled eggs, the shishito peppers, and the lamb sliders for a snack.


Up Stairs

59 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 646-559-0098

Near the East Broadway metro stop and Seward Park, Up Stairs is a bar in Chinatown. Up Stairs offers karaoke for one dollar per song. The bar has been recently renovated but still maintains a loveable divey vibe. The bar is open daily until 3:00 am or 4:00 am.

Up Stairs offers a unique cocktail with whiskey and green tea. I enjoyed the seasoned Cajun fries and the mozzarella sticks. For a crisp beer option, try the Yuengling. I would recommend ordering a classic like Jack and Coke or a Screwdriver then preparing to sing your heart out with the Karaoke tunes.


Mr. Fong’s

40 Market St, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 646-964-4540
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Fong’s serves Chinese-inspired cocktails and small plates. The bar has a jukebox where guests can play a wide variety of songs. The bar is open between Tuesday and Sunday. Fong’s accepts reservations online from their website. Fong’s is the perfect place for a date night or a dinner to catch up with friends.

The Gin + Lavender cocktail is my favorite signature cocktail on the menu. The Tequila Zombie is great and mixed with Szechuan Peppercorn tequila. The roast beef sliders and the pork bun are great bites to pair with the bar’s creative cocktails.


Pulqueria

11 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013
Phone: 917-261-4116
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Pulqueria is an off-the-grid Mexican restaurant that is open between Tuesday and Saturday. Visit the bar for Tequila Tuesday! You can book private events through the website; the bar would enhance any party or reception. Additionally, guests can make reservations online. It is a surprise and exciting spot in the middle of Chinatown.

I enjoyed the Mezcal Margarita and the Poloma. Other popular cocktails include the sangria, the michelada, and the pina bomb. For a light beer, enjoy a Pacifico or two. The food is equally delicious; try the tuna tostadas, the tacos fiesta, or the pollo al horno.


R & D

37 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-381-6164

A bright, airy space, R&D is a beautiful bar and restaurant in Chinatown. It is open from 6:00 pm to midnight daily—many locals book R&D for bridal showers, baby showers, or corporate receptions. Follow the bar on Instagram for the most up-to-date posts on special drinks and snacks.

R&D is primarily a test kitchen, so the drinks and foods shift regularly. I enjoyed the negroni on tap and the house martini. Other popular menu items include raw oysters, mushroom croquettes, and the fires with a tasty aioli. The best part is the willingness of the bartenders to create individualized cocktails.


Final Thoughts

Chinatown is a culturally relevant area of Manhattan and is growing in culinary diversity and recognition.

The bars in the area offer everything from a shot and beer combo to an expertly crafted personalized cocktail. Whether you are a New York resident planning a birthday party or a visitor seeking a hot spot for karaoke, one of the Chinatown bars on our list will lead you to the perfect place!

These eleven Chinatown bars are incredible options for grabbing a drink, but there’s plenty more to do in this part of NYC!

Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.