in ,

The Ultimate Guide to the East Village Bar Scene

My favorite places in the area to grab a drink.

New York City has a bar on every corner, or at least it feels that way! The East Village, in particular, has a vast selection of bars, pubs, and taverns to fit any particular mood. Read on for some tips on where to go out for a drink in the East Village neighborhood.

The East Village has a reputation for housing some of the best musicians, writers, artists, and poets that America’s ever seen, and that cool vibe flows through to many East Village bars. 

So whether you want something that feels arty and hip or a neighborhood pub that you can imagine hosting punk shows in the ‘70s, the East Village has you covered.

group of friends enjoying their time drinking beer at a bar in East Village

Here you’ll find bars where you can have a great meal and bars that specialize in just one thing. That’s the great thing about the East Village: Variety is everywhere, and new options are just minutes away. Check out my list of the best bars in the East Village below!

Best Bars in East Village

  1. Death & Co
  2. Holiday Cocktail Lounge
  3. Amor y Amargo
  4. Mace
  5. Sake Bar Decibel
  6. Mona’s
  7. Goodnight Sonny
  8. PDT NYC
  9. McSorley’s Old Ale House
  10. The Wayland
  11. Pouring Ribbons
  12. Burp Castle
  13. d.b.a.
  14. Lucy’s
  15. The Garret East
  16. Maiden Lane
  17. Royale
  18. Ace Bar
  19. Big Bar
  20. Bua
  21. Standings
  22. 11th St. Bar
  23. Jackdaw

Death & Co

433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-388-0882
Visit Website

We start our tour and Death & Co, a craft cocktail bar on East 6th Street near the Bowery. Death & Co has a few locations, but this one’s their flagship and the one that started it all. As you might expect, this place has a hip atmosphere, and they’re even a past winner of the Best American Cocktail Bar award.

Every cocktail at Death & Co is well-thought-out and fantastic, but I recommend the Ultraviolet. This boozy treat has port, brandy, single malt whiskey, lemon, and allspice. It’s very booze-forward but not aggressively so. The flavors are very complex!


Holiday Cocktail Lounge

75 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-777-9637
Visit Website

Situated in St. Marks Place, the Holiday Cocktail Lounge brings the best dive bar culture and craft cocktail elegance. Holiday is a New York institution, with regular guests such as The Ramones, Madonna, Keith Richards, and even Frank Sinatra!

Holiday’s menu rotates about once a year. The menu is heavily influenced by the artist, musician, and poet culture that the bar’s had for decades. No matter what drinks are on the menu, though, make sure you get some bar snacks as well. Holiday specializes in the nachos and wings you’d see at a dive but with way more flavor.


Amor y Amargo

445 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 833-328-4588
Visit Website

Another hot spot near the Bowery is Amor y Amargo. This place is unique because the menu focuses on bitters. Bitters are usually what you think of giving a little bite to a drink like an old-fashioned, but at Amor y Amargo, they’re the star of the show.

A house favorite that I really enjoy is the Di Pompelmo. It’s made up of tequila, Aperol, citron sauvage, and hopped grapefruit bitters. It’s a super bitter drink but also super refreshing. For something a little more traditional, try the negroni. Your spirit of choice is mixed with bitters, vermouth, and amaro.


Mace

35 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011
Phone: 347-866-7739
Visit Website

Moving over toward Greenwich Village, our next stop is Mace. Mace says they’re “unlike any cocktail bar you’ve ever seen,” and they back that up. With a menu focusing on global spices and transformative cocktails, Mace has been named on the World’s 50 Best Bars list three times.

With that in mind, you have to get a signature cocktail. I love the Mace at Mace. It’s Aperol, aquavit, beet juice, orange acid, young Thai coconut cordial, and mace mist. That sounds like an exciting combination of flavors, and it is. It’s complex and fantastic. Every sip is a new experience.


Sake Bar Decibel

240 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-979-2733
Visit Website

Sake Bar Decibel, on East 9th Street, is famous for focusing on Japanese drinks and flavors. This underground bar has a ton of, you guessed it, sake, but they also offer a large variety of Japanese whiskey and appetizers to give you a great overall experience.

If you know sake at all, Decibel offers a ton of bottles for you to enjoy. For the beginner, try out one of their cocktails. The Lychee Martini is the perfect combination of sake and lychee syrup. The lychee accentuates the sake flavor. Maybe the best news is that you can get it in a pitcher!


Mona’s

224 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

Just a couple blocks from the East River is Mona’s. This East Village Irish institution has tons of history that you can just feel when you enter. Mona’s offers regular live jazz and bluegrass music. If that’s not enough, they have skeeball. And who doesn’t love skeeball?

Mona’s is a great spot to grab a beer, glass of wine, or classic cocktail. Stick to that range, and you’ll be in excellent shape for a low-key night. Mona’s also offers a great food menu. For example, the House Made Sweet Sausage Sliders plate offers fresh sausage, basil pesto, caramelized onions, and cilantro creme.


Goodnight Sonny

134 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 646-692-3254
Visit Website

Goodnight Sonny almost feels more like a bistro than a bar with its tiled floor and polished wood bar. And, with their seafood options (including a raw bar) and craft cocktails, it really brings the best of both those worlds to the East Village.

Goodnight Sonny has a fantastic selection of cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else. For me, the clear winner is To Die Dreaming In Kentucky. This has bourbon mixed with house-made orange marmalade, vanilla, lemon, and bitters. It’s the things you love about a traditional old-fashioned but turned way up. It’s sweet, it’s boozy, and it’s fantastic.


PDT NYC

113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Visit Website

If you find yourself on St. Marks Place, go into Crif Dogs. They have amazing bacon-wrapped, deep-fried hot dogs, but that’s not why they’re there. Instead, go into the phone booth, and you’ll find a hidden door that takes you to PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a speakeasy hidden in the back. Don’t worry. They have hot dogs there too!

The atmosphere is the thing that makes PDT a ton of fun. Their menu consists of modern twists on speakeasy classics, so expect lots of whiskey, gin, and vermouth. PDT is reservation-only, though, so plan ahead for this super unique experience.


McSorley’s Old Ale House

15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Visit Website

If you want a saloon that’s as old school as it gets, McSorley’s Old Ale House on East 7th Street is for you. McSorley’s has been around since 1854 and is dripping history from the rafters to the sawdust-covered floors.

What’s even more notable is that this saloon offers up precisely one kind of drink, and that’s beer. McSorley’s house Cream Ale, along with their Lager, are both smooth and delicious. So belly up to the bar, grab a pint and some bar grub. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the past. Bring your wallet, though! McSorley’s is cash only.


The Wayland

700 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-777-7022
Visit Website

The Wayland, near Tompkins Square Park, serves handcrafted cocktails in a very no-frills atmosphere. That works out, though, because the cocktails here are fantastic. Grub Street has named The Wayland “The Absolute Best Bar in the East Village,” and their menu earns that accolade.

The Garden Variety Margarita is anything but garden variety. Blanco tequila comes together with fresh ginger and kale juices, lime, agave nectar, and smoked chili salt. It’s a tastier and more complex version of your standard margarita. Pair it with some fresh-made burrata (complete with honey and smoked pepper) or fried oysters, and you’ll be in heaven.


Pouring Ribbons

225 Avenue B 2nd floor, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 917-796-8618
Visit Website

We’ll stay around Tompkins Square Park to visit Pouring Ribbons. Everything about Pouring Ribbons, from the cocktail and food menus to the decor, screams sophisticated. It’s an excellent spot for a date or to hang out with friends.

The cocktail menu here is excellent because they score each drink on scales of refreshing to spirituous (or boozy) and comforting to adventurous. So you can look at the whole menu and get the drink that perfectly matches your mood that evening. I personally usually get the Shade, which has three types of rum mixed with mint. It’s better than your standard mojito.


Burp Castle

41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-982-4576
Visit Website

Head to East 7th Street and find the “Temple of Beer Worship,” known as the Burp Castle. Burp Castle specializes in beer and Belgian beer in particular. Like the monasteries where Belgians are usually brewed, the bartenders at Burp Castle try to keep the volume down. It’s an experience different from a lot of other places in the area.

Their beer menu rotates constantly, but no matter what’s on tap, you’re in good hands. Check ahead on their social media to see if they’re offering pommes frites as well. These Belgian-style fries are a perfect accompaniment to the beer!


d.b.a.

41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 123-456-7890

There are bars with tons of craft cocktails, and there are bars that stick to the classics. d.b.a. is very much the latter, and that’s an excellent thing. With outdoor seating and a back patio in the nice weather, d.b.a. has a great atmosphere. It’s even dog-friendly, so you get a little extra love that way.

At d.b.a., you’re going for either a pint from one of their 16 rotating draft beer lines or their wide selection of American whiskey. The bar is exceptionally well-curated, so branch out and try something you haven’t had before.


Lucy’s

5105, 135 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-673-3824

Lucy’s, on Avenue A, is named for Lucy, the Polish-born owner and (seemingly) only bartender. Lucy’s is a dive bar in the best possible way, with pool and video games adding to the very relaxed vibe. There are dive bars that feel like they’re trying way too hard, and then there’s Lucy’s. This is the real deal.

Get a gin and tonic, a vodka soda, or a similar cocktail at Lucy’s. Something fancy just doesn’t feel like the right fit. Lucy’s also has a great food menu for a dive. I particularly enjoy the bacon jam fried chicken sandwich.


The Garret East

206 Avenue A, New York, NY 10003
Visit Website

The Garret has a few locations in the city, and their East Village location is one to try. Go into The Garret, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a 1950s apartment. The decor and the vibe are perfectly themed. It’s a ton of fun.

The cocktails are fun but thankfully progressed more toward the modern-day. One of my go-tos at The Garret is the Donkey Horse. This playful drink combines tequila, turmeric, ginger, and lime over crushed ice. It’s a spicy but refreshing drink that’s perfect for any weather. The Garret has a great canned beer selection as well!


Maiden Lane

162 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 646-755-8911
Visit Website

Suppose you want to feel like you’ve found a European bar in New York, head on over to Avenue B and check out Maiden Lane. Huge windows look out on the park and add to the fun and lively atmosphere. Outdoor dining is available when it’s warm.

Maiden Lane was founded to focus on tinned seafood, a European delicacy. Fortunately, their bar’s been curated to match those flavors perfectly. I like to stick to the classics at Maiden Lane. Their Dark ‘N Stormy is perfectly mixed and delicious. The Mule gives a gingery bite that cuts right through the richness of the seafood.


Royale

157 Loisaida Ave, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-254-6600
Visit Website

Royale is a bar that sits right between 9th and 10th Streets. It’s the perfect ideal of the neighborhood bar, with a bustling atmosphere and an outdoor patio that’s available to sit on all year round. So grab a beer, bring some friends, and you’re having a great night.

Royale is known less for their drinks than their burger, which was previously voted the best burger in all of New York City. It’s well-portioned, juicy, and delicious. The classic Royale is simple but hits the right notes. It comes with an all-beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle.


Ace Bar

531 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-979-8476
Visit Website

Ace Bar opened in late-1992 when the East Village sat at the peak of counterculture. That mentality holds through today, so Ace is a very cool-feeling spot. The bar is made up of two huge rooms with pool, darts, pinball, and skeeball. It’s undeniably a no-frills, fun kind of place.

That no-frills attitude definitely applies to the menu, which focuses heavily on beer. Ace carries a wide selection of rotating taps, so you’ll find something different every time you go in. If nothing on the tap is calling to you, they also have a wide variety of bottles and cans. 


Big Bar

75 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-777-6969

Big Bar is an intimate bar in the Ukrainian Village. The atmosphere at Big Bar is very relaxed, with one unique feature being the red lighting scheme. Big Bar also features live music many nights, from local DJs to local singers. It’s a fantastic place to be.

If you’re going to Big Bar, get any of their signature martinis. Ranging from classic to creative, every martini at Big Bar is made by hand and with lots of love. They also offer a ton of tasty bar bites for you to enjoy, like bacon-wrapped stuffed dates and five varieties of sliders!


Bua

122 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-979-6276
Visit Website

Bua is a fun neighborhood spot that sits on St. Marks Place. With brick walls and tons of inside and outside seating, Bua has a lively and comfortable atmosphere. They’re especially renowned for their happy hour, where you can get discounted signature cocktails, drinks, and apps.

I’m a sucker for tiki drinks, so I love the Rye Tai at Bua. This twist on the Mai Tai has white rum, rye whiskey, orgeat, infused triple sec, lime, and bitters. It adds a boozy hit to the tiki classic. I also recommend an order of fried cheese curds for the table.


Standings

43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-420-0671

If you’re a sports fan or just like the feeling of being around big fans during a big game, Standings is a spot you have to get to. Standings has sports pennants and TVs all over the wall, so there’s a ton of atmosphere to this tiny spot.

Standings is a sports bar through and through, so you know what you’re going to get there. They feature a ton of beer both on draft and in bottles. They also offer sports bar classic apps like nachos that will help keep you going from kickoff until the end of the game.


11th St. Bar

510 E 11th St, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-982-3929
Visit Website

11th St. Bar is, you guessed it, right on 11th Street. This pub feels like you’ve walked right into Dublin. It has warm woods everywhere, making it feel very inviting and cozy. It’s a great place to catch live Liverpool soccer (or football, depending on where you’re from!), and some nights you will see local poets or musicians.

You absolutely have to get a pint of Guinness on draft. It comes out of the tap smooth, creamy, and perfectly bitter. A perfect pour of Guinness is a beautiful experience, and you can’t find any better than when you’re at 11th St.


Jackdaw

213 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-507-9333
Visit Website

Our last stop is at the north end of the East Village at Jackdaw. Jackdaw’s a pub with a very relaxed vibe. If you go to Jackdaw, you can expect a little bit of everything. Like craft beers? Cocktails? Shareable plates? Full entrees? Jackdaw’s got it all.

I love The William Bramble to drink. It’s a mix of tequila, lemon, and blackberries. For some food with that, get the Pork Belly Bao Buns. These have perfectly-cooked pork belly, hoisin sriracha, sriracha mayo, and pickled cucumber on fluffy bread. They also have a shrimp variety if you want something lighter!


Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Pubs, dives, upscale, and everything in between. The East Village truly has it all. Of course, this is just a small selection of my favorite East Village bars. 

There are dozens more out there, so make your way from these and keep exploring! The East Village is a perfect spot to find a local spot, park at the bar, have a drink, and have a ton of fun.

If you’re not looking for bars, maybe you’ll be interested in some boozy brunch spots around town!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.