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Harlem Bars to Visit for a Night Out

Our favorite spots to grab a drink in this NYC neighborhood.

If you have been to New York, you’ve most likely noticed that most offices are located along the prominent and renowned streets. Similarly, most bars in Harlem are dotted along the famous avenues. So, in case you’re thirsty and walking along Malcolm X Boulevard, the chance of stumbling upon a good place to quench your thirst is high.

cocktails in the best bar in harlem nyc

If you are on the hunt for the best bars in the city, this guide is just for you. Keep reading to learn about the most spectacular joints in Harlem, where you can hang out with friends to blow off some steam.

Best Bars in Harlem

  1. Corner Social
  2. Harlem Tavern
  3. Harlem Hops
  4. Archer & Goat
  5. Harlem Public
  6. 67 Orange Street
  7. Red Rooster Harlem
  8. Mess Hall Harlem
  9. Perch Harlem
  10. GAUDir
  11. Bay Goyana
  12. East Harlem Bottling Co.
  13. Earl’s Beer and Cheese
  14. Alison
  15. The Toolbox Bar

Corner Social

321 Malcolm X Blvd. New York, NY 10027. Harlem
Phone: (212) 510-8552
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The name of the next bar in the list sells it off: Corner Social. Does it sound like a place you would sit with a friend having a good time? I thought so. Corner Social is a description of many things in one. First, it is somewhere where you can come with a friend, sit and enjoy your favorite meal of salmon alongside kale salad.

On the other hand, it is somewhere to show up every weekend, especially on Friday nights, to listen to some fun music as the live DJ plays them for a huge crowd ready to forget their stress and live for the moment!

Located just a couple of blocks from The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Corner Social is enclosed in brick walls, wooden ceiling beams and has numerous tables to host as many people as possible. So, if you are meeting a group of old buddies or family members, you’ll definitely find enough space here. Besides, the cocktail options are out of this world.


Harlem Tavern

2153 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Phone: (212) 866-4500
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Harlem Tavern stands out as one of the best bars in Harlem for many things, including its two-block proximity to Morningside Park. However, the top on the list is its size. Here, you are treated to an expansive indoor space fitted with medieval-looking chandeliers, lots of tables, and a long bar.

In addition, this joint features a patio out front, as large as the size of a basketball pitch. In case you are on the hunt for a space that can accommodate a huge group of people outside, Harlem Tavern has you sorted.

Besides serving a fantastic collection of beers and cocktails, Harlem Tavern is known for its huge food options. When you get hungry, you have more than enough choices in the variety of food options here. From chips, fish, quesadillas, and burgers, you can be sure to find just something exciting to bite here.

When I first visited Harlem Tavern, I was so fascinated by the steak sandwich that I could not resist a second helping. With the frozen drinks available on the patio, especially when the temperature goes past the 72-degree mark, you can be sure to have a great experience here.


Harlem Hops

2268 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, New York 10030
Phone: (646) 998-3444
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Top on the list of the best bars in Harlem is Harlem Hops. Situated just a few blocks away from St. Nicholas Park, it’s in a convenient and easy to reach location. If microbreweries are your forte, then this is the best spot to be when in town. When I first set foot in Harlem, my interest was in some hard-to-find beers, which I was able to find at Harlem Hops.

Here, you are treated to lots of beer types you may never have known existed. If you are the type that cares less about various flavor notes and more about ambiance, you can fall in love with the backyard. Its large mural wall and the barrels’ tables could blow your mind.

Why don’t you spend quality time here sipping your favorite beer while learning more about various microbreweries?  


Archer & Goat

187 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Phone: 917-261-6602
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On Malcolm X Boulevard, minutes from Marcus Garvey Park, is Archer & Goat. This family-owned and operated restaurant opened in 2019 and has been bustling with patrons ever since. The space celebrates the family’s multicultural heritage and the mix of cultures that make up New York City, especially Harlem. This modern and casual bar is perfect for an evening drink or brunch on the weekends.

Other people and I love Archer & Goat because they offer staple signature cocktails and a handful of seasonal creations. During the winter, they offer delicious mulled wine, hot or cold. As for their signature drinks, you have to try their archer drink and goat drink since those make up the bar’s name. The archer is mezcal, hibiscus, ginger, lime, while the goat is tequila, orange, lime, turmeric.


Harlem Public

3612 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Phone: 212-939-9404
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Next up in the list of the best bars in Harlem is the Harlem Public, located just a short walk from the Hudson River Greenway. Just from my first visit here, I am confident you can rank it high on the list of the best joints in the town: either for one of its fantastic custom cocktails, the peanut butter burger, or the avocado fries.

With its variety of cocktails, Harlem Public is a must-visit for everyone, whether you are in a festive mood or not. For instance, the craft beers available here are a perfect choice if you have not yet switched to the cocktail mood. You won’t want to miss stopping in for anything because it’s a local favorite and a perfect joint to hang out with friends or even for a post-work date night.


67 Orange Street

2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Phone: 212-662-2030
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After a stroll in Central Park, you can find 67 Orange Street just a short two blocks away. A variety of cocktail combinations and exciting food options are among the top aspects that most individuals looking for the best bars in Harlem would consider. If it is the same case with you, then your search ends at 67 Orange Street.

This joint has carved a name for itself as a solid option for anyone looking for out-of-this-world cocktail combos and killer food menus. Whether you are a visitor or a resident, Orange Street can surprise you every time you come here.

The sleek and comfortable space is all-inviting, not to mention the array of well-made cocktails. You will love the open space that allows free-flowing talks: 67 Orange Street is the perfect stop for an evening out.


Red Rooster Harlem

310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-792-9001
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If you are the type that loves liquor served alongside favorite meals, you have a spot at Red Rooster. Conveniently located up the street from Marcus Garvey Park, this is a bar you won’t want to miss. Boasting excellent knowledge of the roots of American cuisine, this joint gives you the chance to have your favorite drink amid delicious aroma from a mix of cuisine upstairs.

Besides its focus on American Cuisine and diverse soul-food menu, Red Rooster is a perfect place to sample a variety of cocktails. Its Ginny’s Supper Club is strategically located in the basement to give revelers a great atmosphere to enjoy the best drinks and soul dishes like fried chicken and cornbread slick.  


Mess Hall Harlem

2194 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Phone: 646-692-3098
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Mess Hall Harlem is only half a mile from Morningside Park. This is a cozy spot in Harlem that’s perfect for quenching your thirst for beer, whiskey, or other cocktails. This bar is set in a narrow building where the lighting is dim, making it ideal for quiet conversation with friends or family.

This neighborhood bar specializes in craft beer and whiskey, but they have plenty of domestic beer and a full bar if craft beer and whiskey aren’t your things. Something I love about this bar is they offer flights of whiskey. This way, you can sample a variety that you may not have tried before. They also have a nice selection of bar bites to keep you full as you drink.


Perch Harlem

1693 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029
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Perch Harlem is one of the best bars in East Harlem. It’s beautifully decorated with wooden tables, a wooden bar, and gold fixtures around the bar. You’ll know you’ve arrived with you see a beautiful, large wood door.

Perch has a full bar to serve you almost anything your heart desires. While you’re more than welcome to order yourself a standard vodka soda or rum and coke, you’ll want to check out their cocktail list. The bartenders here view bartending as an art, and their cocktails reflect that. I loved the espresso martini and pineapple mimosa.


GAUDir

251 E 110th St, New York, NY 10029
Phone: 212-744-4422
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GAUDir is a delicious Spanish restaurant that’s only minutes from the Harlem River. While many people come for the food, the drink selection and ambiance aren’t a bad touch. When you walk into this bar, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a restaurant in Spain rather than New York. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it a great place to enjoy tapas and a glass of wine with friends.

GAUDir is known for its wine selection, but it has plenty of other spirits and drinks to quench your thirst. Their house-made sangria is a hit with almost everyone, as is their lavender gimlet. If you can make it to GAUDir by five in the evening, you’ll enjoy half off of select wines until six.


Bar Goyana

177 E 100th St, New York, NY 10029
Phone: 917-331-3278
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On E 100th Street, minutes from Washington House Playground, is Bar Goyana. This cocktail bar is brightly decorated with palm trees and other colorful decorations. Inspired by the bright and colorful nature of Brazil, this cocktail bar feels like you’ve stepped into a tropical paradise.

The bar here is stocked with all your favorite spirits and 25 house-made syrups that make great additions to most drinks. You have to try their cocktail, the Goyana. They make it with aged cachaca, passion fruit, and Baunilha do Cerrado, which is rare vanilla. If you’re looking for another suggestion, I loved their spicy mango margarita. It tastes like you’re sitting on the beach rather than a barstool.


East Harlem Bottling Co.

1711 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029
Phone: 646-922-7705
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On Lexington Avenue, on the corner of 107th Street, is the East Harlem Bottling Co. This neighborhood bar has exposed brick throughout the building and a few tables for outdoor seating when the weather is nice. It’s a smaller space, but it’s a comfortable spot for kicking back with a cold drink after a long day.

East Harlem Bottling Co. is your typical neighborhood bar with a fully stocked spirit collection, wine, and plenty of locally brewed beer. You’ll see people drinking all sorts of drinks at the bar, but if you ask me, sampling some local New York beer is the way to go. If you love brunch, you’ll love stopping in for a bloody Mary or mimosa.


Earl’s Beer and Cheese

1259 Park Ave, New York, NY 10029
Phone: 212-289-1581
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Three minutes from the East Meadow of Central Park is Earl’s Beer and Cheese. If you love craft beer and cheese, you’ll love this local bar. Year after year, publications recognize this spot as one of the top places to try when you’re in New York. This cozy spot in Harlem features wood floors and features with plenty of space for gathering with friends.

Earl’s Beer and Cheese is the best place in the neighborhood for those who love craft beer. Don’t worry if you’re in the mood for something different. They have plenty of wine and spirits to choose from too. I couldn’t help trying the Nine Pin light cucumber and lime cider. It was refreshing, and of course, their famous beer cheese spread.


Alison

1651 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029
Phone: 646-876-1054
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Five minutes from the Conservatory Garden is a favorite local bar, Alison. The bar and restaurant have bright white walls, black leather seating, and wooden tables. While they’re elegant, it’s still a very casual and laid-back spot. If you need more than my recommendation to stop in, the Food Network believes this is one of the best additions to Harlem.

Alison serves classic American food and plenty of local beer and wine. I loved the Bronx Brewery Well Earned pilsner and the Montauk Wave Chaser IPA. Their happy hour is wonderful too, running for six hours with discounts on almost all of their drinks.


The Toolbox Bar

1742 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128
Phone: 212-348-1288
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Last but not least is The Toolbox Bar. Located on 2nd Avenue in Harlem, this lively and welcoming gay bar is a favorite amongst locals. As lively as the bar can be, it’s still cozy enough to have more intimate conversations over cocktails with friends and family. They regularly have live entertainment, which is another big draw to the bar.

When I stopped at this bar, the first thing I noticed about the menu was their delicious list of cocktails. My bartender told me I couldn’t leave without trying their toolbox iced tea. It’s iced tea, lemonade, and a dash of strawberry liquor. Another favorite of mine was their watermelon martini, but they have wine and beer if you don’t want liquor.


Final Thoughts

There you have it – a comprehensive list of the best bars in Harlem. You must have noticed that Harlem has everything for everyone when it comes to bar diversity. If you are looking for quiet and cozy joints in town, you will find them. Similarly, if you search for bars that can accommodate a group of people, this list has it all.

It may appear easy to find a great bar in this city, but that isn’t always the case. You can attest to how you have found yourself stuck in the wrong bar on so many occasions in the sense that your expectations weren’t met. However, such experiences should be a thing of the past, especially if you have gone through this guide.

When looking for the best bars to spend a night of memories, it is always advisable to consider your tastes and preferences, alongside what the bars offer. This way, you can be assured to find a bar that serves your favorite cocktail, plays your kind of music, and has a variety of menu options you can sample.

Looking for a place to eat in the morning after a nights out in Harlem? You should check out our favorite brunch spots in Harlem.

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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.