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The Ultimate Guide to the Midtown Bar Scene

Midtown is a neighborhood in New York City. Many of the most historic buildings in the city are situated in Midtown, like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center. Other sites that tourists visit include various Broadway theatres and Times Square.

friends out drinking at a bar in midtown

Midtown is one of the busiest and most expensive business districts globally, including all the shops along Fifth Avenue.

When you’re in this part of the city, there’s nothing like kicking back with a nice cold beer or cocktail after a long day. Luckily for you, there’s plenty of excellent bars in New York City to keep you satiated. Whether you’re planning to move to Midtown or vacationing in the area, you may want to know where all the best bars are.

One of the best things about New York City is that there’s something to satisfy anyone and everyone. If you’re ready to check out the bar scene, here are 17 of the best bars in Midtown.

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

151 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-554-1143
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Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Source: Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

If you’re searching for a great place to get a drink in Midtown, you need to check out Aldo Sohm Wine Bar. Less than a mile from Rockefeller Center, this bar is a little more upscale than your traditional neighborhood bar. While it’s a more upscale environment, you’ll feel incredibly relaxed in this beautiful bar.

When you pop into Aldo Sohm, you have to try some of their delicious wine. They have over 40 wine options by the glass and over 200 by the bottle. One of my favorite things about this bar is that you can order a flight of wine. This option is perfect for conducting your own little wine tasting with friends.

The Rum House

228 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 646-490-6924
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The Rum House
Source: The Rum House

Located on W 47th street near the famous Broadway theaters is The Rum House. This bar takes you back in time to the era of jazz and live piano music with classic cocktails. The Rum House is known as one of the best cocktail bars in the city because it embodies everything people love about New York.

They have plenty of cocktails made with rum, like mojitos, a rum old-fashioned, and one they call dark and stormy. If rum isn’t your thing, they have several other choices, including other cocktails, wine, and beer. Regardless of what you’re in the mood for, you might want to take a look at their house’s original cocktails. I loved the rum-rum runner.

Lantern’s Keep

49 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-453-4287

Lantern's Keep
Source: Lantern’s Keep

Off of W 44th Street, inside the Iroquois Hotel is another popular bar, Lantern’s Keep. Lantern’s Keep is an elegant saloon, or speakeasy, showcasing wood paneling and a warm atmosphere to share cocktails with friends. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a bar that resembles prohibition but with modern details.

Lantern’s Keep has a lot of prohibition-era-style cocktails. The good thing about this bar is that they have a full bar, so if you’re not interested in one of their handcrafted cocktails, they should be able to make whatever it is you want. I love this bar because not only are the cocktails fantastic, but they offer bar bites to satisfy your hunger while you drink.

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Rudy’s Bar & Grill

627 9th Ave, Manhattan, NY 10036
Phone: 646-707-0890
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Rudy's Bar & Grill
Source: Rudy’s Bar & Grill

You’ll find Rudy’s Bar and Grill right off of Times Square. It’s a great place to stop in for a bite to eat and a delicious drink after taking photos and exploring this area of the city. Rudy’s has been open since 1933 and is one of the most historic dive bars in New York City. You’ll know you’ve found Rudy’s by the pig statue standing outside.

If you’ve ever been to New York, you know that it’s not always easy to find cheap drinks and food. Rudy’s is known for its cheap beer and free hotdogs. That’s just one of the reasons I love Rudy’s so much. They have liquor and wine, too, if you’re not a beer drinker. If you stop in, you need to try their special where you get a beer and a shot of whiskey.

Beer Culture

328 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 646-590-2139
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Beer Culture
Source: Beer Culture

Beer Culture is less than a mile from Rockefeller Center. This bar is the perfect spot for beer lovers because they carry several drafts and canned beers from local brewers to popular ones from out of town. The atmosphere in Beer Culture is casual and a little lively when they have live music.

When you stop into Beer Culture, you’re going to want to take a long look at their beer list. This bar is the perfect spot to sample beer you haven’t had before. Their menu does change often, but when I visited, they had a delicious sour, named Juicy Fruit, that was to die for. They have plenty of IPAs, lagers, and ales on tap and in cans too.

Ardesia Wine Bar

510 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-247-9191
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Ardesia Wine Bar
Source: Ardesia Wine Bar

Less than ten minutes from pier 90 on the Hudson River is Ardesia Wine Bar. This stunning wine bar offers both inside and outside seating while you sip on fabulous wine. Even though most people associate wine bars with upscale dining, this is a very casual space with an inviting atmosphere.

They have roughly 30 bottles of wine for you to choose from, or you can order them by the glass. If you’re not in the mood for wine, they have a lengthy beer list and a full bar to prepare any cocktail you want. I loved their rose wine and then a few appetizers while I decided what to try next when I visited.

The Campbell

15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-297-1781
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The Campbell
Source: The Campbell

The Campbell is less than a five-minute walk from the famous Chrysler Building. This bar is a beautiful place decorated with black and gold accents throughout. The leather seating adds even more appeal. While sitting anywhere in the bar is lovely, the bar is the most stunning feature there.

They offer classic cocktails, beer, wine by the glass, and even coffee cocktails. When I saw that they have a menu section dedicated to coffee cocktails, I had to try them. There are four cocktails, but if I had to choose a must-try, it would be the cold brew martini or the chai-town, which has spiced chai tea.

Tanner Smith’s

204 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 646-590-2034
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Tanner Smith's
Source: Tanner Smith’s

One of New York City’s best speakeasies, Tanner Smith’s, is located only three minutes from Carnegie Hall. When you walk inside, you’ll see the main bar area decorated to resemble classic 20th century New York decor. The lighting is dim, providing the perfect and intimate setting to enjoy a drink.

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The main bar is a great place to sit, but if you head down to the lower level, you’ll find their experimental bar, where they play with ingredients to make unique cocktails. Two of my favorite cocktails are order number 7, which has rye whiskey, or their Henderson mule.

Bill’s Bar & Burger

16 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-705-8510
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Bill's Bar & Burger
Source: Bill’s Bar & Burger

Right down the street from Radio City Music Hall is Bill’s Bar and Burger. Since 2009, Bill’s has been a bustling and casual bar to enjoy a great drink and burger. There’s wood paneling with wood tables and red leather accents.

Bill’s is your classic burger restaurant and bar. You’ll find everything from beer, wine, and delicious cocktails. When I visited Bill’s, I asked my server what they would recommend, and they told me I had to pair Bill’s Pils beer with their classic burger. Something that makes Bill’s stand out is their alcoholic milkshakes which are the perfect sweet treat.

The Modern – Bar Room

9 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-333-1220
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The Modern - Bar Room
Source: The Modern – Bar Room

Inside the Museum of Modern Art, you’ll find a beautiful bar known as The Bar Room. This area of The Modern is a unique experience where you can sip on award-winning cocktails in a beautifully decorated modern space. If you ask me, the best feature of this bar – besides the drinks, of course – is the 24-top marble bar.

The cocktails are the star of The Modern’s drink menu. They have selections like an espresso martini, classic martinis, and more. They also sell wine by the bottle or glass and have an extensive selection broken down by type of wine. My favorite cocktail is their Grand Opening which includes vodka, Grand Marnier, raspberry, lime, and black pepper.

Pocket Bar NYC

455 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 646-682-9062
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Pocket Bar NYC
Source: Pocket Bar NYC

Pocket Bar NYC is about ten minutes from Times Square on W 48th Street. This quirky bar has some interesting decor that gives the bar the character everyone loves. There are neon signs, intriguing statues of pigs, gophers, and more. This midtown bar is one of the best places to gather with friends for a drink after a long day.

Now, if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, Pocket Bar might not be the place for you. That being said, they do have plenty of beer and wine for you to enjoy. When I stopped in, I saw several people drinking a frozen drink, and I knew I just had to try one. They have a frozen rose, frozen sake, or frozen hard lemonade. All three are worth trying!

On the Rocks

696 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-247-2055

On the Rocks
Source: On the Rocks

You’ll find On the Rocks next to Pocket Bar. On the Rocks is a very mellow bar that specializes in whiskey. This small watering hole is perfect for those who love a quieter and smaller bar. It’s dimly lit and has an intimate atmosphere. It’s the place New York locals love to hang out.

Even though On the Rocks is known as a whiskey bar, they have a great beer selection. The bar doesn’t offer a menu, which is different. When you walk in, you can see the types of alcohol they have on the bar and then decide. If you’re not sure what you want to try, talking to the bartender about what you like will help them decide for you.

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Jimmy’s Corner

140 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-221-9510

Jimmy's Corner
Source: Jimmy’s Corner

If you’re looking for one of the diviest dive bars in New York City, you need to stop by Jimmy’s Corner, right on W 44th Street in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. There are pictures of old-school New York on the walls and even several signed one-dollar bills pinned along the wall behind the bar.

Jimmy’s has everything you could want in a dive bar. There’s plenty of cheap beer and spirits to quench your thirst. While ordering a handcrafted cocktail is ideal at other Midtown bars, when at Jimmy’s Corner, you can’t go wrong with a classic beer to enjoy with your friends.


45 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-302-4545
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Source: Valerie

Less than half a mile from Rockefeller Center is Valerie. This stunning bar boasts black, gold, and rose colors throughout. They have one bar called The Blushing Bar due to the pink accents and pink leather couch seating. They also have plenty of seating at their main bar when you first walk in. 

Valerie is known for its French cuisine and perfectly crafted cocktails. They have a full bar of all spirits, beer, and wine. When I visited Valerie, I noticed their selection of gin and tonics. They have seven unique gin and tonic recipes that are worth trying. I loved the spicy, tart, and citrus options.

Sean’s Bar and Kitchen

42 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-764-9090
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Sean's Bar and Kitchen
Source: Sean’s Bar and Kitchen

Five minutes from St. Patrick’s Cathedral is Sean’s Bar and Kitchen. This Irish pub is a cozy spot to enjoy a drink with friends or even by yourself. They first opened their doors in 2016 but have since become a beloved bar in Midtown. It has a traditional Irish pub look with wood floors, green walls, and black barstools.

Sean’s has a selection of 50 rotating tap beers and cocktails. If you’re a beer drinker, you’ll want to try some of Sean’s beers. They have a pilsner, Irish red, and more for you to try. The best part about trying Sean’s beers is that they’re on their specials list for only $6.


Multiple locations
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Source: Connolly’s

Connolly’s has multiple locations in New York. There’s one on W 45th Street near Times Square and another on E 47th Street. This Irish bar and restaurant is a great place to relax after walking through the city. The atmosphere is cozy, with dim lighting and live music to enjoy with your drink.

The drink menu at Connolly’s is pretty standard. There’s beer, wine, and spirits for you to choose from. It’s the perfect bar to stop in when you want a classic drink, like a vodka soda or beer. They do have drink specials sometimes, but they often change, so you’ll want to ask when you arrive.

The Stag’s Head

252 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-888-2453
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The Stag's Head
Source: The Stag’s Head

You’ll find The Stag’s head in Midtown East, right on E 51st Street. Since 2008, The Stag’s Head has served the locals and visitors who stop in locally crafted beers. People love this bar because it’s a casual spot to enjoy delicious drinks.

The Stag’s Head has a full bar, but if you’re going to stop in, I suggest trying some of the local beer they serve. One of my favorites is the Hudson North Cider Doughnut, brewed in Newburgh, New York, or the Sixpoint Bengali IPA brewed in Brooklyn.

Whether you’re looking for something a little more modern or a dive, there’s a bar in Midtown worth checking out. Now that you know where to get a drink in Midtown, stop into any one of these fantastic restaurants in the area before ending your night with a few drinks.

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 Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.