The Best Places to Get a Drink In New York
| Jo Ellen Gabel

Vodka stikes many as it did Esther Greenwood, (Bel Jar Chapter One) who described discovering, at long last, that vodka was her drink because “it didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.” Powerful and godlike? Where do we sign up? While we may not quite have the same feeling when imbibing a favorite vodka soda, on the rocks or martini, vodka bottle sservice is alive and well in New York City. Here are some of the best places in the city to nab some of that liquid courage.

Boobie Trap

Romantic candle-lit dinner? No thanks, theme bars were always more our style anyway. Who doesn’t love a good case of kitschy decor, especially when it’s accompanied by cheap beer and board games? Prepare yourself for PG nip slips, pin up girls, and if you have a little too much to drink (we’ve all been there) there are rubber bands in stock to tie your hair back with. Plan on having your fancy cocktails somewhere else, as the website states, “No mojitos, jerk.”

Bar Great Harry

Because crazy dog lady's need a place to hang out too. Feel free to bring your furry friend down to Smith Street and enjoy a craft beer or two, along with some pinball action. Just make sure you don’t call first, as according to their site, Time Warner Cable has cut their phone lines. 

The Adirondack

This wood-paneled corner bar has a long happy hour (3-7pm) for which you’ll get $4 well drinks and a dollar off draft beers. Expect classic bar food, including pretzels, pickles, and paninis to mull you over. 

The Alibi

Hailed by many to be the best Dive Bar in Brooklyn, walk in the doors and you might see a not-so-friendly set of smashed regulars. Smile and nod, and they’ll eventually leave you alone with their drunk ramblings...or you could have one too many and join right in. Nobody’s stopping you. Don’t worry too much about curmudgeonly bartenders, they’re mostly harmless

Masha & the Bear


Any Russian, or vodka connoisseur will tell you, Masha & the Bear is the place to be for a glass of that “Grade A vodka” (or maybe even Esther Greenwood herself), and a Russian food menu to match. Get your hands on some Pelmeni, blini, and Catskill Distillery’s wheat vodka, and make a night of it. 

The Trash Bar

For the best karaoke that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Trash Bar in Williamsburg offers up the best place to make a fool of yourself and then quickly soothe the burn with their well whisky. The filthy dive bar setting only adds to the draw of the wildly popular karaoke mecca, luckily the long lines for the stage guarantee that you’ll be sufficiently loosened up before your turn to sing even comes up. And for when you get sick of hearing amateur singers, you can come when one of the actual bands books to play – though well-versed fans are likely to end up on stage with the professionals anyway.