The sheer amount of unforgettable bars in the Lower East Side make it clear, this is NYC’s nightlife epicenter. As a matter of fact, the #1 ranked bar in North America can be found in the Lower East Side (more on that later).
As a local, I’ve taste-tested more than my fair share of craft-cocktails (sorry mom) in search of the best bars in the Lower East Side. I’ve also considered energy, friendliness and everything in-between.
In this post I hope to share all my legwork with you. If you’re also interested in the best boozy bars in the Lower East Side, why don’t we dive right in!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Bars in the Lower East Side
After Attaboy was named the #1 best bar in North America, I knew I had to make a pit-stop. I have been back many, many times since and couldn’t agree more, it’s one of the best bars in the Lower East Side.
Getting in isn’t easy, since there’s no reservations, but I’ll gladly pitch my tent in hopes I get a sip of Ross’ Penicillin (scotch, lemon juice, ginger-honey syrup). The drink has become my favorite in all of New York City.
If you choose to make the pilgrimage pay extra attention to the address since there’s no signage. Similar to how Ferrari doesn’t advertise, neither do the best bars in the Lower East Side, their reputation precedes them.
What’s more, Once inside, you won’t even find a menu! You have to have a conversation with the bartender, which adds to the mystique of the bar.
Address: 134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
#2. Double Chicken Please
Double Chicken Please is one of the best bars in the Lower East Side thanks to it’s unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries.
Their cocktails are anything but traditional, serving up the likes of Japanese Cold Noodle & Key Lime Pie. Indeed, they deconstruct popular dishes and transform them into boozy beverages.
Even the shots are fun, my favorite being the Oolong Whiskey. Safe to say, if you’re after uniqueness Double Chicken Please is among the best bars in the Lower East Side.
Double Chicken Please won the 2022 Disaronno Highest New Entry Award, which is presented to the bar with the best, first-time ranking on the list of the 50 Best Bars in the World. They remarkably debuted at #6!
Unlike Attaboy, Double Chicken does offer reservations. There are two rooms to choose from, with the front room being more like the other bars in the Lower East Side. There are quick “taptails” to choose from, but to get the food-flavored craft cocktails you’ll need to reserve a spot in the back room.
Address: 115 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
#3. Copper & Oak
Copper & Oak is among the best bars in the Lower East Side thanks it’s swanky and elegant demeanor. You just take a step inside and it’s impossible not to feel like Don Draper.
Wood tones overrun the decor as well as the drinks, since whiskeys are their specialty. There are cognacs, mezcals and other liquors though, so even if you’re not a whiskey-drinker you’re sure to find something tasty.
At Copper & Oak you’ll find rare and exclusive spirits that you won’t find at just any old dive bar. Therefore, this is one of the best bars in the Lower East Side to celebrate special occasions and milestones.
The only downside to Copper and Oak is how small the bar room is! Narrow counters line the walls and finding seating can sometimes be a headache, especially on weekend evenings.
However when you do find a seat you won’t regret staying, it’s one of the best bars in the Lower East Side. Not to mention, the coziness creates an air of intimacy with the person you’re sharing a drink.
Address: 157 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
#4. Reception Bar
Not only is Reception Bar one of the best bars in the Lower East Side, it’s also one of the most beautiful. During my visit I felt like I was drinking in the home section at Target, surrounded by circle mirrors and pastel colors.
The drinks are made with Korean-inspired flavors, so expect a lot of Soju (Korean liquor). I’m particular to the Matcha Meadow, with is made with matcha soju, korean pear shrub, and sparkling jasmine.
With ample seating and a unique drink selection, Reception is one of my favorite bars in the Lower East Side to meet up with friends. Every time I visit it feels like the Friday before a three-day weekend, and my friends always leave impressed.
Address: 45 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Lullaby is your chill, friendly neighborhood bar until the sun goes down, when it fills up like a frat house on homecoming. Opened in March of 2022, Lullaby has quickly become one of the most popular bars in the Lower East Side.
I attribute this to the fact that the drinks are just as delectable as those found in other popular bars in the Lower East Side, but there isn’t the usual pretentious energy of a craft-cocktail bar. It feels everyone can be themselves here, from the friendly bartenders to the patrons.
The vibe is immaculate, with rotating DJs keeping the energy levels top-notch. Since the bar is technically in a basement it’s hard not to have a relaxed, laid back energy.
The Whiskey Drink (that’s it’s real name) is made with cream corn and is surprisingly addicting. Plus at a relatively low (for NYC) cocktail price of $15, this has become one of the bars in the Lower East Side I frequent the most.
Address: 151 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
#6. Black Crescent
If you’re looking for a dive-bar vibe with craft-cocktail quality you need look no further than Black Crescent.
This is one of the bars in the Lower East Side that always drew my interest, and when I finally stopped by for happy hour I called myself crazy for waiting so long.
The fry-cook deserves a raise, I don’t care what they’re making because I’ve eaten my weight in Bang Bang Shrimp (Gulf-Coast shrimp, spicy aioli and lime). I tell my wife to back off when they’re on the table, but she’s just as happy munching on her waffle fries.
Furthermore, with daily happy hour from 5-7PM featuring $10 cocktails how can this not be one of the best bars in the Lower East Side?
Address: 76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
#7. Fool’s Gold
Fool’s Gold is one of the best bars in the Lower East Side for those looking for a laid-back, beer drinking, sports watching night. In fact, this is my wife and I’s go-to casual date night spot since we can leave the slacks at home.
This is a come as you are bar where you can expect to play darts and Jenga while crushing craft beers. And if you’re really looking for an entertaining evening stop by for trivia or Family Feud!
Another reasons Fool’s Gold is one of my favorite bars in the Lower East Side is because they play soccer games. To find a sports bar playing the Champions League, including the early the games are is a godsend!
Address: 145 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
#8. Bar Belly
$1 oysters every day for happy hour? Take my money! The best part? Happy hour is daily from 5-7PM. With a special like that how can Bar Belly not be one of the best bars in the Lower East Side?
There’s live music adding to the incredible vibe, and the drinks only make the musicians sound that much better. The whole place resonates with a contagious energy and I feel like I’m vacationing every time I visit.
Not to mention Bar Belly’s one of the friendliest bars in the Lower East Side, with both the service and other guests always making for a pleasant experience.
Address: 14 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Verlaine is a dimly lit, sophisticated little spot and one of the best bars in the Lower East Side. Inspired by Asian-flavors, you can expect to find a full menu stocked with the like of lo-mein and sake shrimp skewers.
Verlaine is more of a restaurant than a bar but the drinks, chef’s kiss. The lychee martini is especially memorable and at $8 during happy hour, keep ’em coming! Plus, happy hour runs from 5-10PM so there’s no need to rush.
If you’re looking for one of the best bars in the Lower East Side to meet up with friends, Verlaine has you covered. They offer reservations for parties of 6 or more, so bring them all! Even that coworker you don’t really like.
Address: 110 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
#10. The Back Room
The Back Room is one of only two real speakeasies in NYC from the prohibition era that are still open today. The entrance is the same one used 100 years ago, behind a gate that reads “Lower East Side Toy Company”.
Since it dates back to prohibition the likes of mobsters like Lucky Luciano and Meyers Lanksy are said to have visited The Back Room (I wonder if they considered it one of the best bars in the Lower East Side too?).
After visiting myself I can attest that it even feels authentic. The 1920’s decor and cocktails served in teacups can make you forget you’re in the 21st century.
Whenever I have friends visiting from out of town this is one of the Lower East Side bars I bring them to, and it never disappoints. They walk away with a unique NYC experience and I leave satisfied I showed them a real hidden gem.
Something to note: The Back Room only accepts guests 25 years and older on Fridays and Saturdays. Also – The Back Room does not allow real fur. If your clothing has it, you’ll be turned away.
Address: 102 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002
#11. The Crown
If you’re a sucker for the mesmerizing New York City skyline and love a good rooftop bar, make a beeline for The Crown located at Hotel 50 Bowery.
Not only is this one of the best bars in the Lower East Side, but the views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines are some of the best in the city.
From the rooftop you are able to see iconic NYC sites (unobstructed, might I add) like the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center to name a few.
The Crown offers a small food menu for anyone looking for a quick bite, but the specialty drinks are where they truly shine.
I’m shocked this place doesn’t have a line wrapped around the building nightly. I’ve been here a handful of times and only had to make a reservation once, which is surprising considering this is one of the best bars in the Lower East Side.
Local’s Tip: Make sure to visit during sunset to see the city light up from 21st floor!
Address: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
#12. 169 Bar
When I first saw the leopard-print pool table on a friend’s Instagram story I immediately swiped up and asked where they were. The answer was 169 Bar, one of the best bars in the Lower East Side.
The next day I decided to stop by and was shocked to find a palm trees and disco balls inside the small bar. It’s cozy, and the bartenders are some of the friendliest you’ll find at bars in the Lower East Side.
If you’re looking for a unique drink you should try the pickle martini, which my wife seems to crave at least every other week. Of the many bars in the Lower East Side we frequent, this is one we usually end the night at considering it’s open until 4AM.
Address: 169 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002
#13. Bar GOTO
Shocker shocker, another Lower East Side bar has ranked for a spot on a list of best bars in the world. Not only is Bar Goto ranked the 83rd best bar in the world in 2022, it was also a James Beard Awards semifinalist in 2017 & 2018.
For anyone unfamiliar with the James Beard Awards, they’re essentially the highest honors someone can receive in the culinary world (think of it as the Oscars, but for food).
Known for recognizing exceptional talent and skills, it should come as no surprise that Bar Goto has made our list of best bars in the Lower East Side.
The first time I tried Bar Goto, I actually came for the miso chicken wings which came highly (highly) recommend, And for good reason! These are the best chicken wings I’ve had in all of NYC, let alone at other Lower East Side bars (yes, this is a hill I’m 100% willing to die on).
The menu Kenta Goto (the founder) was able to curate is unlike anything else I’ve ever had. The Japanese inspired cocktails and street food that make up the menu at Bar Goto deserve every award under the sun.
Since I don’t have that authority, the best I can do is include them on this list of best bars in the Lower East Side in hopes I can change at least one of your lives.
Address: 245 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
One of the best bars in the Lower East Side has to be Garfunkel’s, a speakeasy accessible via a vault door in a restaurant called The Burgary.
Let me fill you in on a little bit of history, this bar is named after Garfunkel & Tauster. They were two felons who used the building the bar is housed in as home base of their delinquent bank nearly 100 years ago!
In the present, Garfunkel’s still has a similar 1920’s vibe. The bartenders are dressed in waistcoats and there’s often a live jazz trio, which create a Gatsby-esque aura.
And this isn’t just a fun or a pretty bar, the drinks are among the best you’ll find at any Lower East Side bars. I’m partial to Upmann the Banker, which uses a base of of cigar infused scotch, my mouth is watering just typing this.
Fun fact: If you’re a New York Times subscriber you can read the article from 1924, when Tauster was sentenced 2 to 4 years in jail for the crimes he committed with Garfunkel.
Address: 67 Clinton St, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10002
#15. Amor Y Amargo
Amor Y Amargo is technically in the East Village, but on a day checking out the best bars in the Lower East Side it’s so close you might as well stop by.
In 2022 Amor Y Amargo was ranked the 23rd best bar in North America which is sure to only boost their already booming cult-like following.
At it’s entrance you’ll find a storefront selling bitters and mixology tools, but in the back room you’ll find one of the best bars in the Lower East Side.
It’s an intimate, standing-only space manned by knowledgeable and talented mixologists. Since it’s so small it’s not uncommon for strangers to jump into each other’s small talk, which can make for a memorable experience.
For all these reasons I consider Amor Y Amargo among the can’t-miss bars in the Lower East Side.
Address: 95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Best Lower East Side bars (Post Summary)
- Double Chicken Please
- Copper and Oak
- Reception Bar
- Black Crescent
- Fools Gold
- Bar Belly
- The Back Room
- The Crown
- 169 Bar
- Cafe Goto
- Amor Y Amargo
Map of the best bars in the Lower East Side
If you enjoyed our list of the of the best bars in the Lower East Side, consider checking out more of our NYC guides
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- 20 Prime Brunch Spots in New York City Worth the (Inevitable) Wait
Hope you found our list of the best bars in the Lower East Side helpful!
And as we continue to try new bars in the Lower East Side, this post will be kept up to date.
Cheers, and don’t forget to tip your bartender!