Like most New Yorkers, I’ve had my fair share of martinis. How could I not? This city is home to the world’s most innovative mixologists, each eager to impress with their skills while adding a special touch to the beloved classic. From dimly-lit speakeasies to rooftop lounges with jaw-dropping views, allow me to share my personal list of the best martinis in New York City. Let’s 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 10 Best Neighborhoods & 3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s my favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
The Best Martinis in New York City
Table of Contents: Where to Get a Martini in NYC
Table of Contents: Best Martini Bars in New York City
- The Best Martinis in New York City
- List of Classic Martinis
- List of Creative Martinis in NYC
- List of Best Martinis in New York City (Post Summary)
- Where to Get Martinis in NYC (Helpful Map)
- More Helpful Links
List of Classic Martinis
Longtime readers of this website know that Dante needs no introduction. This charming cocktail bar cast its spell on me ages ago (and I don’t plan to change a singly thing about that). Famous for knock-out cocktails, martinis is where Dante truly shines.
There’s three key players worth knowing:
- The Dante Martini (fords gin, ketel one, noilly prat, dolin blanc, nardini cedro, olive & lemon bitters)
- The Dirty (reyka vokda, olive oil, olive bitters, cinzano 1757 dry, pinch of salt)
- With a Twist (absolut citron, beefeater, alessio bianco, essence of grapefruit, lemon, lime)
I’m a sucker for the citrus martini (With a Twist), but my husband swears by The Dirty. Dante’s ability to cater to any palate sets them apart from most of the other NYC martini bars mentioned on this list. There’s 2 Dante locations in the West Village. Dante West Village (551 Hudson Street) focuses on martinis while Caffe Dante specializes in negornis.
Local’s Tip: Both locations run a generous happy hour daily from 3-5pm. If you love martinis (and saving money!) make a beeline for Dante West Village for $10 martinis. So, not only are these some of the best martinis in NYC, but it’s also one of the best happy hours in the city as well. You won’t want to miss it!
Found inside the posh Carlyle Hotel, the dimly-lit Bemelmans Bar has been a stomping ground for celebrities for generations. Leather booths and hand-painted murals depicting Central Park in all four seasons adorn the walls.
The murals were hand-painted by the beloved illustrator behind the famous Madeline books, Ludwig Bemelmans (for whom the bar is named). Peel your eyes from the walls and pay attention to the drinks being poured at the bar. You’ll notice a disproportion amount of martinis (the most popular item on the menu).
The reason? Bemelmans Bar is known for crafting some of the best classic martinis in New York City and patrons are known for requesting them extra dirty.
Note: Bemelmans Bar has a smart dress code policy after 5:30pm. Collared shirts are required for men and no shorts or hats are allowed. There’s also a cover charge of $10 per person.
The Campbell, located in the iconic Grand Central Terminal, offers some of the city’s most celebrated martinis. This historic bar, once the private office of railroad magnate John Campbell, is an embodiment of old New York glamour.
The elegant atmosphere, combined with a menu of perfectly executed classic martinis, makes The Campbell a perfect place for a first date. The experience of enjoying a martini at this popular NYC martini bar is not just about the drink, but also about the rich history and the opulent setting that define this landmark New York City bar.
The Lobby Bar (at the Ludlow Hotel)
We stumbled upon the Lobby Bar at the Ludlow Hotel innocently enough. We were meeting a friend in the neighborhood and need to find a place to hang out. We wanted to grab cocktails and catch up, maybe even play a few rounds of cards. Where to go? A quick search of the map led up to the Bar at the Ludlow Hotel.
All of us are big martini drinkers, so we ordered a round of dirty martinis to start. Within a sip, we agreed that these were some of the best dirty martinis in New York City. Our friend (who has lived in NYC for 12+ years) placed them in his person top 5 NYC martinis list. Can’t recommend these enough!
Katana Kitten, found in the charming West Village, is not only acclaimed for its innovative cocktails but also for its unique blend of Japanese and American bar culture. This establishment, under the direction of mixologist Masahiro Urushido, has gained recognition for its exceptional quality, even ranking in the top 10 of the world’s best bars.
Katana Kitten’s fusion of cultural elements, coupled with its extraordinary cocktail craftsmanship, makes it a standout destination in NYC’s vibrant bar scene. It’s only fitting that the bar’s signature cocktail is the Hinoki martini, earning it a spot on this list.
This unique cocktail is crafted with a blend of Grey Goose, Spring 44 Mountain Gin, Fino Sherry, Junmai Daiginjo, and the essence of Hinoki tree (cyprus tree), effectively making it one of the most unique martinis in NYC.
Hawksmoor, a notable steakhouse hailing from the UK, is famous for serving some of the coldest martinis in New York City, chilled to temperature of 10°F (-12°C). The martinis are served to order from an insulated Yeti flask to create the perfect drinking experience.
Apparently this unique chilling technique is meant to enhance the flavors. Sounds a bit “woo” to me, but I have to say, it’s a killer martini. The bar offers a selection of five different martinis, allowing patrons to explore beyond the classic version. However, in my opinion, the bar’s Ultimate Gin Martini is where it’s at.
The combination of the steakhouse’s elegant atmosphere and the coldest martinis in New York City creates the perfect vibe for an evening you won’t soon forget.
Japanese cocktail bar Martiny’s opened in 2022, a solo-venture by Takuma Watanabe, who used to be the head bartender at (now closed) Angel’s Share, regarded as a pioneer in New York’s craft cocktail scene.
So, is it any wonder that Martiny’s has already been named one of the Best Bars in North America in 2023? Serving drinks out of a historic 1800’s carriage house in Gramercy, with a name like Martiny’s, it’s safe to say the martinis are the stars of the show.
The bar is named after two things: Watanabe’s favorite cocktail and the famous French-American Sculptor Philip Martiny, who had a studio in the carriage house.
Look at me getting off topic. Back to martinis, there’s three things to know about this popular cocktail bar:
- Reservations are hard to get.
- The prices are astronomical ($25-30 per cocktail), deep-pockets help.
- The martinis are totally worth the hype.
List of Creative Martinis in NYC
The Garden Martini on Tap at Rosemary’s
Listen, I’m anticipating the public outcry for mentioning a martini on tap on this list. Sounds nuts, I get it. But here me out. The Garden Martini (vodka, St. Germain, clarified cucumber and basil) at Rosemary’s is special. Garnished with a cucumber, it’s refreshing and perfect for a summer night.
It almost reminds me of fresh-pressed cucumber juice (so good!). Dangerously smooth, I consider it one of the most refreshing NYC martinis on offer at the moment.
Note: Rosemary’s does a mean happy hour weekdays from 3-6pm where Rosemary’s Martini (vodka, carpano dry, pepperoncino) is only $12. It’s a great deal!
The Pickle Martini at the Belfry
The Belfry in NYC is renowned for its unique take on martinis, particularly its Pickle Martini. This distinctive cocktail uses vodka and spicy or sour pickle brine.
The lively atmosphere and popular happy hours has made this unconventional martini a favorite among patrons. It’s a creative twist on the classic martini, showcasing the bar’s flair for combining traditional cocktail artistry with playful, modern twists.
Fair warning – The Belfry is home to one of the most popular East Village happy hours (daily from 5-7pm) so the place can get full.
The Martini by the Sea at Madeline’s Martini
Aptly named, the menu at Madeline’s Martini is dominated by a wide selection of martinis. From tried-and-true classics like the dirty and espresso, to unique offerings like the Martini By The Sea (mezcal, sea lettuce brine, bianco vermouth) and The Dirty Peacock (vodka, dry vermouth, black olive brine, stuffed olives), martini-enthusiasts can let their imagination go wild at this spot.
The food menu is well curated. Only small bites are available, but the delectable caviar sandwich punches above its weight.
Local’s Tip: If you enjoy the caffeine boost of an espresso martini, I recommend ordering the The Breakfast Martini (black tea gin, lemon, marmalade) to shake things up a bit.
The Lychee Martini at Verlaine
Verlaine Bar is famous for its exquisite Lychee Martini. It’s a standout cocktail that blends the delicate sweetness of lychee with the classic martini base. Verlaine offers a dimly lit and inviting atmosphere, perfect for sipping on some cocktails while enjoying the company of good friends.
The Lychee Martini, especially popular during their extended happy hours, speaks to the bar’s knack for infusing traditional cocktails with unique, refreshing flavors.
List of Best Martinis in New York City (Post Summary)
- Bemelmans Bar
- The Lobby Bar (at the Ludlow Hotel)
- Katana Kitten
- The Campbell
- Madeline’s Martini
- The Belfry
Frequently Asked Questions: Where to Get the Best Martini in NYC
The cost of a martini in New York City can vary widely depending on the establishment, but on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $12 on the low end to $20 on the high end
Although subjective, Dante is a strong contender for the best dirty martini in New York City.
A lot of the best martini bars in New York City can be found in the East Village.
Where to Get Martinis in NYC (Helpful Map)
More Helpful Links
Can’t Miss Cocktail Bars: 15 Boozy Cocktail Bars in New York City (Worth The Wait)
Best Scotch Bars: 20 BEST Scotch Whisky Bars in New York City (Expert Ranking)
How to Stretch Your Dollar: 20 Spectacular Spots for Happy Hour in NYC (To Quench Your Thirst)
Unique Speakeasies: The 10 Best Speakeasies in New York City (Spots Locals Love)
The Best Beer: 20 Buzz-Worthy Breweries in New York City (Local’s Guide)
How’d I do? Did I miss your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments before! I’m always open to trying new places, cheers!