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Published on June 21st, 2012 | by Dipsology

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Best Cocktails in Midtown

Midtown Manhattan used to be a food and drink wasteland, a dark hole  where the only coffee was Starbucks and the only drinks were beers, preferably accompanied by rides on a mechanical bull (Johnny Utah’s I’m looking at you). But no more! Over the past year or so classic cocktails have been making inroads and now there are more than a few good options for dipsologists to get after work drinks in the ‘hood. Here are some of our favorites – let us know if we’ve missed any of yours!

A gem of a place tucked into the back of the historic Iroquois Hotel, Lantern’s Keep feels like stepping into a 1920’s Paris salon, from 44th Street.  You’re in good hands here, so don’t be afraid to go off menu with the Keeper’s Choice.  Just let your bartender know what spirit or flavors you prefer, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Who: Classy friends, cool work colleagues, parents

What: Carbonated negroni.  A refreshing quaff for a summer evening, the negroni is equal parts gin, campari and sweet vermouth.  Head bartender Theo Lieberman adds his own twist with a dose of CO2.  Because as we all know, everything tastes better with bubbles.

When: Tuesday-Friday for happy hour.  The Keep is open Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm-midnight

Where: Iroquois Hotel, 49 West 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues (view map)

Know before you go: Reservations are a good idea, especially for larger parties (max group size is 10) – email reservations@thelanternskeep.com or call 212-453-4287

Pro tip: They have great snacks – get the meatballs

View Lantern’s Keep full profile and menu

Retro glam, the occasional Broadway show tune and stellar drinks make The Lamb’s Club a great place for unwind after looking at Excel spreadsheets all day.  It’s also a nice respite from the mess that is Times Square.

Who: Work colleagues, clients, your boss, parents, out-of-towners

What: Gold rush.  Bourbon, honey and lemon.  What more could you want?

When: Weeknights for happy hour, or post-theater.  The bar is open Monday-Saturday from 2pm.

Where: The Chatwal Hotel, 132 West 44th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues (view map)

Pro tip: The hard boiled eggs on the bar are free.  Also, the restaurant downstairs is a great place for an old school business lunch, or pre/post theater dining.

View The Lamb’s Club’s full profile and menu

The outside doesn’t look like much, but don’t be fooled, Rum House is a fair cut above the rest, and one of the few on our list that is great for a large group.  Most nights a pianist will serenade you with tunes from the 1930s, too.

Who: Fun work colleagues or friends

What: Yes, it’s called Rum House, but my go-to is the George Cohan, a house original with bourbon, Cocchi Americano (a white fortified wine that is herbaceous, a little bitter, and downright delicious), lemon, egg white and angostura bitters.  (If you’re going to be a dipsologist, throw those misgivings about raw eggs out the window immediately.  We all ate raw cookie dough and lived to tell the tale.)

When: A great spot for happy hour during the week or a late night libation, they are open every day, including Sunday, 11am-4am.  We’ve also just discovered they serve 7 different kinds of bloody marys with free bagels and cream cheese from 11-5 on the weekends, so we’ll be checking that out stat.

Where: The Edison Hotel, 228 West 47th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue (view map)

Pro tip: The deviled eggs are delish.

View Rum House’s full profile and menu

It is often packed, but if you can snag a seat at the (very attractive marble) bar there are some good libations to be had at The Modern.  If you’re eating, you can reserve one of the small tables as well.  The crowd is well-heeled and even though you’re technically in Midtown West, you could easily be on the Upper East, with prices to match.

Who: A chic date or friend

What: Kina Cocktail: Citadelle gin, Cocchi Americano, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Fino Sherry.  Light and dry, a good sipper, with a nice depth of flavor.  Runner up: Cheshire Regiment with Gin, Raspberry Pineau des Charentes, Punt e Mes and Sparkling Rose for something fruitier.

When: After work on a weekday, or for a midafternoon tipple to break up your visit to the museum.  The bar is open from 11:30am-10:30pm, until 11pm Friday and Saturday, and until 9:30pm on Sunday.

Where: 9 West 53rd, between 5th and 6th Avenues (view map)

Pro tip: The truffle oil popcorn is to die for.  If you want something a bit more substantial, the Alsatian pizza with lardons, onions and cream is also outstanding and easy to share, if you can bear to part with it.

View The Bar Room at The Modern’s full profile and menu

A newly re-imagined classic, the Monkey Bar has been restored to its prior glory  with a cocktail menu to match including a number of old favorites and some new creations.  Grab informal drinks and snacks up front or experience the glamor of Midtown in bygone years in the formal dining room.

Who: Old school work colleagues, clients, your boss, parents (especially if they’re paying)

What: Monkey Gland.  What else?  Made with gin, pomegranate molasses, orange juice, Absinthe, and orange bitters, it’s not for the faint of heart.

When: Weeknights.  The bar is open 11:30am-2am Monday-Friday, from 5:30pm-2am on Saturday and closed Sunday.

Where: 60 East 54th, between Park and Madison Avenues (view map)

Pro tip: The cote du boeuf for the table with potatoes and spinach is an excellent choice.

View Monkey Bar’s full profile and menu

Honorable Mention:
21 Club on 52nd Street between 5th and 6th.  One of the possible birthplaces of the Southside cocktail (gin, lime, simple, mint), it’s also a piece of Old New York, exquisitely preserved.  Sidle around to the back bar and make sure Tara is on the job, otherwise don’t bother.

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Your local NYC guide for where to go and what to drink. We spotlight noteworthy cocktail destinations with the goal of inspiring education, discovery and community around great drink experiences. Subscribe to stay in the know.



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