The Best Bars for Drinks in the Lower East Side

The Best Bars for Drinks in the Lower East Side

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“Are those cops riding horses.. in Manhattan? Can I … Can I touch it?” – things you might hear in LES

The Lower East Side is a melting pot for bars and clubs. From black leather jackets, to heels & mini dresses, to popped collars & flip flops, you’ll find a crowd that’s in it for the exact same reason as you. Each bar in the Lower East Side has very different selling points, which makes for a fun bar hopping experience. Follow this guide to get your night from start to finish in LES.

1. Pianos

Pianos Bar Lower East Side NYC
158 Ludlow S / Click for directions

Best for: Live indie music, dancing in small groups

What’s that line for? If you’re ever out on Ludlow street, odds are that line is for Pianos. Pianos is a relatively chill spot offering cocktails, beer and multiple genres of live music depending on what floor you’re on. Choose between indie, electronic, folk and more with three floors of dancing & drinking. You’ll find a slightly more sophisticated crowd with the bouncers enforcing a light dress code & occasional m/f gender ratio.

2. Nurse Betty

Nurse Betty Bar NYC
106 Norfolk St / Click for directions

Best for: Burlesque performances, suggestive cocktail experiences, semi-private parties

Curious? Nurse Betty is a smaller bar packing a much larger punch than you’d think. Come for the craft cocktails, stay for the risqué burlesque performances and indulge in an atmosphere not seen by many. Since this is an intimate bar, I wouldn’t come in extremely large groups but rather close friends or a date.

3. Spitzer’s Corner

Spitzers Corner Lower East Side NYC
101 Rivington St / Click for directions

Best for: First drink of the night, last drink of the night

Located right near the center of the LES action, Spitzer’s Corner is a great bar to start or end the night. The layout gives room for large groups to sit down or singles to mingle standing up. Spitzer’s provides an extensive menu of beer but don’t be fooled, they also make a mean cocktail. With limited room, expect most of the crowd to be sitting at the long tables with a few people at the bar.

4. Two Bits Retro Arcade

Two Bits Retro Arcade Lower East Side NYC
153 Essex St / Click for directions

Best for: Cheap beer, arcade games, blowing off steam

Bzzzzz.. What’s that blue light over there? Peak in the window and you’ll find yourself trapped in retro video game heaven. Two Bits is conveniently located in the midst of all your LES activities and is a fine spot to take a breather. Enjoy cheap beer options (sometimes cash only) and an array of classic arcade games. Once you’re done destroying a few LES natives, get back out to another bar.

5. The Whiskey Ward

Whiskey Ward NYC
121 Essex St / Click for directions

Best for: Whiskey drinkers, low-key relaxation & vibes

If you’ve ever had The Whiskey Ward’s $10 LES sweet tea then you’d know why this bar is on the list. While not as rambunctious as most bars in the area, The Whiskey Ward offers a safe haven for whiskey enthusiasts to relax and unwind. With good music and free peanuts, you really can’t go wrong. This is the perfect place to relax with close friends and get a real drink from real bartenders.

6. Arlene’s Grocery

Arlene's Grocery
95 Stanton St / Click for directions

Best for: Live underground music, dancing in close quarters

While you could swing by after Pianos, we recommend you wait until later on in the night to venture into Arlene’s Grocery. This bar offers a unique experience with live rock & indie music in the basement and lively dancing in the front. Arlene’s brings in a the rock music crowd while offering drink & shot specials daily.

7. No Fun

No Fun Lower East Side NYC
161 Ludlow St / Click for directions

Best for: Having 0 fun(kidding), dancing to upbeat music

As you can tell from the picture, this bar just isn’t that fun.. No but really, it’s perhaps one of the most lively and fun bars around. If you’re into dancing and you love old and new EDM hits, you’re going to fit in just fine here. No Fun attracts the right type of crowd for letting loose and being yourself while remaining somewhat classy. That’s saying a lot!

8. Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog NYC
168 Orchard St / Click for directions

Best for: Large rowdy crowds, college & sports, last call

Where do we even begin? Bar goers tend to have a love/hate relationship with Hair of the Dog, but no matter how people feel, they always seem to end up here. HotD attracts a college-mentality crowd, but don’t be fooled: most aren’t actually in college anymore. This bar is known to attract all sorts of people and gets extremely crowded on the weekends. This opens the door for drinking, dancing, picking up and all-around shenanigans.

9. Hotel Chantelle

Hotel Chantelle LES NYC
92 Ludlow St / Click for directions

Best for: Comfy & sophisticated rooftop lounging, Sexy basement dancing

Three floors with three entirely different experiences. Hotel Chantelle captures a fun, sophisticated audience with multiple levels of attraction. Start your night off on the retractable rooftop and work your way to the basement as the night progresses. Every level offers a separate look, feel and sound that all work cohesively together to bring music and dance to your night out.

10. Loreley

Loreley LES Bar Hopping
7 Rivington St / Click for directions

Best for: German brews on tap

Loreley is a popular German beer garden in LES that has 12 beers on tap available in liter or half-liter steins. They serve german eats including schnitzel & bratwurst in an outdoor dining area that’s heated during the winter. Good crowd. Good beer. Good food.

11. Top Hops Beer Shop

Top Hops NYC
94 Orchard St / Click for directions

Best for: Specialty beers by the bottle or growler

Come for a beer tasting, special events or just grab their selection of 700+ beers to go in either a bottle or growler. Top Hops is all about the craft and the culture that has grown from this location is nothing but passionate. Not a seasoned beer geek? They’ll help you figure things out.

12. Attaboy

Attaboy Cocktail Bar NYC
134 Eldridge St / Click for directions

Best for: Intimate cocktails in industrial-style setting

Created by former Milk & Honey mixologists Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, Attaboy focuses on giving guests a unique cocktail experience every time they walk into the door. Their menu changes daily and custom cocktails are encouraged – tell them what you like and they’ll mix up something special just for you.

13. Mehanata

Mehenata Bar NYC
113 Ludlow St / Click for directions

Best for: Dancing, live music, crazy ice cage with vodka

There are two stories here but we recommend heading straight downstairs where you’ll find an ice cage & stripper poles. It’s a party here. They offer $20 unlimited flavored and regular vodka for 2 minutes in an ice cage (if you can last that long). Once you’re finished here, head upstairs to dance to a variety of music, including Bulgarian hits. They also offer some very unique, very risqué drink specials if you want to participate.

14. Marshall Stack

Marshall Stack NYC
66 Rivington St / Click for directions

Best for: Laid-back beer & small bites

No frills here. Marshall Stack is a local cash-only bar that focuses on the simple things—amazing craft beers, great bar food and an old-school jukebox. This is a beer and wine only joint so don’t expect to get liquored up but do expect to have a great time with good people.

15. Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home NYC
131 Chrystie St # 1 / Click for directions

Best for: Throwback Music & assorted knickknacks

Taxidermy and rock and roll. The decor and music might overwhelm the senses at first but you’ll quickly fall in love with this homey bar. We should mention the drink prices. Very cheap for the area which usually brings in a large crowd during the weekends – the rustic countryside decor might distract you from the crowd enough to make this place an LES favorite.

16. Mercury Lounge

Mercury Lounge NYC
217 E Houston St / Click for directions

Best known for: The launching pad for musical artists

Have a favorite Indie artist? Odds are they’ve played here before. Big or small, Mercury Lounge has been the launching pad for indie artists since the 90’s and continues to bring in amazing talent. They have a full schedule of artists performing online that we recommend you check out and don’t be afraid of checking out an artist you don’t know – that’s half the fun!

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