Chinatown is home not only to the best dollar dumplings in NYC and moderately believable knock-off bags, but also some damn good cocktails. If you make it past the droves of tourists, open air fish markets and novelty keychains on the way, reward yourself with a visit to one of the borough’s best bars for a quick pick-me-up.
9 Doyers Street
Hidden in the middle of the unassuming Doyers Street is Apothéke, an intimate yet unpretentious speakeasy with one of the most inventive cocktail menus in NYC. Apothéke doesn’t have bartenders; it has mixologists. It doesn’t serve cocktails; it serves elixirs. Ranging from $16-$18 a potion, expect unique absinthe preparations, the use of egg whites for froth and the muddling of fresh ingredients like rosemary, ginger root and cilantro. Expect live music after 10 p.m. and burlesque on Wednesday nights.
79 Baxter Street
Whiskey Tavern is an old school, pickleback-slinging, throwback-music-blasting, divey sports bar, catering to the professional after work crowd and hipsters alike. With delicacies like mozzarella sticks, wings, cheap beer and obviously whiskey, Whiskey Tavern is the perfect bar to relive your college glory days over a round of beer pong. A hangover comes free with every purchase.
138 Division Street
If you have ever found yourself searching for the perfect neighborhood Chinese-inspired taco stand/surf shop/beach bar, look no more. Forgetmenot, a quirky bar in the heart of Chinatown serves an eclectic menu to match its decor, offering everything from Jamaican beer to greek pitas to po’boys to tacos. We hear the service isn’t anything to write home about, but the seasonal watermelon margarita is.
Hotel 50 Bowery NYC, 50 Bowery
One of the newest rooftops to open in Lower Manhattan, the Crown has all the makings of a decent rooftop bar — dope view, good cocktails and a chic interior. Paying homage to its neighborhood, the Crown integrates Asian-inspired decor with signature drinks like the Thai Basil Margarita, the Black Dragon Tea (vodka, oolong tea) and the East India (gin, pimm’s, lemongrass, cucumber, lime). We hear the bouncers are no-nonsense, so despite the reputation of the neighborhood, come dressed to impress.