Five of the Best New York Bars

From sleek hotel rooftops to gloomy speakeasies, we’ve pulled out five seriously hip watering holes favoured by the NYC fashion crowd...

MOST POPULAR

Upstairs at the Kimberly

145 East 50th Street; +1 212 702 1600

A lot of the best New York bars close for the autumn because they’re on rooftops, exposed to the elements. The Kimberly’s roof has a great bar – styled in copper metallics and lots of lush green plants cascading down walls – and has a retractable roof, so it stays open during the September shows, and beyond. It’s a wonderfully grown-up place to go for cocktails, accessible by express elevator from the hotel lobby, with views out onto the most beautiful skyscraper in the world, the Chrysler Building. When the roof is open, and the outdoor tables are lit by the glow from Midtown’s buildings and strings of fairylights criss-crossing overhead, this feels like the most romantic, and special places on Earth.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Death & Co

433 East 6th Street; +1 212 388 0882

This pitch-dark, speakeasy-style bar is one of the loveliest watering holes in Alphabet City. Weekends are rammed, but aren’t overly “bridge and tunnel”, and during Fashion Week, every night’s a party. The punch bowls, which serve six – or four very thirsty fashion editors – are a highlight from the cocktail menu, particularly the Valley of Kings variety, which mixes Scarlet Glow tea-infused Pisco, lime, pineapple, grapefruit and Champagne. They also have a very interesting list of drinks mixing exotic beers with spirits, as well as vintage classics, like the Rob Roy, blending whisky, vermouth, cherry juice and bitters according to a recipe that dates back to the 1890s.

MOST POPULAR

Bar Boulud

1900 Broadway; +1 212 595 0303

More a bistro than an actual bar per se, you can still drop by for a glass of something tasty from Burgundy or the Rhone Valley after a hard day on the fashion frontline. Bar Boulud is styled to look like an oversized wine cellar and it’s the closest “serious” bar and restaurant to the Lincoln Center tents. For the last two seasons, it’s been heaving with the couture corps, battling it out for a seat at the first-come, first-served bar at the front. If you’ve skipped lunch, then Daniel Boulud’s easy-dining menu of steak-frites and boudin blanc will be very tempting indeed. Last season they reported a record sale in French fries during Fashion Week, proving that the fashion crowd do, in fact, eat.

Indochine

430 Lafayette Street; +1 212 505 5111

After 27 years in business, this definitively downtown Vietnamese-French joint remains as popular with the fashion and downtown club crowd as ever. It was immortalised in the Warhol Diaries in the 1980s and in 2011 it’s a favourite for after-show fashion parties. To celebrate its 25th birthday in 2009, Rizzoli published a book of photographs from its two and a half decades, capturing the likes of Madonna and Grace Jones living it up in the bar, along with recollections by Salman Rushdie, Moby, Julianne Moore and Bob Colacello. To celebrate, the bar held a party, attended by Iman, Narciso Rodriguez, Diane von Furstenberg and Betsey Johnson. If that sounds exceptional, it shouldn’t – it’s just another night at Indochine.

The Mulberry Project

149 Mulberry Street; +1 646 448 4536

From the people who brought you Milk & Honey, GoldBar and Bagatelle, this unmarked Little Italy venue is one of the trickiest of all New York bars to find. As you’d expect, given its pedigree, the cocktails are excellent – there’s no menu, so just tell the barman what flavours float your boat, and he’ll mix something up, bespoke, accordingly. There’s a chalk-board at the bar, listing all the fresh fruits they have in that evening, waiting to be turned into a stiff tipple or two. Music ranges from Joy Division to Bob Dylan – don’t expect disco. This dark, sexy, decidedly Manhattan spot, with red and black graffiti-art on the walls and sweeping leather banquettes, has been one of the most talked about openings of 2011.

Like our pick of the best New York bars? Check out our fashion-focused New York guide, or see our selection of the best New York Fashion Week hotels.

To keep on top of what's happening at every fashion week show - from the latest reviews to the front row scenes - check out ELLEuk's catwalk section.

Read Next: