Food & Drink | February 25, 2020 10:16 am

The 8 Best “Non-Bars” for Grabbing a Drink in NYC

Museums, record stores, barber shops and more

Public Records
Public Records

So you fancy a drink.

On those those days when you’re not keen to battle bouncers and velvet ropes or crawl into a dirty dive where the bathroom is graffiti’d with the hopes, dreams and obscenities of various New Yorkers, we’ve got just the ticket. 

Hiding all over the city, in the back corners of everything from record shops to bespoke menswear ateliers, you’ll also find some of the city’s most underrated bars. They may not be the places you immediately think of when you want to grab a drink, but that’s kind of the point: they’re often quieter, less cramped, and ideal for sipping on a cocktail while flipping through a magazine, catching up on emails or hosting a quick meeting.

Below, you’ll find eight such establishments: our favorite “non-bars” around New York, each of them perfect for seeking out a much-needed dram with a little less drama. 

Etiquette Space
Williamsburg, Brooklyn 

One part chill work space for freelancers, one part coffee shop and one part perfect place to grab a glass of wine, Etiquette is like an extension of your living room. They even have a usable bed for a little nap sesh if needed. From Williamsburg hospitality mavens Four Happy Men, it’s a seriously sweet spot to clear out your inbox, throw a record on their player and kick back with a fine vino. 

53 Broadway, Brooklyn

Etiquette Space

Blind Barber 
East Village 

The famed, friendly two-chair chop shop. Pop in for a cut and shave. Stay for a drink and shoot it with the B.B. crew.

339 East 10th Street

RPM Underground 
Theater District 

Without liquid courage would karaoke even exist? Likely not. But this 11,000-square-foot pop culture haunt takes swill and song to the next level with their 18 private rooms and ultra-unique record store. 

246 West 54th Street

RPM Underground

Michael Andrews Bespoke

Tucked away on Great Jones is a top-notch suitery with a very well-appointed bar. Pull up a seat with founder and “recovering lawyer” Michael Andrews and snag a fine scotch while poring over the finest textiles a lad or lass (yep, they do bespoke for women) can shake a tape measure at. 

2 Great Jones Alley

Public Records
Gowanus, Brooklyn 

Ambitious, experimental and very awesome, this hi-fi “listening bar” doubles as, well, a bar bar, an all-day vegan cafe and a performance space. A welcome addition to the trend following the West Village’s Tokyo Record Bar and Bushwick’s Elsewhere, Public Records is your oyster for satiating that whimsical thirst for sound and suds alike. 

233 Butler Street, Brooklyn

The bar at new Gowanus hangout Public Records (Public Records/Instagram)

Untitled at the Whitney 

For a more cultural affair, drop into the epic Whitney for a stroll through the galleries followed by light bites and wine at the museum’s breezy cafe on the eighth floor. And for those old school New Yorkers who still oddly refuse to travel below 14th, hit up the Met. 

99 Gansevoort Street

Broadway Bar, Clubhouse Bar & Shoe Bar
Central Park South

As if the bragging rights of occupying the Billionaires’ Row Central Park Tower — currently the world’s tallest residential building — weren’t enough, there’s more. Tucked away in the building’s freshly opened seven-story Nordstrom are a couple fanciful stop-offs for a cocktail, plus one just for the gents — the Clubhouse Bar — across the street. Within the main store, Broadway Bar is a cocktails and small plates eatery on the third and fourth floors, while Shoe Bar is quite literally that: a cocktail lounge on the shoe floor. 

225 West 57th Street

The Clubhouse Bar at the Nordstrom Men’s store in New York
George Chinsee/WWD


Driving and drinking are supposed to be sworn mortal enemies. So if you’d told us five years ago that people would be sipping martinis in a glorified car dealership, we’d have given you the high eyebrow. But now there’s INTERSECT, a rotating culinary concept and event space a la Lexus that hosts temporary restaurants from some of the world’s greatest chefs. It’s a great option for snagging a cocktail while ogling the car for which you wish you had to collect parking tickets just so you can get stuck in 20 hours of traffic trying to get out to the Hamps three months a year. 

412 West 14th Street