New York City’s West Village is a neighborhood steeped in history and culture, known for its charming tree-lined streets, historic brownstones, and an unrivaled atmosphere. Amidst this picturesque backdrop, you’ll discover some of the city’s most iconic and cherished watering holes. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the West Village’s best bars, where character and charm converge to create an unparalleled nightlife experience. From timeless pubs with a rich history to chic cocktail lounges and lively beer gardens, the West Village offers something for every discerning palate. Whether you’re a local resident seeking a new favorite haunt or a visitor looking to immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s unique charm, these West Village bars promise memorable moments, great company, and a taste of Manhattan’s quintessential charm.
Blind Tiger, near the Comedy Cellar, is one of the most fun places to get drinks, especially if you and your friends are beer fanatics. They have a wide, rotating craft beer selection, and the space is so cozy you’ll never want to leave. There’s even a fireplace!
The Garret is a visually striking cocktail bar with dark finishing and bright window lighting that creates the perfect contrast. I love going to enjoy craft cocktails like The First Lady or The Spicy Tequila Drink during the afternoon or early evening. Surprisingly to some, their main food item is a Five Guys burger, which I’m okay with! It always hits the spot.
Katana Kitchen, close to St Luke in the Fields Garden, is an amazing bar in West Village NYC due to its spacious bi-level seating areas and fanciful cocktails. I’m a fan of both dirty dive bars and elegant cocktail bars, and I feel like Katana Kitten somehow offers the best of both worlds. I recommend getting their highball, martini, or amaretto sour.
Near James J Walker Park, you’ll find LB, a cozy, underground cocktail den featuring a wide variety of thoughtful concoctions. Their menu is concise but mighty, and I’ve never had a bad drink here. The bartenders are also fun to chat with, and sometimes they have live jazz bands that complement the atmosphere in this low-lit, cash-only setting.
Anfora is another space with intentional moonlighting in West Village, across from Jane Street Garden. I love coming here for romantic dates, as they offer an extensive natural wine list and an ideal environment for intimate conversation.
This classic speakeasy needs no introduction, as it’s one of the most popular nightlife spots in all of NYC. Their legendary cocktails, like the Manhattan and the Martini, never disappoint. It also has a psychic outside the entryway who can give a reading for you, making it a truly unique night out! So if you’re searching for one of the top fun places to go out, head to Employees Only, near another legendary spot — the Friends Apartment.
The Otheroom, found on a quiet street near Christopher Street, is a dark and intimate bar serving plenty of wine and beer. I usually go for the wine, but they have a nice variety of cocktails like negronis. It’s not a huge or flashy place, but you’ll have to go for yourself to immerse in the good vibes.
Marie’s Crisis Café is, without a doubt, the best place to sing your heart out in NYC. This historic piano bar has been around since 1929 and is still going strong today. If you’re a musical theater lover, this is the place for you. It’s cash-only, so prepare both your vocal cords and your wallet for one of the most fun places to go out in West Village!
Julius’, found near The Stonewall Inn, is one of the oldest gay bars in NYC and has been around since 1864 (as a bar — earlier as. a grocery store), and caters specifically to mature males. The unpretentious atmosphere, juicy burgers, great jukebox selections, and proud history keep people coming back time and time again.
The Corner Bistro, located near the Hudson River Greenway, is one of the best dive bars in West Village. It’s no-frills, with cheap drinks and delectable, juicy burgers. It’s on the smaller side, so be prepared to get cozy with your fellow patrons. But that’s all part of the charm!
The Spaniard is a wooden, cozy bar near West 4th Street and 7th Avenue. It’s a great place to come for a low-key night out, with a wide selection of beers and a menu of American dishes. I’m a huge fan of the Smash burger, steak tartare, and everything on the brunch menu. They also have the best espresso martinis in the area!
White Horse Tavern is a tiny watering hole near Bleecker Playground that I like to go to for a relaxed drink or two. This bar is quite historic, originating in 1880 and still going strong to this day. It brought in writers in the past and now brings in a diverse, friendly crowd.
The Village Vanguard is a world-renowned jazz club that has been around since the 1960s. Located near NYC AIDS Memorial Park, it’s one of the top places to see a show in NYC and has hosted some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. This will surely become your go-to spot if you love live music, jazz trios, and well-made classic cocktails.
I love LELABAR, right by James J Walker Park, due to its visually-appealing oval shaped design, decadent charcuterie board, and extensive wine list with wines from all over the world. If you’re a wine, cheese, and meat fan like myself, don’t hesitate to check out this spot, especially during happy hour.
Bandits, on the corner of Bedford and Leroy, is an excellent choice for both burgers and cocktails (which I find is one of my favorite combinations of all time)! For the cocktail, I highly recommend trying their Purple Rain highball or the Lola Bunny, which includes toasted cumin seed. For the burger, you’d be remiss not to immediately order the Smash Burger upon arrival.
Hudson Bar and Books, near the Whitney Museum of American Art, is a great place to go for a classic cocktail or cigar. This spot has a charming, old-timey feel to it, with dark wood paneling and tufted leather banquettes. If you’re looking for a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC — and perhaps pretend like you’re reading a book while drinking a martini — this is it.
The Stonewall Inn is one of the most historic bars in NYC, having played a pivotal role in the gay rights movement, more specifically during the 1969 riots that launched the movement. Oftentimes, people call places “iconic” when they’re not, but that’s not the case here. The staff at Stonewall, which is intentionally located near the Gay Liberation Monument, is welcoming and inviting, the drinks are delicious, and the whole space makes you feel delightful.
Cubbyhole, on the corner of West 12th Street and 4th Avenue, is one of the best lesbian bars in NYC. This cash-only establishment is a great place to come for a lively night out, with a wide selection of bottles and cocktails and a chipper crowd even on a Monday.
Due West is a higher-end yet trendy bar and grill near the Stonewall National Monument. They have an excellent cocktail menu and play great music throughout the day, but especially at night.
As its name suggests, Hudson Hound is located near the Hudson River on Hudson Street. This pub is cozy by design and made even cozier with the inclusion of an indoor fireplace. It’s the perfect bar for wintertime drinks and hearty American-Irish comfort foods like Irish breakfasts and hamburgers.
If you don’t understand the big deal around “chic, modern, minimalist” design, then you’ll probably love the eclectic, kitschy look of Johnny’s Bar. It’s filled with bumper stickers, permits, and colorful lights, creating a unique and inviting atmosphere for those looking to have a good time. I recommend going with a few friends and ordering more than a few pints!
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 5 reputable blogs and websites, including theinfatuation.com, timeout.com, eva-darling.com, theculturetrip.com, and monaghansrvc.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.