Just a few decades ago, if you were looking for a bar on the East Village, you were probably just seeking a warm-up spot before you got to the punk rock show. These days, however, the East Village—while still attractive to artists and bohemians—has a plethora of restaurants and drinking holes to suit the most sophisticated tastes. Professionals and business folk are no longer out of place on the Lower East Side, so next time you’re looking for a cool place to grab an after-work drink, you might want to consider one of the following East Village joints.
Sleek, chic and like stepping into a minimalist Paris café, Elsa is a great choice for after-work drinks in the village—especially if you go during daylight hours so you can enjoy the full glory of the huge skylight. In addition to the attractive décor and amazing cheese plate, the main pull at Elsa is the exceptional cocktail menu, featuring 18 signatures and three classics—some of which are served in mason jars! We particularly recommend The Broken Mirror, which is an exquisite concoction of absinthe, dandelion and burdock bitters.
This adorable bar has the same feel as a rustic cottage—all heavy wood and bare brick walls—which somehow makes the craft beer and excellent wine selection all the more delicious. What’s more, the menu here is both extensive and delicious, exhibiting an eye for detail and appealing to all appetites, whether you just need a small plate of pickles and pretzels, or a hearty sandwich. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, the chorizo, avocado and jalapeno pizza is a highlight.
After a long day of work, when life leaves you feeling like you’ve triumphed over a journey on the high seas, there’s only one place to go: William Barnacle Tavern. You’ll probably feel an overwhelming urge—thanks to the sailor-favoring interior—to sing a sea shanty while you drink your ale and sample one of the savory crepes on offer, but this cozy pub will transport you from the hub-bub of New York City life to a simpler time. If you’re not a fan of lanterns and model ships on the way in, you probably will be by the time you leave, on account of how endearing everything about this bar is.
The Blue Owl is a chic little basement lounge and bar, serving up an excellent range of olives, cheeses and charcuterie, as well as high-quality cocktails that are available for bargain prices during happy hour. Don’t leave without trying the Milkman’s Daughter: a refreshing combination of Maker’s Mark, peach bitters, peach nectar and sweet black tea, it’ll knock your socks off. The first time you go, the Blue Owl is a little tricky to find, but that just adds to this little bar’s allure.