The winter is ending, or so we fervently hope. To prepare ourselves, we’ve rounded up the best new bars, music venues, and other places to hang out once the weather warms up.
This winter, New York City sucked. You know it, we know it, and our grandmas in Russia and India both know it. Luckily, with the help of Netflix and Seamless, New Yorkers have finally made it through to the other side of the eternal snow flurries (we hope). Spring is starting to arrive, and we plan to soak up as much sun as our vitamin-D-deficient bodies can handle. To that end, we’ve scouted out the best recently opened hangouts that have outdoor spaces to enjoy in the warm weather. From the go-to downtown hotspot to where to take a first date, here are the places you should be once spring is in full gear. Don't forget to BYO mini cocktail umbrellas.
The Downtown Hotspot to See and Be Seen:
The Garden at The Standard East Village
The Standard has been known to revitalize neighborhoods time and time again. This East Village location is no exception. In a sea of 18-year-old NYU students, the hip hotel has opened a cultural hub for gallerists and creative professionals alike. This April, it will be debuting a new garden area. Decorated with inviting pastels, the space will have a laid-back atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to kick back for an hour or … three. The garden is also equipped with a service bar where food and drinks from Café Standard can be ordered. In true Standard fashion, the hotel will be planning a number of in-the-know events this coming spring.
Crowd: Hip hotel guests, downtown socialites, the ever-present DJs/models/actresses, and the New York unicorn: the artist who actually makes money.
The Music Venue:
If you're just walking by, you might easily mistake Radio Bushwick for just another hipster bar in the neighborhood. But, hiding behind the bar in the front room is a huge music venue that hosts a wide array of events, from live music to comedy shows. As if the space itself weren't impressive enough, Radio Bushwick will also be home to a live-streaming radio platform starting in July. The outdoor area is perfect for patrons looking to relax pre- or post-show.
Crowd: Eclectic mix of artists and Bushwick dwellers.
The Hipster Gastropub:
The Rookery, Bushwick
On entering this space, you may, for a moment, wonder if an English professor had a hand in assembling the decor: an oil painting, a stuffed peacock, and antique model ships line the shelves hanging over the bar. Fret not. The drinks here, like the Blackwatch (with Johnny Walker Black, creme de cassis, and Becherovka), are far from pedantic. In front is a spacious garden area surrounded by a wooden fence decorated with sparkling Christmas lights. It's the perfect place to while away a Sunday morning or a Friday night.
Crowd: Local foodies, post-grads, artists, groups of twentysomethings.
The Hotel Bar With a Killer View:
Bar 54, Times Square
Located on the 54th floor of the Hyatt Times Square, this is the bar that's hoping to make midtown cool again. With a cocktail program created by Julie Reiner of the Clover Club and bartenders who look as if they were imported from across the Williamsburg Bridge, Bar 54 just may succeed. The view here is the most stunning one on the list: perch on the balcony with a cocktail in hand (we recommend the Georgia Smash, made with Maker's Mark, creme de peche, and mint), and you'll be able to see Central Park, the World Trade Center, New Jersey, and Queens.
Crowd: A tame mix of hotel guests and the after-work crowd.
The Friendly Neighborhood Joint:
Northern Territory, Greenpoint
The owner, Jamie Toll, calls this his "gift back to the neighborhood," and it's hard to disagree. Decorated with an eye for the local—Brooklyn street artists created the designs on some of the walls, and Toll found the bathroom doors in local junkyards—Northern Territory is quiet and cozy, an antidote to some of the frat-like spots that have sprung up in the area in recent years. Head to the roof to take in the view of Manhattan across the river and order up a light, refreshing cocktail cooler or one of the meat skewers, a snack that's simple and comforting, much like Northern Territory itself.
Crowd: Brooklynites with families, couples on their fifth or sixth dates, friends living locally.
The Pick-Up Spot:
Battery Harris , Williamsburg
This Caribbean-themed restaurant/bar boasts one of the best weekend dance parties we’ve seen in a while. People. Get. Cray. If you're looking to dance your ass off all night, go here. If you're looking to talk to some really good-looking people, go here. If you are in the middle of a 3 a.m. Hail Mary to find someone to go home with, go here. The backyard has a cozy fireplace perfect for getting to know that hot stranger you’ve been eyeing all night. During the day, the restaurant serves some killer jerk chicken and tropical cocktails good enough to make you forget that the BQE is a block away.
Crowd: Brooklyn scenesters, normcore enthusiasts, graphic designers, Vice Media employees.
The Go-to First Date Spot:
Bonnie Vee, Lower East Side
Dim lights, 30s-style decor and an intimate backyard: thank us later for finding you the perfect place to take the girl or guy you want to impress. A behind-the-scenes team votes on all the cocktails here and makes them only with homemade, organic syrups. The backyard, which is scheduled to open in late April, will have table service and a fireplace. The cocktails change seasonally and the one we're most excited about for spring/summer is a version of the Jaeger Bomb, based on the original recipe: a combination of Jaegermeister and Fanta.
A quick history lesson to impress your date with during a lull in the conversation: according to Bonnie Vee’s owner, the story goes that the Jaeger Bomb was originally created when American soldiers found a dilapidated Jaegermeister factory in Nazi-occupied Germany, but couldn't stomach the potent drink on its own. Because Coca-Cola couldn't import its syrups into the country at the time, the soldiers combined the herbal liquor with Fanta, an orange-flavored soda. Voila! The early version of the now-legendary drink was born.
Crowd: Manhattanites tired of the scene-y parts of the Lower East Side, couples both old and new, and young professionals who appreciate a good cocktail.