The city that never sleeps isn’t just about late-night shenanigans and 24-hour pizza; it also has a rich cocktail culture. These four bars are not only open until the wee hours, but they also serve up some of the most inventive and delicious frozen cocktails in town.
This retro-cool bar is never short on characters (or cocktails). The Happiest Hour is a modern-day dive bar that takes its inspiration from the speakeasies of the ’20s and ’30s. The drinks are classic, made with fresh juices and in-house syrups, but the vibe is anything but traditional. Hipsters gather around their cozy fireplaces on wintry nights, and others sip on cocktails inside their old-fashioned telephone booth. One of the most popular frozen drinks is “The Bumboat”—a blend of homemade strawberry puree with tequila or mezcal plus lemon juice or a shot of espresso. Another standout is the “Summer in New York,” which brings together gin, fresh grapefruit juice, and vanilla bean simple syrup.
After what feels like hours in the hot summer sun, you might need a drink to cool down. Luckily, that’s what Employees Only have to offer. The bar can be found inside the main location on West 50th St., but it also runs an outdoor spinoff for those who want something boozy without dining or dealing with the hectic party crowd. The frozen cocktails come in a range of creative flavors, from the “Watermelon Bandit”—Tito’s vodka, watermelon purée, and lime juice—to the “Crave-Mint Chocolate Chip”—made with Jameson Irish whiskey, simple mint syrup, and chocolate ice cream.
This laid-back spot in the heart of Harlem has known for its traditional cocktails as well as some surprising creations. One of the most interesting frozen drinks here has to be the “Caribbean Calypso,” made with coconut rum, pineapple juice, and apricot liqueur. The bar also has a flavor-of-the-week frozen drink, like the “Frozen Mojito”—a blend of rum, mint, and lime crème with peach juice. This place attracts the artsy set; music lovers will love their vinyl collection and street art decor. It’s also worth mentioning that Harlem Public is one of the few places in New York where you can get a proper Pimm’s Cup—an aperitif made with herbs, fruit, and liquor that originated in England.
4) The Penrose
This bar and restaurant are located on West 3rd St., right between NYU and the Meatpacking District, which makes it a great place to stop in for a nightcap after dinner. They don’t have a huge selection of frozen drinks, but their “Pineapple Express” is among the best you will find in New York—a blend of pineapple juice, rum, brandy, and orange liqueur. For something more adventurous, try their “Honey Badger”—a blend of coconut-infused vodka, lime juice, honey syrup, and ginger beer that will leave you feeling buzzed as well as refreshed.