You’ve been bar hopping so you know the gist: a madcap sprint through a string of frenzied pubs, beer halls and dives — best buds in tow, best suds in your glass. It’s proper fun when you’re looking for a weekend bacchanal. But if you’re looking to elevate your tippling game, how about a cocktail crawl?
Same basic concept — a progression of venues with a libation at each — but eschew the brews in favor of craft cocktails. It’s perfect for a discerning vacationer or a business traveler looking for a change of pace. In the vibrant neighborhood that surrounds Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York, an abundance of mixologists await, ready to shake, stir and pour up tasty concoctions. Allow us to guide you through the ideal cocktail crawl.
Subject, 188 Suffolk St
Start your night here, amid whimsical decor, glimmering strands of Christmas lights and a glorious fifties-era soda fountain filled with bespoke syrups and mixers on par with the spirits that adjoin in your glass. Want a booze-laden slushy? They’ve got the Matt Rushmore, with bourbon, ginger and hints of citrus. Like some serious peet? You’ll delight with a Smoke Signal, comprised of Campfire whiskey, Laphroaig 10, Vida mezcal, ancho chili reduction and housemade orange bitters.
Fools Gold, 145 E Houston St
Your next stop is this American whiskey bar, boasting more than 80 varietals of liquid gold. The ambiance is grand and the cocktail names are on-point. There’s the Traci! It’s 3:30 In The Morning!, a melange of vodka, citrus bitters, and soda, inspired “by a certain lady’s inability to cut herself off.” Or the Hello, a drinkable ode to Adele that you’re “guaranteed to enjoy a thousand times.” In that glass, Teeling Irish whiskey, earl grey tea, lemon and lavender.
Attaboy, 134 Eldridge St
NYC regulars recognize this beyond-cozy haunt as the formerly renowned cocktail haven Milk & Honey. Those owners moved on while their star mixologists stayed behind and became the proprietors. There’s no menu here. Simply give your barman a few spirits and flavors you enjoy and wait for a custom creation you’ll be championing on Instagram after your first sip.
Bonnie Vee, 17 Stanton St
Continue onward to the Vee, where scrumptious small bites and fun fare pair well with the complex signature drinks. Among the more popular is the Everling Ghost. Get ready for this combo: Barrel Hound scotch, St. George’s pear liquor, allspice dram, Guinness reduction, lemon, mole bitters and cinnamon. Unfurrow that brow; this sucker is delicious.
Schapiro’s, 120 Rivington St
Still standing? Good. Point those feet towards this quaint Jewish bar and restaurant, drop onto a comfy stool, and call for an Above Love Lane. You’ll get a bright and light drink, made with Avua cachaça, lemon and watermelon juices, Lillet blanc and Giffard Pamplemousse. While that last ingredient sounds fabricated, we assure you that’s a rather divine grapefruit liqueur.
Nitecap, 120 Rivington St
Is there a more perfectly named venue to close out your crawl? Unlikely. Opt for their genius honor bar, where you pick a spirit and drink as much as you’d like, priced by the finger. Or end with the Cuddle Buddy, a dark rum, brandy, Grand Marnier, cinnamon and cream dream, a perfect send off into blissful slumber.