8 Sexiest New Cocktail Lounges

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    New York swells with both historic, beer-dispensing watering holes and bustling restaurants turning out immaculate cocktails. But sometimes it’s a sexy, low-lit lounge where you crave to while away the evening. We sampled lounges — and cocktails — around the city to track down the finest new spots, from a stogie-friendly rooftop hideaway to a crimson-walled underground boîte. Cheers!

    Lobby bar at New York Edition (Photo: Edition Hotels)
    Lobby bar at New York Edition (Photo: Edition Hotels)

    Lobby Bar at the New York Edition
    The landmarked circa-1909 building that was erected to house the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company has now morphed into the sleek New York Edition hotel overlooking Madison Square Park. The neutral-hued Lobby Bar, punctuated by a burst of emerald and a vintage mirror, is a seductive spot to meet for a Dill or No Dill, in which the namesake herb is married with gin, cucumber, elderflower cordial and beechwood smoked Italian salt. After aperitifs at the backlit showpiece bar, climb the spiral staircase for ox cheek mac and cheese at the Clocktower. 5 Madison Ave., editionhotels.com

    The stairs to the secretive Abajo bar beneath Anejo (Photo: Abajo)
    The stairs to the secretive Abajo bar beneath Anejo (Photo: Abajo)

    Añejo
    At the bottom of Añejo, the second outpost of chef Angelo Sosa’s Mexican restaurant in Tribeca, awaits a cocktail den — open only on Fridays and Saturdays — called Abajo. Tequila libations, which bring to the forefront such exotic ingredients as peppercorn shrub and a garam masala and tangerine cordial, are naturally the star of the speakeasy. But the presence of a DJ booth and fried guacamole offer other compelling incentives to descend into the graffiti-accented room. 301 Church St., abajonyc.com

    The St. Cloud atop the Knickerbocker Hotel (Photo: Paul Warchol/The Knickerbocker)
    The St. Cloud atop the Knickerbocker Hotel (Photo: Paul Warchol/The Knickerbocker)

    St. Cloud
    Hectic, packed-to-the-gills Times Square may not immediately conjure luxury, yet it abounds at St. Cloud atop the Knickerbocker. John Jacob Astor’s revamped hotel now sports a rooftop bôite lush with greenery and VIP “sky pods.” Following classic tipples like the Blood and Sand and one of Charlie Palmer’s Wagyu hot dogs, light up in the welcoming, hazy Nat Sherman cigar lounge. 6 Times Square, theknickerbocker.com

    Evening bar at The Smyth (Photo: The Smyth)
    Evening bar at The Smyth (Photo: The Smyth)

    Evening Bar at the Smyth Hotel
    While the lobby of Tribeca hotspot the Smyth Hotel is a vibrant perch in its own right, it’s the inconspicuous Evening Bar that encourages canoodling. Inside this tucked-away space is an alluring four-panel frieze mural capturing neighborhood scenes, as well as an array of mid-century Scandinavian furniture. Order the savory Stoop Kid (mezcal, Suze, Ommegang Witte, lemongrass, grapefruit, guajillo chile salt rim) and gaze at the fireplace with gratitude knowing it will become part of the forthcoming winter’s escape plan. 85 W. Broadway, eveningbar.com

    Shorty, downstairs from Jacques (Photo: Shorty)
    Shorty, downstairs from Jacques (Photo: Shorty)

    Shorty
    Local artwork graces the crimson walls of basement bar Shorty, the Nolita newcomer adjacent to French eatery Jacques 1534. Providing cool reprieve from the sultry summer streets are such drinks as the Strawberry Shrub (vodka, amaro, tarragon, balsamic, cracked pepper, citrus), a quenching route to washing down a crackling tarte flambé. 20 Prince St., jrgnyc.com

    The bar at Porchlight (Photo: Paul Wagtouicz/Courtesy of Porchlight)
    The bar at Porchlight (Photo: Paul Wagtouicz/Courtesy of Porchlight)

    Porchlight
    A wander through West Chelsea’s myriad galleries should wind down at Southern-tinged Porchlight, where snacking on smoky beef jerky is followed up with an Exit to Eden (aquavit, yellow Chartreuse, green bell pepper, lemon, salt). For an old-timey throwback, take to one of the hypnotic rocking chairs on the indoor porch. 271 11th Ave., porchlightbar.com

    The Up & Up (Photo: The Up & Up)
    The Up & Up (Photo: The Up & Up)

    Up & Up
    Leave the rest of MacDougal Street to those raucous NYU students, and find salvation at the Up & Up, a dark underground retreat cloaked in glam William Morris wallpaper. Here, savor a bracing Jennifer Kidd (rum, St-Germain, Campari, lemon juice, honey) and a round of pork rillettes at one of the diminutive tables. 116 MacDougal St., upandupnyc.com

    Slowly Shirley (Photo: Courtesy of Slowly Shirley)
    Slowly Shirley (Photo: Courtesy of Slowly Shirley)

    Slowly Shirley
    When the Happiest Hour opened in the West Village, the combination of a hefty burgers, easy-to-drink highballs and a breezy beach resort vibe instantly appealed to revelers of all stripes. Then, 1940s-inspired Slowly Shirley made its debut downstairs. Fancier folks suddenly have an Art Deco playground decked out with a terrazzo floor where they can sip the likes of a jasmine-scented Fu Tang Cobbler melding genever, Scotch and apricot liqueur. Bogie and Bacall surely would have ensconced themselves in a deep scarlet-colored banquette. 121 W. 10th St., happiesthournyc.com

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