Cool Down This Summer at These Downtown Bars
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000 https://www.sohogrand.com

Cool Down This Summer at These Downtown Bars

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It’s heating up in New York City, and there’s no better time than now to slip into an air-conditioned bar for a good cool cocktail. And there’s no place for bar hopping quite like Below 14th Street. Whether you’re looking to slurp gigantic frozen drinks under an intense neon glow in an ‘80s motel-themed bar or prefer rubbing elbows with an artsy, martini-sipping crowd in a rustic-chic watering hole, Lower Manhattan has you covered.

The River

Expect to mingle with in-the-know city dwellers and the downtown art and fashion worlds after passing through the swinging saloon doors of this impossibly hip hideaway. Open since 2022 and tucked away in Chinatown across from vibrant Columbus Park, art and design studio Green River Project designed this candlelit wood-paneled watering hole replete with a sweeping mural of the Hudson River, 1890s velvet drapery, and a mahogany bar. Bartenders outfitted in Bode work uniforms pour a range of classic and signature cocktails, such as the “Bull Shot” (vodka, beef broth, celery salt, lemon, Worcestershire, Tabasco) and “The Carrot Top” (carrot juice, jalapeño tequila, Cointreau). There’s great food too: small bites include devilled eggs, nuts, and olives, and sandwiches range from grilled cheese to smoked whitefish with dill and housemade tarragon pickles. 

102 Bayard St 

Motel No Tell 

Motel No Tell is a newly opened, zanily colorful retro motel-themed Alphabet City bar that doesn’t take itself seriously. Come to this unmissable corner spot at Avenue A and 13th Street (think: a big neon sign and a turquoise-painted entrance) for fun, frozen drinks like the strawberry daiquiri and piña colada combo AKA the “Miami Vice” and the very blue “Scuba Scuba” (tequila, lime, Blue Curaçaolue, Coco Lopez). Outfitted with disco balls, quirky neon signs, funky wallpaper, and vintage furniture, it’s the perfect, highly Instagrammable hangout for casual summer nights or rowdy celebrations. Plus, they serve brunch (omelets, avocado toast, fried chicken sandwiches) with outdoor seating, and host a killer happy hour Monday through Friday featuring $8 margs, select cocktails, and frozen drinks.

210 Avenue A; T. (646) 368-9775

 

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Gilligan’s 

The Soho Grand Hotel is home to several first-rate haunts including the opulently Art Deco-bedecked Grand Bar and Salon and the sumptuous, speakeasy-style The Club Room. But come summertime, Gilligan’s is the palm-fringed place to be—and to order chilled bottles of rosé. Go on and grab a seat under an umbrella at a picnic table at this laidback, beachy outdoor restaurant and bar, where you can enjoy their much-loved and Instagrammed frozen watermelon margaritas by the glass (or pitcher!) Feeling adventurous? Switch things up and try Gilligan’s newest frozen cocktail: the Limoncello Piña Colada. Ordering something from their seafood-centric food menu is a must. You can’t go wrong with the seafood tower—it’s sky-high, super fresh, and shareable, so don’t be shellfish. (Sorry, we had to.) 

310 W Broadway; T. (212) 965-3271

The Headless Widow 

If you consider yourself a discerning cocktail drinker but don’t want to deal with TikTok creators, head to the corner of 2nd Avenue and 6th Street where you’ll find The Headless Widow, and thank us later. The atmosphere and cocktails are excellent at this sophisticated yet underrated drinking den, where you can hang out at the bar or grab a candlelit, date-night-friendly table. We especially are fans of the summery “High Tea” (pear vodka, rose water, pomegranate juice, fresh lime) and the “Lip Gloss” (prosecco, amaretto, passion fruit). Plus, many of the beautifully-poured cocktails are served in equally beautiful glassware. There’s something for everyone regarding the fare, from oysters, escargot, and mussels to nachos, fries, and a classic NYC street vendor-style pretzel with cheesy jalapeño sauce. 

99 1st Avenue; T.  (917) 409-0446

 

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Superbueno 

Opened in early 2023, this neon-drenched Mexican-American-themed bar is a welcome addition to East Village’s ever-electric drinking and dining scene. As its name suggests, the already-lauded hotspot’s cocktails are super good. Inventive, flavorful drinks include a tangy green mango martini and a mole negroni. Then there’s the show-stealing “Mushroom Margarita,” made with huitlacoche AKA “corn smut” or “Mexican truffle,” a fungus that feeds off corn and is a delicacy in Mexico. It’s important to come hungry. Their tacos are to die for, especially the pan-seared swordfish tacos with green apple, fennel cilantro, and red pipián sauce. Be sure to bookend your meal with a salted plum brioche donut, filled with lemon curd, mascarpone cream, and a plum and tamarind compote. 

13 1st Avenue; (347) 866-7739

Hi-Note 

This vibey joint in Alphabet City hits all the right notes, and we’re not just talking about the music that plays all day from a DJ station. During the day, the intimate sunfilled space brings in downtown denizens who order lattes and tap away on MacBooks before transitioning to cocktails at night when the lights are dimmed and the music is turned up. Give your go-to margarita a break and opt for something off their refreshing spring/summer cocktail menu, such as Hi-Note’s tropical twist on the classic gin and tonic. Named the “Flamingo Splash,” the tasty tipple is made with watermelon and red bitters. Hungry? Evening bites include umami popcorn, marinated olives, and devilled eggs seasoned with a sprinkle of furikake. Tip: Make your way with your cocktail to their leafy backyard terrace, and experience a perfect summer night in the East Village. 

188 Avenue B 

WORDS Alex Catarinella 

FEATURED IMAGE Courtesy motelnotellnyc.com

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Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000 https://www.sohogrand.com
Best Rate Promise