(212) 406-0400, NYC
This speakeasy lounge tucked away in Chinatown is filled with a swanky, attractive crowd sipping drinks in a space filled with Victorian-era sofas and chandeliers. The vibe is decidedly Prohibition-era and dimly lit. The cocktail list is grouped into categories like pain killers, many made with whiskey; stimulants, with a heavy tequila influence; or aphrodisiacs, which highlights exotic ingredients like vanilla. Order a root of the earth, from one of the white lab coat “chemists,” a tasty blend of house-made beet Cognac reduction, rum, vanilla essence, agave nectar and lime. Wednesdays are their Prohibition Sessions-themed nights, visit their Facebook page for the month’s password to get in.
Southampton Social Club
(631) 287-1400, Southampton
Like most of the grand estates out east, tall hedges block nearly all of the views of the shingle-style structure that houses the Southampton Social Club and its red velvet rope entrance. Just inside the bar is situated amongst candle-lit tables in an open, airy dining room ringed in wainscoting. There an early 30s to 50s crowd, with jackets on the men and ladies dressed to impress, choose cocktail standards like the sidecar or the social cooler, a combination of house-infused jalapeño tequila, watermelon purée and lime. Weekdays are quieter (except for live music on Friday nights)—Saturday nights are for dancing to a dj playing a mix of house and hip-hop that gets people moving in the club’s back garden at around 10:30. Thursday’s happy hour all night long is a welcomed relief from typical Hamptons prices, where a cocktail can run about $16.
Jeremy’s Ale House East
(516) 623-0204, Freeport
Leave anything, make that everything, fancy and impressive that you may own at home; no one cares what you look like at Jeremy’s Ale House. An unapologetic dive—plastic tables and chairs punctuated with a paper towel roll in the center—that shines in the summer on the Nautical Mile, this local favorite provides a respite for sunburnt Jones Beach-goers looking to roll up their sleeves in front of fresh seafood while overlooking Freeport Harbor. Weathered by the elements, Jeremy’s is a good time for groups of friends looking to relax after a day at the beach while enjoying small or large tap beers (large is served in a Styrofoam 32 ounce cup). No cocktail list here but a liquor rack stocked with the makings of simple mixed drinks or shots.
(631) 751-0555, Stony Brook
Inside Stony Brook’s upscale Three Village Inn is the equally smart and comfortable Mirabelle Tavern, populated by a mix of couples out for dinner and groups of friends out for a few rounds. It once was a dark and outdated bar before being renovated into a contemporary gastropub with painted white woodwork and dark ceiling beams. The extensive beer selection includes Belgium dubbels, tripels and Trappists beers, like Orval and Rochefort, poured in sizes for sharing at large, communal tables. Musicians set up very close to the bar, so quiet conversationalists should head to the cozy outdoor courtyard and its smaller tables.