Jose’s Favorite Cocktail Bars in Midtown
After a long day at the office or a hectic day of travel, there’s nothing more satisfying than sipping a well-made cocktail. And there’s no better place to enjoy one than a cocktail bar in New York. Mixology is a modern-day art form, and the city’s bartenders are the elite craftsmen of their trade. Here, Jose Gonzalez shares his favorite cocktail bars in Midtown Manhattan.
Q: If you could go anywhere for a drink in Midtown, where would you go?
A: Juniper, hands down. It’s conveniently located near busy areas like Times Square and Penn Station, but it manages to be low-key. Juniper’s drink menu changes seasonally, and their summer cocktails are some of the best I’ve ever had. My favorite is the Hath No Fury, a mixture of vodka, muddled watermelon, and watermelon wheat beer.
Q: Speaking of summer, do you have any rooftop bar recommendations?
This summer, my go-to is Bar SixtyFive. It sits on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center, adjacent to the iconic Rainbow Room restaurant. Bar SixtyFive is the highest outdoor terrace bar in New York City. Both the cocktails and the city views are just incredible. There’s nothing like watching the sunset from one of the most prestigious addresses in the world, vodka martini in hand.
Q: Who makes exceptionally creative cocktails?
A: Definitely Vitae. They have a drink called Midnight Train that’s made with rum, verdelho, orgeat syrup, lemon, and egg white. There’s another, the Southbound Sazerac, that’s made with tequila, Peychaud’s bitters, mole bitters, and clove rinse. Creative, right? Both go down very smoothly.
Q: Any great cocktail bars that also serve great food?
A: Yes! In fact, I’ll do you one better. Bea in the Theater District is a triple threat: they mix craft cocktails, they serve delicious food, and they take reservations. For drinks, I recommend the Lavender Monk, made with lavender-infused vodka and ginger beer, or the Anything Goes, made with beach plum gin and pomegranate syrup. For dinner, regulars rave about the Tuna Tar Guac and the Green Pasta.
Q: Locals and out-of-towners alike enjoy the thrill of a “secret” bar or speakeasy. Any you like to frequent?
A: My favorite “secret” bar is hidden in plain sight. It’s tucked away within the walls of one of the city’s most high-traffic areas: Grant Central Station! The Campbell is a grand speakeasy with a storied past. In the last century, it’s served many functions: office of the New York Central Railroad’s Board of Directors John W. Campbell, music recital hall, signalman’s office, storage. It was even a jail at one point. The space was eventually converted into a bar, and just underwent renovation under new management. You can’t go wrong ordering a classic Manhattan there. Check out the Campbell the next time you’re in Midtown — if you can find it!