Piano bar Silver Lining at the Moxy Hotel, New York

Piano bar Silver Lining at the Moxy Hotel, New York
© Michael Kleinberg / Photo provided

Where to drink on New York’s Lower East Side


The Lower East Side is home to one of the most exciting wine and cocktail scenes in all of New York.

Since the 1800s, New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood served a starting point for many immigrants’ American dreams. Within these crowded blocks, communities of German, Irish, and Jewish – and later Puerto Rican and Chinese – immigrants created one of the most vibrant New York City neighborhoods. This spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship persists today: walk around and you’ll see galleries, boutiques, and restaurants that showcase a new generation of creativity. It’s also home to one of the most exciting wine and cocktail scenes in all of New York. Here are the places to imbibe in New York’s Lower East Side.

A Quick Roadmap

The Lower East Side stretches from Houston Street (pronounced HOW-ston) to the North to  Canal Street to the South (although this is far from definitive) and Bowery to the West to the River to the East. The blocks between Houston to Delancey Street were, for a number of years, the epicenter of nightlife in the neighborhood (and given the rowdiness of patrons, nicknamed “Hell’s Square”). Now, much of the action has moved south of Delancey.

One particular pocket, where Division, Canal, and Orchard Streets intersect, is now called “Dimes Square” (New Yorkers love a micro-neighborhood). It’s received a lot of press for attracting young artists, creatives, and skateboarders. (Does it deserve the accolades? Depends on who you ask). The list below loosely follows a path from West to East and North to South.

Where to drink

Silver Lining, Moxy Hotel

Hotels have been mushrooming on the Lower East Side and The Moxy is one of the newest. Along with several restaurants, its piano bar, Silver Lining, is a good spot for a pre-excursion cocktail or a wind-down nightcap. Cocktails show a bit of flair when it comes to presentation; order the Benny’s Cinema, a cognac-based cocktail, and it comes with a little cone of popcorn clipped to the side. The sound system in the joint is excellent and here’s hoping they’ll start booking more performers that go beyond just playing covers of popular songs.

Double Chicken Please

What started a pop-up cocktail bar out of a roving VW minibus is now ranked the No. 6 Bar in the World by “World’s 50 Best Bars,” an accolade that also makes Double Chicken Please the best bar in the U.S. The space is divided in two; the more casual front room features cocktails on tap but it’s the back room where you can experience true cocktail mastery. One sip of the food-inspired Waldorf Salad (Dewar’s 15 yr, Laphroaig 10 year, apple, celery, walnut bitters), or Cold Pizza (Don Fulano Blanco, Parmigiano Reggiano, burnt toast, tomato, egg white) and you’ll see why reservations are essential. And yes, they serve chicken sandwiches.

Gem Wine

Flynn McGarry opened Gem, a tasting menu restaurant, in 2018 when he was just 19, but had already been cooking professionally since he was just 13. Old age might be mellowing him out; for his follow-up project, he opted to go casual with this wine bar. The focus is on low-intervention winemakers and a rotating selection of small plates. Make a snack of it, or a whole night.

Orange Glou

Not a bar per se, but Orange Glou is New York’s – possibly the country’s – only wine shop devoted to skin contact (a.k.a. orange) wine. Owner Doreen Winkler regularly hosts ticketed events throughout the year, so it’s worth checking the calendar to see if there’s an opportunity to sip some of the shop’s offerings.

Somm Time Wine Bar

Somm Time on Broome Street is a mecca for wine industry professionals. On any given night, you’ll find winemakers, wine media, off-duty sommeliers, and more hanging out with neighborhood regulars. The focus is on small producers from both well-known and emerging wine regions and the sizable by-the-glass list rotates often. Want to settle in with a bottle? You’ll find rare gems like a still white wine from the Champagne region. Maria Rust runs the wine program while her wife, Angie, is in charge of the kitchen. It’s inevitable that when the scent of the cacio e pepe pizza fills the air, there will soon be one on every table.

Ten Bells

If one could trace the rise of natural wine in New York, the road would most likely lead to Ten Bells, which opened in 2008 and was one of the first to feature low-intervention producers. While it’s far from an anomaly in today’s current wine bar culture, Ten Bells is still incredibly popular. It’s dark, it’s sexy, and it’s crowded — it’s a vibe. Grab a bottle from the regularly updated list and weave your way to one of the back tables in the cave-like space.

Skin Contact

Owner Eben Lillie grew up in the wine world; his father co-founded Chambers Street Wines – one of the city’s first shops dedicated to small producers and low-intervention wines – decades ago. This same ethos carries through in the selections at this cozy Orchard Street spot. Don’t be fooled by the name: whites, reds, rosés, and bubbles get equal billing on the wine list.

Reception Bar

Former options trader Katie Rue’s Korean heritage influences every aspect of her bar, from the decor to the cocktails at this perennially crowded Orchard Street favorite. Most of the drinks use soju—a Korean distilled spirit—as a base, and the bar infuses the liquor with flavors often found in Korean cuisine. Compared to other cocktail bars in New York, Rue keeps the prices of the drinks accessible.

Swan Room

Neighbors closely watched the renovation of the Jarmulowsky Bank, a historic Beaux-Arts building, over the past couple of years, and what emerged is Nine Orchard, one of the newest and trendiest hotels to open on the LES. Its cocktail bar, the Swan Room, is a true stunner, with its arched and ornate ceiling, elegantly upholstered banquettes, and one of the most exciting cocktail lists in a city awash with mediocre or unbalanced concoctions. Drinks change seasonally: the Alla Verde, a summertime favorite, came garnished with a sweet peas.

Le Dive

Are you in Paris? It’s a mistake easily made at Le Dive, a bistro and wine bar that opened this past summer. Quaffable wines by the glass and bottle and an artichoke that’s not to be missed (yes, you can pair artichokes and wine) compensate for the often-long wait for a table. In the summer, Le Dive takes up extensive sidewalk real estate with a large outdoor seating area. There’s no better New York moment than sipping wine at Le Dive under a setting sun.


This emerald-green jewel box of a wine bar that opened over the summer is an extension of Parcelle wine shop. Although they have a well-curated selection of by-the-glass offerings, the move here is to order bottles from their extensive list. If you like what you drink, you can even order it for home delivery the next day.

The Dancer

Behind an unmarked red door next to a Subway sandwich shop is The Dancer, from the same owners as Eastwood, a neighborhood wine and beer pub located on the corner. The Dancer has some of the same “everyone knows your name” vibe as its sibling (you can even get Eastwood’s beloved fries here), but the focus is on seasonal and classic cocktails. Don’t miss the rotating daily special.

Shana Clarke
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