25 Best Bourbon Bars In NYC

Bourbon has long been known as a drink of the people, accessible to the common folk after a long, hard day's work in the mines. For years this made it possible to purchase bourbon for a reasonable price.

All this has changed. Bourbon, a subcategory of whiskey that legally must be made with at least 51% corn, typically sold for well under $100 a bottle up until only about ten years ago, with most high-brow buyers opting for Scotch instead. But the humble American bourbon is so sought after now that it has even become the subject of major heists, including a case in Virginia last year where a man sold confidential information about a Bourbon sale for $400 a pop, according to the New York Times. In other words, bourbon has come a long way, both in price and in quality, and we can name a few great bourbon bars in New York City that prove it.

Kings County Distillery

One of the best places to sample any spirit is right at the distillery. This is especially true for Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn. It is New York City's largest and oldest distillery, and it makes all sorts of whiskeys, counting a straight bourbon, a blended bourbon, and a peated bourbon among its most prized creations. The distillery has won a long string of awards for its craft, including the International Whiskey Competition in 2017, where it took home the prize for best bourbon bottled-in-bond.

Sample all this and more at the distillery's tasting room, where you can order flights of different bourbons, including the celebrated barrel-strength limited edition bourbon and a series of seasonal cocktails made with the distillery's own spirits.

Van Brunt Stillhouse

Another great distillery visit is the Van Brunt Stillhouse in Red Hook. This is considered a "farm distillery" because it sources its raw materials from a single farm located in Ithaca. Another draw is that these materials are invariably organic, free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Because if you're going to drink straight bourbon, a potent form of alcohol, it better be organic.

Give it a try by heading to the tasting room and cocktail bar, or by booking a tour of the distillery itself. For the best bourbon experience try the Flagship Whiskey Flight with as many additions as you can handle, or a Classic Whiskey Ginger cocktail with Van Brunt Bourbon, ginger syrup, cardamom bitters, and ginger beer.

Brandy Library

This spot is ideal for sipping bourbon the proper way: quietly with a few friends. This is probably why the bar is only open to those 25 and older, to diminish chances of malarkey, and to groups of six people or less. Equally, the bar doesn't allow for standing room — there should be a seat for every guest in the room.

This rarefied atmosphere helps set the tone for the equally rarefied bourbon selection that lines the walls. According to the Whiskey Reviewer, Brandy Library has one of the largest selections of whiskey in New York, including a number of limited edition Kentucky bourbons. If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry. The staff are highly knowledgeable and can help you navigate the enormous menu of spirits and cocktails.


Whether you're looking for a straight-up, affordable bourbon or a bourbon-based cocktail, this place will have it. On the menu, you will find solid, known bourbons like Maker's Mark and Knob's Creek, along with a few premium brands.

Come for Happy Hour and start the evening off with an Old Fashioned, or splurge on the My Dear Julius, an inventive blend of bourbon, Damson plum liqueur, lemon, cinnamon, maple syrup, whiskey barrel aged bitters, orange bitters, and egg whites. And don't forget to line your stomach with thoroughly competent farm-to-table bar fare. The tomato and cress pizza should do the trick, or if you have a sweet tooth, the caramel bread pudding will make an excellent accompaniment to any bourbon drink.

The Flatiron Room

With locations in NoMad and Murray Hill, this bar has been rated America's best bourbon bar by the Bourbon Review. In true bourbon fashion, the place hosts live jazz performances every night, so you can sip your drink while imagining that you're actually on Bourbon Street.

The place serves more than just bourbon and boasts of having a curated list of spirits in every category, designed to span the gamut of all possible individual tastes. And the kicker is that if you find something you love, you can purchase the bottle as part of the "bottle keep program," have the bar store it for you in a specially dedicated locker, and savor it every time you visit.

Travel Bar Brooklyn

Travel Bar is a place for those who love to travel but can't right now. Instead, they can head here and sample whiskeys and other spirits from all around the world. Or they can stay local with one of the bar's premium bourbons, some of which are distilled in New York state.

The menu is truly extensive, but don't spend too much time on it. Jump right in and start trying a few bourbons or check out the inventive bourbon-based mixes on the cocktail menu. If barrel aging is your thing, go for The Ambassador, an in-house barrel-aged cocktail made up of Buffalo Trace Private Barrel Bourbon, Dubonnet Rouge, Nux Walnut Liqueur, and Lazzaroni Amaretto aged 90 days in a 15 Gallon Kings County Distillery Barrel.

Employees Only

This bar was voted one of the best in the world by the prestigious World's 50 Best Bars judges, so anything you get here is probably going to be good. But since we're talking bourbon, you'll want to look at the extensive list of vintage whiskeys. And since you're in a fancy place, be sure to try one of the bar's self-described "fancy cocktails," among which you will find the Yankee Notions, a concoction of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon stirred with Rainwater Madeira and chamomile cordial.

While you're here, have a snack, because the food is just as fancy as the drinks. The bone marrow poppers are a casual way to eat this superior ingredient, while you can't go wrong with the truffle grilled cheese.


If you can't get into Employees Only, which is quite possible, head over to Analogue, which is led by the same team. They have more than 300 whiskies on the menu, including a staggeringly long list of bourbons, with vintage varieties.

Enjoy the dimly lit, vintage surroundings while listening to live jazz and sipping the bar's signature drink, the Dark and Stormy with a splash of bourbon. And if you want to make the most of your bourbon night, try the Last Wish, which combines two bourbons (Butter-Washed Old Forester Bourbon and Old Forester 100* Bourbon) with Amaro Montenegro, Shiitake Mushroom Demerara, and orange bitters. Or simply order your favorite cocktail with your own choice of bourbon.

The Penrose

There may not be a lot of bourbon bars on the Upper East Side, but quality is what matters, and that's where the Penrose comes in. Come for the lengthy selection of bourbon, which may, at times, include a rare 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle, and stay for the cocktails made with house-made soda. 

And no matter what time of day you choose to patronize this delightful establishment, you will not be disappointed when it comes to food. They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and a late-night menu, in that order. Basically, all the meals. The fare is classic American comfort food, but you can also find plenty of healthy options on this locally-sourced menu, including the blistered shishito peppers.

The Bell House

If you're looking for bourbon and a concert, this is the place to be. The Bell House is primarily a music venue housed in a former Brooklyn warehouse — you know, the usual. But what's not usual is the extensive bourbon list that goes with it. You can sip your drink while bopping your head to live music, or you can retreat to the lounge area and sink into a chair to nurse your beverage.

To maximize your experience check out the website for their list of upcoming concerts. Unlike many other bourbon-focused establishments, you don't have to restrict yourself to jazz. Here you can pair bourbon with anything from hip-hop to Taylor Swift. This is definitely not your average bourbon bar, but it works.

The Richardson

Some bourbon bars don't look the part. Others embody the spirit of the drink with every chair, wall, and decor item. The Richardson does exactly that. A self-described "proper American bar," this establishment eschews frills and focuses on quality. The bourbon list is a different matter, though. The menu includes rare bourbons, including some elusive Pappy Van Winkles, The Richardson's own single barrel collection, and a plethora of "proper" American whiskies.

The cocktail menu uses these bourbon selections to great effect. Russell's Island contains coconut Campari, sweet vermouth de chambéry, and The Richardson's 110-proof private barrel bourbon, while the Old Fashioned comes with its demerara cube, angostura, and 101-proof bourbon, and is a Richardson tradition.

Dear Irving

This themed bar has four different rooms in which to sip your bourbon. You can hark back to the French Revolution in the opulently decorated Marie Antoinette room, recall the tumult of the 1960s in the JFK room, enjoy the decadence of Art Deco in the Gatsby room, or experience the bygone days of velvet furniture in the Lincoln Room. Hopefully without meeting the same end as any of these state leaders (and one fictional character).

Indeed, this is not likely, as you won't even have to get up during your stay. Each table has access to a handy order button. Simply press it, and your server will appear with your preferred choice of bourbon, cocktail, or wine.

The Dutch

There may not be many cocktails on the list at this Andrew Carmellini tavern, but they're all delicious and worth a try. The Ten Year Old Fashioned contains Widow Jane 10 Year Straight Bourbon and house bitters, and is the ideal go-to bourbon cocktail. But the selection of bourbon doesn't stop there, so don't be afraid to ask for the spirits menu and order yourself a nice Smooth Ambler 'Contradiction' or a Wilderness Trail 'Bottled in Bond.'

And since this is an Andrew Carmellini restaurant, after all, you better not leave without trying the food. The hot fried chicken in honey butter will please just about anyone, while the grass-fed double cheeseburger is ideal for closing out an evening of drinking bourbon.

67 Orange Street

This black-owned bar in Harlem has a whole section of the cocktail menu dedicated just to whiskey drinks. And that's not including their classic cocktails, which include crowd-pleaser Kentucky Blossom, made with Old Forester Bourbon, Appleton Signature Rum, fresh lemon juice, cinnamon, and honey blossom syrup.

But this place has more to offer than just bourbon. In fact, it's somewhat of a pioneer: when it opened in 2008, it was one of the only craft cocktail lounges in Harlem. The surrounding culture was not so accustomed to $13 cocktails, no matter how good. But the thing is, they were good, and they remain so, because 67 Orange Street is still going strong despite a great recession and a pandemic.


This bar in Williamsburg was named the best neighborhood bar by Liquor.com and it's easy to see why. The atmosphere is convivial and fosters a distinctive community vibe, with regular events where locals gather to listen to music, watch stand-up comedy, eat good food, and mingle with their neighbors in a city where most people don't even know the person living in the apartment next door.

But the main idea behind this space was to serve good food alongside good booze, and Ba'sik has achieved that. Poppa's Pride, a cocktail that mixes bourbon, mint, lemon, ginger, soda, and bitters is a big-time favorite, while the food features house-made pesto sammies and a thoroughly satisfying hot dog with chili and cheese.

Fort Defiance

The owner at Fort Defiance previously lived in New Orleans, so southern drinks are a mainstay here, though they also serve local, New York bourbon, such as that of Kings County Distillery. But the real showstopper here is the bourbon and milk punch, which is ideal for cold, winter days, or if you need a little helping hand in falling asleep at night.

The food is also nothing to scoff at. The egg sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit is light and airy, and the deviled eggs, paired with chives, dill, and capers, should always be made that way, everywhere. And before you leave, be sure to stop at Fort Defiance's general store to pick up some fresh produce delivered directly from Hudson Valley farms.

Fette Sau

We can all agree that one of the best foods to pair with bourbon is good, old-fashioned Texas BBQ, and Fette Sau is on it. The bourbon list is so long that you might get hungry while working your way through it, so be sure to order some free-range chicken wings while you peruse. Once you've chosen your drink, dig into the Duroc Pork Ribs, which are smoked in-house, or the Black Angus beef brisket with the house-made dry rub blend.

The ambiance is also suitably Texan. The bar stools have been molded from John Deer tractor seats, while the rest of the decor leans into the building's auto shop roots, complete with industrial cement flooring.

Maison Premiere

Although known for its absinthe, Maison Premiere also boasts a quality bourbon list and recalls the atmosphere of Bourbon Street itself with the replica of an absinthe fountain from a well-known saloon on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Not only that, but Maison Premiere has been named 39th on the list of top 50 bars in North America by North America's 50 Best Bars, a subcategory of the World's 50 Best Restaurants classification. 

Sip your bourbon with any of the delicious food items on the menu, but for a true Maison Premiere experience, spend some time on the oyster menu. There are no fewer than 25 different types of oysters, always properly shucked, and that's not including the various clam offerings. 

Inga's Bar

When you're looking for good bourbon, find out where the good food is, and sure enough, your favorite drink is likely to make an appearance there. At Inga's Bar, the best appearance comes in the form of the Bourbon Cardinal Sin or simply as a creamy and smooth bourbon from the Charles Medley Distillery.

That's because you can always get good quality offerings at Inga's Bar, whether it's bourbon or food, even if what you're ordering is a simple salad. In that domain, a popular choice is the Celery Victor, with anchovies and Parmesan, a fresh yet salty combination. And if you're looking for something more substantial to go with your bourbon, the cheeseburger with thick-cut fries is a very good option.

Copper & Oak

The overwhelming caramel colors that hit you when you walk into this bar make it clear that the place serves bourbon, and indeed, a wide selection of whiskey in all its iterations. The space is small, for people at least, because most of the room is dedicated to storing bottles of dark spirits.

The only way to enjoy your bourbon here is to take it straight up, and maybe that's a good thing. When you're dealing with really good bourbon, why dilute it with frilly cocktail additives? Here you can grab a bar stool and try one or more of the 250 American whiskeys on the menu. For guidance just ask one of the bourbon aficionado bartenders.

The Whiskey Ward

If you're going to make a dent in the bourbon selection here, which includes a long list of small batch, straight, and barrel collections, you're going to need to come back again and again, each time getting a different three-drink flight. Or to mix things up, order the Bourbon Hunter, because that's what you are at heart. This is a cocktail made up of Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Heering Cherry Liqueur, orange bitters, and Bada Bing Cherry.

Bourbon offerings come from near and far, including Kentucky, of course, but also from the Taconic Distillery in upstate New York, proving once again that while Kentucky bourbon will always reign supreme, it doesn't have a monopoly on the market.


The extensive bourbon selection includes a Van Winkle or two along with plenty of high-quality options. And quality is what you'll get all-around at this southern-soul American bar scene. Danny Meyer, the restaurateur behind Shake Shack and other ventures, has made sure of it.

Sip your bourbon confidently, knowing that any food you want to order is going to be good. But what shines brightest here are the cocktails. Try the Julep du Monde, with Wild Turkey Bourbon, chicory, Amaro Meletii, vanilla, and mole bitters, or chase a shot of elevated bourbon with an equally elevated beer in one of Porchlight's signature boilermakers, by combining the Flagship Metropolitan Lager with Elijah Craig small batch bourbon, for example.

Tanner Smith's

The best introduction to this speakeasy-themed bar is the Garrison Brothers Whiskey Flight, consisting of 1-ounce pours of GB Small Batch Bourbon 94 proof, GB Balmorhea Bourbon 115 proof, and GB Honey Dew Bourbon 80 proof.

If those don't do it for you, there's a long list of other bourbons to try, including Bardstown and Widow Jane varieties. Any of these can be sampled with food throughout the day, as the bar is open for brunch, lunch, dinner, late-night snacking, and even afternoon tea. This is lucky, because in the bar and food desert that is the south of Central Park area, Tanner Smith's stands out as a beacon of good, solid food and drink.

The Bar room at the Beekman

Everyone secretly wants a cigar room in their home. A place to retreat to after dinner to talk about politics while sipping bourbon to take off the edge. The Bar Room at the Beekman Hotel is that room, though without the cigars. It may not be in your own home, but it sure does feel like it, and it's the perfect ambiance for sipping that edge-taking bourbon. Take it straight or in the form of a James Deville, a cocktail that mixes bourbon and absinthe.

And make sure to try something off the food menu as well. The Bar Room is led by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, founder of the acclaimed Gramercy Tavern, so you're not likely to be disappointed.

Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern is known as a great place to eat burgers and steak. But where there are good burgers and steak, there is also, usually, good bourbon. The Black Label Burger is especially famous and is all the more enjoyable if you wash it down with one of the tavern's many bourbon selections.

Overall, expect to leave Minetta Tavern feeling full and satisfied. The veal porterhouse and côte de boeuf come in generous portions, and you may not have to eat again for the rest of the day if you order the steak frites with bearnaise sauce for lunch. Seal the deal on your decadent meal with one of the tavern's excellent cocktails, with or without bourbon.