Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar (Bedford and Downing Streets) – adorable tiny bar with awesome cocktails, impressive wine list and a great-smelling menu.
Jeffrey’s Grocery (Christopher and Waverly) – usually packed for dinner, but the bartenders are fun and inventive - and are usually generous with their refilling of wine glasses.
Little Branch (Leroy and 7th Avenue) – one of the original speakeasy revivals in NYC. It'll likely have a line wrapped around the corner, but if you're lucky to get in, make sure you order a Dark and Stormy.
Bar Sardine (West 4th Street and West 10th Street) - the perfect bar scene and even better bar food. Great beer selections and the bartenders will make you whatever you want if it's not on the menu. Plus, they do not allow standing room - so you're never mowed over by aggressive types trying to order at the bar.
Rusty Knot (West Side Highway at West 11th Street) - a hilarious, nautical-themed tiki bar with a juke box, pool table and fish tank. The Dark and Stormy is made with a thick, homemade ginger syrup, and their "Rusty Knot" cocktail is a slushee mojito - all drinks served with tiny plastic mermaids in your tiki glasses. The bar food is perfect: pretzel-wrapped hot dogs and sloppy joes, to name a few. Perfect for impromptu summer group gatherings, but it'll be slammed any weekend night.
Spotted Pig (West 11th Street and Greenwich Street) – best martini in town, purple from the kalamata olives they use.
Turks & Frogs (West 11th St and Greenwich St) – a cute and cozy wine bar (especially if you're waiting for dinner at the Spotted Pig).
L’Artusi (West 10th and Bleecker) – Benevento cocktail is the cocktail to end all cocktails. A fancier spot if you're looking for cocktails before a nice dinner.
Jane Hotel (Jane Street and West Side Highway) – huge fancy renovated hotel, fun “club” scene on weekends if you're looking to dance on couches with strangers. Just for example.