By Bartender Natasha Torres

In NYC you can find the absolute best quality from the huge quantity. You can find the niche cocktail bar that fulfills your every fantasy.
— Bartender Natasha Torres
 Mystery Train Cocktail at Bar Moga | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

Mystery Train Cocktail at Bar Moga | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

New York City starts trends and ends trends. It's the birthplace of so many exciting cocktails and cocktail bartenders. It's fast paced; it's unique and exciting. With roots in cocktail history, it's hard to overlook the cocktail scene here. There are cocktail bars for anyone to enjoy. If you like a quieter scene with maybe some live jazz, not too wild, then we have those cocktail bars. If you like rowdy, loud with a neighborhood feel, we have that too. If you like a 'tiki' feel with gorgeously garnished cocktails, we've got it. Outside the box? Got it. Down and dirty? We've got it. Classic, old school, precise and manicured to the max? We've got it. And NYC has the best of the best of each one of those categories. It's a cocktail lovers' delight. If you've dreamt of it, I bet NYC has it.

Where You Can Find Me

 Bartender Natasha Torres at Bar Moga | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

Bartender Natasha Torres at Bar Moga | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

Bar Moga

The cocktail experience at Bar Moga is interactive, informative, engaging, and fun. All of the bartenders here are trained in classic and modern classic cocktails and cocktail bartending. When you add in shochu, sake, Japanese whisky, and other Japanese spirits, such as the Mite aged plum liqueur in our signature 'The Moga' cocktail, you add an element of adventure and a fresh outlook on classics and modern classics. In addition to the Japanese elements we present, Becky and I have been seeking out female distillers, wine producers, and owners of anything boozy on the market. All of the wines on our list are female produced and a lot of what's in our rails or on our backbar come from female distillers, owners, and producers. We are trying to highlight wonderful spirits and wine from women near and far. So, ask us about our spirits. Ask us about the ingredients in the cocktails. Have us explain to you what shochu is. We have a lot of fun learning about them and experimenting with them in cocktails. You, the guest, should get to experience the excitement and education, too. Knowledge is power -- even when drinking.

What to Drink at Bar Moga

There are no two drinks that are similar in any way. But if I had to choose, I would say The Moga and Sleepwalk.

 Sleepwalk Cocktail | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

Sleepwalk Cocktail | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

Sleepwalk

It is pure genius. Fresh lime juice, ginger, coconut, lemongrass shochu, and yuzu sake. Put it on crushed ice with a spritz of rose water and a lemon twist. It has depth, a little spiciness from the ginger, that creamy tropical feel from the coconut cream, lemongrass to keep it fresh and vibrant, and it looks phenomenal in the glass with crushed ice. Frosty, fresh, lively, round, bold, smooth and fun. Our co-founder Becky McFalls-Schwartz created it. She is a mad scientist with her cocktail making skills.

 The Moga | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

The Moga | Photo Credit Asia Coladner

The Moga Cocktail

It's our namesake and it means a great deal to the bar. It's stirred and boozy, well balanced, and juicy. Most importantly, the bar donates $1 from each one we sell to breast cancer research and the ACLU. It's a combination of seemingly unlikely spirits: Japanese whisky, French-style rhum from Martinique, and Japanese aged plum liqueur. No citrus juice, a nice large hand cut rock, some angostura bitters, and a lemon twist. It's sturdy and smooth, bold but not heavy. Becky and I wanted a boozy old fashioned type drink to be our namesake. Something not a lot of people would expect, seeing as how Moga means modern woman / flapper in Japanese. No one ever wants to give gender to drinks, but we knew that it might surprise. Fresh off of a trip to Martinique, I knew I wanted to use rhum on the menu. It paired so nicely with the Japanese aged plum liqueur and the Japanese whisky made it bold and round. This cocktail means a great deal to me for many reasons, but mainly for its statement.

BAR MOGA
128 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012
T: 929.399.5853
www.barmoga.com


Bartender Natasha Torres' NYC Guide

THE CLASSICS

 Sunny's Bar | Photo Credit: ©Find. Eat. Drink.

Sunny's Bar | Photo Credit: ©Find. Eat. Drink.

These four bars have around for a while and it's not hard to understand why once you step foot in them. Order a cheap beer and talk to the guest that's sitting next to you. They are all that type of place.

SUNNY'S BAR
253 Conover Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
T: 718.625.8211
www.sunnysredhook.com

JOSIE'S
520 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009
T: 212.228.9532

TRIBECA TAVERN
247 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
T: 212.941.7671

JIMMY'S CORBER
140 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
T: 212.221.9510

THE LEGENDS

 Little Branch | Photo Credit: Romanaklee [flickr]

Little Branch | Photo Credit: Romanaklee [flickr]

These two cocktail bars are living, operating legends in the cocktail world.

Little Branch 

Little Branch has a special place in my heart because of the style of bartending I was taught and by the man that taught me to bartend. Candle light, jazz music, classic cocktails, small simple menu, knowledgable staff and nostalgia.

22 7th Avenue South, New York, NY 10014
T: 212.929.4360

Angel's Share

Angel's Share is precise and gorgeous. The cocktails are incredible and the style of bartending and service is awe inspiring.

8 Stuyvesant Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.777.5415

MODERN

 Photograph courtesy of OTB

Photograph courtesy of OTB

OTB

Huge ceilings, a huge projector screen with Monday night movies, and fried chicken dinners. Creative and fun cocktails with solid spirits list, plenty of seating, captains chairs for barstools, a tiled bar top, and some of my favorite spicy grilled chicken wings. Great staff and a badass female owner that you can catch behind the bar on Mondays for a movie and fried chicken dinner and $1 oysters night.

141 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
www.otbbk.com/drink

Jupiter Disco

Jupiter Disco might be my favorite bar right now. It's owned and operated by two incredibly talented guys. It makes the cocktail geek and music lover in me feel like they've found a singular paradise. With a killer sound system, excellent cocktails, and rotating DJs, it's dark, minimal, has clean lines, not overly fussy, the menu and a disclaimer are in green type on screens hanging above the bar. If I stumbled upon this place without any prior knowledge, I'd feel like I found the needle in the haystack.

1237 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
www.jupiterdisco.com

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

 Photographs courtesy of The Ship

Photographs courtesy of The Ship

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The Ship

A gorgeous space with beautiful drinks. Sit at the bar by yourself and watch the bartenders work or hang out with a group of friends in a booth. Try all the cocktails and order off menu. This venue is truly one of my favorites. The space is cavernous, yet inviting.

158 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013
T: 212.219.8496
www.theshipnyc.com

Featherweight

I really enjoy going out to this bar in Williamsburg to chill out and kick back. It's a darkly lit cocktail bar that's tucked away in back behind a larger bar that has windows on all sides. The music is fun, but not too overwhelming. The drinks are always on point. The staff is laid back and knowledgeable. They have cheap canned beer for the industry folk and a healthy collection of rums on the backbar. They also have a bottle of 'All the Rums' which is exactly what it's labeled: all the rums they have in one bottle. Have a canned beer and a shot of all the rums. Ask about all the rums. Ask for Matthew Houilhan or Josh Perez. Matthew is the head bartender and knows all the rums and then some and if you're a true Mets fan, you've got a friend for life. Josh is a longtime barman at some staple bars in NYC and will talk all things alcohol and bartending with you. Every once in a while you might stumble upon a lively dance party with a DJ and guest bartenders behind the bar. You should stay and enjoy that. You're welcome.

135 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
T: 202.907.3372

 Photograph courtesy of The Long Island Bar

Photograph courtesy of The Long Island Bar

The Long Island Bar

Retro feel and classic cocktails. Friendly, laid back bartenders, and solid drinks. Would return, 10 out of 10.

110 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: 718.625.8908
thelongislandbar.com

 Photographs courtesy of Lantern's Keep

Photographs courtesy of Lantern's Keep

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Lantern's Keep

A hidden cocktail bar in the back of the Iroquois Hotel, Lantern's Keep is small in size, but leaves a huge impression. They have 28 seats, one bartender, and one server. Both know how to do each other's job and are required to. They serve classic cocktails in a simple, elegant space. Pro tip: sit at the bar; watch the action; ask all the questions.

49 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
T: 212.453.4287
www.iroquoisny.com/lanternskeep

SHOPS

 Astor Wine & Spirits | Photo Credit: ©Find. Eat. Drink.

Astor Wine & Spirits | Photo Credit: ©Find. Eat. Drink.

I love cruising around the city and out to Flushing in Queens to get into some strange stuff. I'll pop into liquor stores that carry some of the more odd things that I order for the bar to play around with. Those places are usually interesting. In Manhattan, love cruising around Astor Wines & Spirits for a while and in Brooklyn, I really love BQE Liquor. It's cheap and they carry a lot of things you can't find at a local liquor shop.

ASTOR WINE & SPIRITS
399 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.674.7500
www.astorwines.com

BQE WINE & LIQUORS
504 Meeker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
T: 718.389.3833
www.bqewineandliquors.com

LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES

 Photograph courtesy of The Kunjip

Photograph courtesy of The Kunjip

Late night is fun, but I'm a strong believer in nothing good happens after 2am. With that said, I have and will continue to stay out until the wee hours of daylight. These are my all time favorite suggestions for that late night/early morning food craving. Don't worry, the staff at all of these places have seen it all before and are quite used to your drunken antics. This isn't their first rodeo, but if it's your first, tip your server well, and be grateful you're in NYC.

VESELKA for Ukranian
Open 24-Hours
144 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.228.9682
veselka.com

WO HOP for Chinese
Open until 5am
15 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013
T: 212.566.3841
wohopnyc.com

KUNJIP for Korean BBQ
Open 24-hours
32 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001
T: 212.564.8238
www.kunjip.com


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