BTR's Favorite Bars, Part II

By the Editorial Staff

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Last week, we ran the first of our two-part series BTR’s Favorite Bars. This week, we’re delving into five more establishments that have stuck with us through the years. It seems our tastes run the gamut, so from college town hangouts to famed blues bars, we’ve got you covered.

Dane Feldman’s Pick: High Horse – Amherst, MA

Photo courtesy of Dane Feldman.

It seems only fair this time to mention the place where my passion for drinking began and that place is Amherst, Massachusetts, where I spent three and a half years as an undergraduate student at UMass. Like so many other UMass students, I barhopped from McMurphy’s to Stackers, played trivia at the Harp, and got my Sunday day-drink on at Old Time Tavern. Of course, neighboring Northampton’s Tunnel Bar is one of the coolest establishments I’ve ever been inside, but I spent the majority of my time at High Horse.

High Horse boasts a bar/restaurant downstairs with top shelf cocktails and an awesome menu. It also boasts the glory of serving me my first legal drink. Upstairs is more of a “going out” bar where students hang all night, play pool, and sip on a limited selection of mixed drinks. The drink selection may be more limited than it is across the street at McMurphy’s, but High Horse serves only top shelf liquor so it’s the perfect place for budding cocktail lovers to explore.

Jess Goulart’s Pick: Middle Branch – New York, NY
Slightly swankier than it’s lower Manhattan sister spot, Middle Branch is a gem of a cocktail bar hidden behind an unmarked door about halfway down 33rd street. The best bet to finding the entrance is to look for an older gentleman looking strangely out of place in 1920’s attire (think top hat and cane). Once inside–and this is important–ask that same top hatted gentleman if there’s an open table upstairs, otherwise it’s standing room only. Either way, do yourself a favor and ask for bartender’s choice. They’ll have you select a base spirit and general flavor profile and then they’ll make you a drink that will blow your mind.

Molly Freeman’s Pick: The Storehouse – New York City, NY

Photo by Molly Freeman.

Located between 5th and 6th on West 23rd street in the Flatiron District, The Storehouse is more of a restaurant than a bar. However, with a lengthy list of beers, as well as plenty of beers on tap, this spot is arguably more popular for its drinks than its food. That being said, though, The Storehouse’s menu features a lot of Irish staples and all the food is delicious.

The Storehouse is a solid pick for after-work drinks and has become a staple of mine not only in Flatiron, but in all of Manhattan. Although I’m not a beer-drinker, The Storehouse also has a great selection of whiskeys, of which I’m certainly a fan. Additionally, The Storehouse makes a killer Reuben sandwich–a must of any bar that calls itself an Irish pub.

Zach Schepis’ Pick: 55 Bar – New York, NY
Saunter down to Christopher Street in Greenwich Village to discover one of the oldest blues bars still alive and kicking in New York City. Founded in 1919, 55 Bar quickly became a neighborhood staple for both blues and jazz legends alike–along with anyone who wanted to simply drop by and jam. Prohibition-era restraints transformed the joint into a speakeasy and the rebellious spirit still whispers through the haze, through the red lights and up the stairs of this basement gem.

Quint Barker once wrote, “true artists are discovered in clubs and bars, not manufactured in a studio.” This is the place to find them. Forget the pretentious snobbery of swanky (and overpriced) jazz establishments–this bar swings. Local and foreign talents abound, there’s music every night of the week, and no cover until 10pm (even then it’s always less than $10). Great whiskey selection and choices of beer on tap on too. Side note: they don’t serve food at 55 Bar–you’ll just have to make the music your nourishment.

Tanya Silverman’s Pick: Vinyl Street Bar – Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea

Photo courtesy of Tanya Silverman.

Is there a better way to drink hard liquor than have it sloshed around in some tangy, fruity juice and poured into a plastic bag like a mammoth Capri-Sun? Nope.

The folks at this to-go street bar in Seoul’s Hondgae neighborhood have their booze priorities straight. Patrons can leisurely stop by and pick up a nice, big bag of cheap cocktail to sip through a straw as they stroll through the city streets.