If you’re going to live up to the moniker of the ‘City That Never Sleeps’ you’re probably going to need some vodka to fuel your perpetual party. In recent years, the vodka bar has become a popular mainstay in countless cities, but no one does it like NYC. With such an enormous population of transplants, you can find ACTUAL vodka bars, places where – in the haze of a few well-chilled shots – you might never know you were deep in St. Petersburg or Moscow.
Russian Samovar: Russian Samovar is an upscale restaurant and vodka bar with live piano music and an impressive menu of delectable Russian dishes. Vodka infusions include cranberry, pear, tarragon, plum, ginger, cherry, horseradish, pepper, pomegranate and honey. The intimate atmosphere makes for a relaxing sojourn in a Russia away from Russia.
Apotheke: In true speakeasy fashion, Apotheke will only be found by those determined to find it. Tucked away behind an old “Chemist’s” sign on a narrow, winding street, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a comparable establishment in Chinatown. Hundred of antique medicine bottles fill the back bar, and drinks are served by mad scientists in lab coats. The “Prescription List” offers a number of experimental “medicinal” drinks, many of which use vodka.
Masha & The Bear: Masha & The Bear is a casual bar and restaurant offering traditional Russian plates and house-infused vodkas on tap. They have one of the most creative Russian menus in the neighborhood with original dishes and a touch of humor. Most ingredients are locally found while some are imported from Russia, such as Salo, a type of Russian bacon.
Russian Vodka Room: A well-stocked bar features over 50 varieties of vodka and nearly as many house-made infusions (try the horseradish, trust us). Though the staff may not have the bright demeanor of most service industry folk, they are undeniable Russian, and this just contributes to the experience. If you’re looking for something to soak up all that vodka, generously portioned classics: hot borscht, smoked-trout salad, gravlax with potato pancakes, will not disappoint.
Mehanata Bulgarian Bar: If you’re looking for a true scene, this is it. Karl Marx graffiti, Gogol Bordello pumping through the sound system, a glass-walled ice cage filled with a veritable world of vodka, all chilled to an ice 5 degree Fahrenheit.