There are over 2,000 bars in New York City, and if your goal is to visit as many as possible over time, a bar crawl is the way to go. Hop from spot to spot throughout the city and experience everything it has to offer, whether you’re looking for a sophisticated evening or excitement into the morning. Gather your friends and put together exciting bar crawl ideas in NYC to fill your night with endless fun.
Stick around SoHo and nearby neighborhoods, and you’re sure to find plenty of intriguing bar crawl stops. A tour around town will get you anything from craft cocktails and unique eats to fun entertainment at bars with activities in NYC. Plan your bar crawl with help from the list below!
1. Ghost Donkey
This spot in NoHo is an interesting place with an interesting name. Step inside the red-lit bar through the secret entrance located inside Saxon + Parole restaurant. Then step up to the bar for something sweet, spicy, or strong. The Mexican-inspired tequila and mezcal bar serves unique highballs and cocktails, but you can also sample the spirits on their own. All of the bar’s mixed beverages either contain one — or both — of its Mexican spirits or iconic Mexican flavors. Pair your drink of choice with something from the bar’s beloved nacho selection.
As a more secret location than other unique bars in NYC, Ghost Donkey is a smaller destination, so visit with a few close friends rather than a large crowd.
2. Excuse My French
Continue your tour of the world without leaving New York at this Lower East Side spot. Try the traditional French spirit pastis, which the bar serves on its own or with complementing syrups. If you’re not into the anise-flavored liquor, try something from their cocktail menu, or go for wine, beer, or a sparkling drink. Even the food menu has a French flair, with charcuterie and cheese options appearing alongside crepes and other snacks.
Get ready to snap plenty of photos of your picturesque cocktails or bites. Pose whatever you order in front of the blue and gold ornate wallpaper or replicas of famous paintings. The vibe in Excuse My French is certainly, well, French, and classy, and its narrow space is best visited by a small group.
3. Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels is an approachable location with a less-than-approachable name. Don’t let the challenging moniker fool you, though. This French spot in Little Italy does what it can to make its rustic-chic environment feel welcoming. In the past, the bar has hosted Tracksuit Tuesdays and other relaxed parties to help visitors unwind and have fun, even in the presence of an impressive French wine menu.
Pair your wine by the glass or bottle with something from the food menu. Small plates and charcuterie, of course, take you on a tour of France, but you’ll also find options that evoke Spain and Italy in their ingredients and flavors.
4. Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade
Looking for bars with games in NYC? Get a shot of nostalgia with your drinks at Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade. This spot in the Lower East Side serves beer, wine, cocktails, and varieties of sake. Their grub menu lives by the idea of keeping it simple, offering pizza, nachos, and bar snacks.
Save the savory bites until after you play classic arcade games from the ’80s and ’90s. The arcade is home to video games everyone knows and unique ones you may not have played before. Challenge your friends at the arcade cabinets or take turns on the pinball machines. Pick your machine from the arcade’s selection of film-, TV-, and video-game-themed pinball offerings. Start your NYC bar crawl here for the best chance at racking up a high score.
Things are funky and lit with a neon glow at this Chinatown bar. You’ll find Peachy’s located under the Chinese Tuxedo restaurant, where rounded booths and dim lights will make your group feel as if you’re hiding away from the world. Try to obey the bar’s neon-lit rules of no photos and no fighting, but know it’ll be hard to resist the urge to take pictures of everything inside. From the retro furnishings to unique-looking cocktails, Peachy’s is among the coolest themed bars in NYC.
As you’re enjoying the atmosphere at Peachy’s, order one of the sweet drink options. Most of the cocktails have fruity notes that often evoke the sugariness and flavors of candy. You’ll also find options infused with superfoods to help balance out all the sweetness.
6. The Ten Bells
This casual bar is, oddly enough, named after the London pub that has connections to Jack the Ripper’s victims. The Ten Bells in the Lower East Side has a feel that’s far from its namesake, though. While it’s a dimly lit locale, it’s also a romantic bar crawl option for couples or double dates. Stop in to enjoy their selection of organic wines, many of which offer unusual yet delicious flavors.
Pair your meal with charcuterie, tapas, or oysters. The Ten Bells regards itself as the best $1 oyster happy hour bar in NYC, serving the shellfish for a dollar a pop every day from opening to 7 p.m. Stop here at the start of your bar crawl to take advantage of the deals.
Visitors to this Lower East Side bar call it “unassuming” and “an everyman’s cocktail bar.” If you’re looking for a lowkey addition to your evening, Attaboy is certainly one of the unique bars in NYC to visit. A speakeasy feel combines with a trendy, industrial vibe for a dimly lit, old-school experience as you sip your favorite cocktail. Not too familiar with the world of mixed drinks? Attaboy’s bartenders are there to help. Just tell them your favorite spirits and flavor preferences, and they can make a suggestion you’re sure to love.
The bar operates on a first-come, first-served basis and only hosts parties of six or fewer, so if you’re out with a large crowd, you’ll have to visit another time with a pared-down group.
8. Bar Goto
The vibe is a bit more grown-up at this Lower East Side bar. Bar Goto combines simplicity and beauty in their creations, from the beverages to the food. The Japanese-inspired destination features a drink menu that combines classic options with modern twists, whether you want cocktails, sake, wine, beer, or Japanese whisky. Try the sakura martini topped with a cherry blossom for a pretty, picturesque, and tasty drink.
Sip it or something else from the beverage menu with Bar Goto’s selection of Japanese comfort food. Miso wings add savory flavor to the typical bar fare, and the cabbage pancakes come in a herbivore option or a classic style with pork belly, shrimp, and other delicious additions.
Cap off your exciting bar crawl ideas in NYC at this location. Hopefully, you can find the somewhat hidden entrance by the end of your evening. If you do, you’ll be met with an inventive cocktail menu along with beer, wine, and non-alcoholic options. Everything on the menu is either made to wind down your evening, like the Nitecaps section of the menu, or jazz you up, like the frozen drinks. If you’re visiting with three or more in your group, consider the punch bowls to keep the party going.
Nitecap is another New York bar with a speakeasy vibe. Low ceilings and high-back seats make this hole-in-the-wall spot feel as if you discovered a secret place just for your group to convene in.
10. Recreation at Moxy NYC Downtown
Recreation is a bit of a fancier option in the Financial District. Located in Moxy NYC Downtown hotel, Recreation combines a classy vibe with lots of fun. Add this to your list of bars with games in NYC, and play its arcade games, challenge your friends with the giant Jenga set, or toss a few shots in Skee-Ball. Recreation is made to be the living room of the city, but only if your living room also has a single-hoop basketball court like this destination does.
During the day, Recreation functions as a coffee-serving workspace, giving it its classier feel. Once it’s quitting time, Recreation transforms into a cocktail bar offering small plates. Stop in if you’re a bit dressed up for your bar crawl and want to experience all sides of the city.
11. Five Iron Golf
Another entrant to the list of bars with games and activities in NYC is Five Iron Golf. This location in the Financial District serves craft cocktails and the chance to practice your golf swing. The simulated courses let you feel like you’re out on the green without dealing with the outdoors. Not an avid golfer? No problem. The staff at Five Iron Golf offers lessons to help you perfect your swing.
If you or anyone in your group aren’t ones for hitting the green — even a digital one — Five Iron Golf also has pool tables. Or, if you’d rather, you can simply sit, drink, and watch your friends play.
12. The Dead Rabbit
Want more vintage and unique bars in NYC? The Dead Rabbit delivers. This bar’s goal is to bring the Irish pub into the 21st century, and it does just that. The vibe of this spot is a traditional pub, and its menu features vintage cocktails and classic beverages. Find Irish whiskey, an Irish coffee martini, Guinness, and other, more contemporary options here. The brunch and evening menus feature small and large plates that combine comforting classics with flavorful modern meals.
The Dead Rabbit houses two bar options, perfect for groups who aren’t sure what kind of vibe they’re searching for yet. The Taproom is the casual, ground-floor option. The wooden accents create the cozy local pub this destination aspires to be. The Parlor upstairs celebrates the golden age of cocktails in a refined setting.
This little unmarked bar in Chinatown is like a secret hideout with a unique theme. The whimsical vibe at Apothéke definitely puts it up there with the coolest themed bars in NYC. Evoking an old-school apothecary feel, the drinks menu at this bar categorizes its concoctions in sections including aphrodisiacs, pain killers, stress relievers, and stimulants.
Apothéke has fun with the drink names and flavors alike, crafting house-made ingredients with organic herbs, produce, and botanicals. If you’re feeling a little daring, get something from the absinthe options, served in a traditional preparation with sugar and a drip of ice water.
14. Baby Grand
If your exciting bar crawl stops in NYC have given you enough liquid courage to sing in front of a crowd, head to this karaoke bar in Little Italy. Baby Grand boasts a boutique karaoke bar setting — the only one in NYC. It’s a small and cute space aimed at combining the comfort of a karaoke session with your friends and the thrill of singing your heart out in front of total strangers. While Baby Grand doesn’t have private karaoke rooms, its intimate setting means you won’t be performing for a room full of hundreds.
Visit on a weekday for a chill and less crowded experience, especially if you’re coming with a lot of friends. If you plan to stop in on a weekend, go with a smaller group and get there early to claim a spot and watch others sing, or try it out yourself. While the vibe is friendly at Baby Grand, you still might want to step up to the bar and refuel on some bravery before belting it out.
15. Live Axe
At Live Axe, we combine everything you want in a bar-going experience. Unleash your inner Viking and have an exhilarating time perfecting your aim and your axe-throwing skills. We also serve up drinks aplenty with artisanal cocktails and a rotating selection of craft beers. We pair our endless entertainment and drinks with delicious small plate snacks. Fuel up before, during, or after your axe-throwing session with shareables and small plates from our innovative menu.
From the food to the drinks to the activities, a trip to Live Axe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Visit with friends for an axe-throwing session, or stop in for drinks and watch the excitement around you. For bars with games and activities in NYC, you can’t go wrong with Live Axe. We’re also one of the coolest themed bars in NYC with our Viking-inspired decor and industrial-chic space. We’re sure to become a regular addition to your New York bar crawl plans!
Head to Live Axe to Eat, Drink, and Throw
Whether you come by on your bar crawl or plan a dedicated night to us, Live Axe would be happy to host you. Book in advance to guarantee a place for your group. We have no minimum group size requirements for events, but if you want to have an event with more than 24 people, we’ll help you make a special reservation. No matter the size of your group, you’re in for an exciting experience. Learn how to throw like a Viking and test your accuracy and strength as you compete against friends and family. Before, during, or after your throw, head to our full bar or grab a few bites for the perfect addition to your visit.
Book your reservation at Live Axe or stop in for a drink on your next NYC bar crawl!