Brandy Library: A high-class hangout
Offers: Cigars, Food, Flights, Whisky education
Known for its comprehensive spirits collection, Brandy Library is a bit of a misnomer. The sophisticated bar’s short novel of a drinks menu (588 at last count) spans all aged spirits, including several from small New York distillers. Feeling adventurous? Kick back on a supple leather couch by the fireplace and order the blind stave tasting—nine 1/2-ounce ($72) or three 1-ounce ($35) pours served on a bourbon barrel stave.
Copper & Oak: Nothing but neat
Many consider this bar from owner Flavien Desoblin to be the more laid-back version of its cousin, Brandy Library, but the library vibe persists, with shelves of back-lit bottles lining the walls. The construction echoes the materials found in distilleries—oak walls and shelves, copper barstools and bar. And of course, whisky! New York may be a land of fancy cocktails, but Copper & Oak goes against the grain, serving only neat spirits (vodka excepted). Soda or ginger ale is available on the side.
Noorman’s Kil: Grilled cheese and whiskey
While they offer over 400 whiskies, the companion menu of seven types of grilled cheese, many using locally sourced ingredients, quickly casts off any suspicion that this is just another pretentious whisky bar. The rustic Americana interior is also home to twelve draught beers with a New York focus and a cocktail list that is, surprise, almost entirely whisky-based. Outside garden seating will transport you beyond the five boroughs.
The Flatiron Room: Cool jazz and prized bottles
Offers: Live music, Food, Flights, Lockers, Whisky education
What better place to ponder a list of 1,000 whiskies than owner Tommie Tardie’s plush Manhattan parlor, where you can peer into rare drams atop the same mahogany bar where Sinatra once sat? The live jazz is as carefully curated as the whiskies and wafts throughout the room while encouraging conversation. A “bottle keep” allows guests to purchase full bottles and store the remainder for their next visit. Reservations suggested.
Sanford’s Restaurant: Boozy whisky brunch
Offers: Food, Flights
Established in the 1930s, Sanford’s has evolved from a coffee shop and diner to a casual restaurant and bar with upscale food and drinks. Among the selection of over 300 whiskies, Sanford’s offers an exclusive barrel from Elijah Craig and fourteen whisky cocktails, including in-house barrel-aged drinks like a Redemption Rye Manhattan. Brunch is served seven days a week until 4 p.m. Try the crispy duck confit and waffles or steak skillet with potatoes and poached eggs.
The Whiskey Ward: Custom flights and games
Offers: Flights, Billiards
With daily shot specials, darts, a pool table, and free peanuts, Whiskey Ward might seem like a throwback to the fraternity days…were it not for the 250 hand-selected whiskies. Choose any three for a flight, stylishly presented on a wooden board with each 1-ounce dram identified in handwritten chalk. The non-pretentious bar is known for reasonable prices—even a new and limited whisky like Macallan Rare Cask won’t set you back more than $40.