Man I love this city. I adore every visit I have here. The average bartender here is better than pretty average bartender I think anywhere in the world. Here are my top 5 recommendations.
Death and Company
After all these years the cocktails here are as amazing as ever. Their impressive cocktail list is still is just about perfect. Everyone can find something they will love. The service is that perfect balance of professional and amiable. They also have had a very amiable doorman which more bars need employ. A great drinking experience all around. It has won award after award and they deserve each one. It is still my favorite bar in New York.Do not mistake the original in NYC with the new locations in Denver and LA. While the new lcoations have the same owners they are not very good. The original NYC location is just superb and worlds better than the new locatitions.
Location: 433 East 6th St., New York, NY
Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog
Located down in the Financial District all by it's lonesome is an amazing bar. Split into the casual downstairs and the more formal upstairs. They have two completely different menus. The upstairs bar is place where this bar really shines. A huge menu of 4 dozen cocktails (perhaps more) in a bound illustrated book. Irish whiskey is there main focus, but there is something for everyone.
Location: 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004
An amazing staff. Beautifully made, gorgeously garnished cocktails.
Location: 225 Avenue B New York, NY 10009
Raines Law Room
There are two location in NY of this superb bar. The orignal is marked with a small framed note by the door. A buzzer press and a door-person lets you know the wait time. The place is sexy and beautiful. My favorite bit is the "bar" which is a remodeled or modeled kitchen. You can wait at the "bar" kitchen island for a seat if there is space. Fantastic cocktails. The other location is also very good, but I slightly prefer the original.
Location: 48 West 17th St., New York, NY
Great staff. Wonderful cocktails.
Location: 245 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002