Soak up the spirits of summer with 5 new cocktail bars in New York City

Photo: River Lounge/Yelp

If you're interested in checking out the freshest New York City cocktail bars, consider dropping into one of these new spots. From stunning locations to high-tech creations, each of these bars has a distinctive identity. Here are the newest places to visit the next time you're in search of a craft cocktail near you.

Katana Kitten

531 Hudson St., West Village
Photo: J U./Yelp

Katana Kitten is a cocktail bar and Japanese spot that is the work of head bartender Masahiro Urushido, along with restaurateurs James Tune and Greg Boehm. Located at 531 Hudson St. in the West Village, it specializes in cocktails with a Japanese twist, especially boilermakers and highballs.

On the cocktail menu, expect to find signature drinks like the Toki whiskey highball with lemon oil and plum hard candy; or the Bright n' Sunny, a variation on a Dark and Stormy made with lemongrass-ginger tepache.

The bar bites include elevated versions of Japanese convenience store sandwiches like egg salad and pork katsu (here, the breaded and fried pork cutlet is replaced with breaded and fried mortadella).

With a five-star Yelp rating out of three reviews so far, Katana Kitten has been getting positive attention in its early days.

"Shiso gin and tonic -- clean spin on the original. Not so different to be unfamiliar but the shiso does add a nice depth," wrote Yelper Greg M., who reviewed Katana Kitten on July 24. "Nori fries - yum! Crinkle cut and covered in curry sauce. What's not to like?"

And Yelper Mike C. praised the Fra'mani Mortadella Katsu Sando, calling it "a great version of those Japanese milk bread sandwiches with some really salty crispy mortadella."

Katana Kitten is open from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)

River Lounge

89 S St., Pier 17, Financial District
Photo: River Lounge/Yelp

River Lounge is a pop-up cocktail bar and lounge located directly on the water at Pier 17 in the Financial District. Head bartender Mark Murphy is serving up signature cocktails, wine and beer in the space, which has a performance venue on the rooftop.

At the bar, expect to find cocktails like the Jungle Bird Spritz, with Campari, grapefruit, pineapple, lime and sparkling wine.

Upcoming performances include "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah on Aug. 12 and The Summer Ever After Tour with All Time Low and Dashboard Confessional on Aug. 19. Tickets are sold separately. (You can check out the lineup here and the drinks menu here.)

Yelpers are generally positive about River Lounge, which currently holds four stars out of seven reviews on the site.

"This place is so beautiful, I really love the decor and all of the outside seating," wrote Yelper Isabel J., who visited River Lounge on July 9. "This place is great as a romantic date spot or with a group of friends."

"Drinks are a bit of pricey, but it's OK -- you are paying for a beautiful view, really good music and a tan," Yelper Gatangalie S. added. "I really love their tiki margarita cocktail served stiff with a fresh piece of pineapple swimming inside of my drink."

River Lounge is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.

Existing Conditions

35 W. Eighth St., Greenwich Village
Photo: Hannah L./Yelp

Existing Conditions is a cocktail bar from mixology team Dave Arnold of Booker and Dax, Don Lee of PDT and Ssam Bar, and Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom, along with chef Josh Eden, as Grub Street reports.

Located at 35 W. Eighth St. in the former space of Booker and Dax, it specializes in the experimental and high-tech.

For instance, the Canary cocktail involves using nitrous oxide to rapidly infuse saffron into gin, which is then combined with fino sherry and yellow Chartreuse. (You can see the full menu here.)

Existing Conditions currently holds five stars out of 12 reviews on Yelp, indicating universal acclaim in its early days.

Yelper Molly T., who reviewed the bar on July 19, wrote of the tiki-inspired Remedy, "The caramelized coconut is a thing of beauty. The way they make it is impressive enough, and the final product is magical. Rich and decadent, a tropical rum drink decked out in pearls, diamonds and rubies."

And Yelper Tammy K. noted, "I went on a Wednesday evening and was able to get seated immediately. The decor is understated, and there are plenty of booth tables, making it a great place to enjoy drinks and conversation. "

Existing Conditions is open from 5 p.m.-midnight Sunday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursday, and 5 p.m.-2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The 18th Room

134 Ninth Ave., Chelsea
Photo: Tiffany C./Yelp
The 18th Room is a speakeasy-themed cocktail bar located at 134 Ninth Ave. in Chelsea, next door to its sister bar Bathtub Gin and behind a coffeeshop. Both are the projects of owner Dave Oz, and The 18th Room's bar is helmed by Joseph Boroski.

On the menu, an emphasis on sustainability results in offerings like a fat-washed banana daiquiri whose bananas are repurposed for a house banana bread -- but the bartenders will also craft bespoke cocktails, given a little information about a customer's preferences.

The 18th Room is off to a promising start with a current rating of five stars out of five reviews on Yelp.

"The appeal of this bar is that on top of their cocktail menu, they openly suggest you letting the bartender concoct you a unique drink," Yelper Kayleigh K. wrote. "We each told the waitress what type of flavors we liked, yes/no to allergies, etc. and she came back with completely different drinks for each of us."

And Laura G. noted, "The service here was extraordinary. We were bought an amuse bouche cocktail as soon as we were seated and also some popcorn."

The 18th Room is open from 5 p.m.-1 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and 5 p.m.-2 a.m. on Thursday-Saturday. (It's closed on Monday and Sunday.)

The Hidden Pearl

621 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
Photo: The Hidden Pearl/Yelp

The Hidden Pearl is a cocktail bar located in the back of Greenpoint ramen shop Wanpaku, at 621 Manhattan Ave. The brainchild of Leif Huckman, Jeremy Oertel and Natasha David, it specializes in tropical cocktails with a Japanese twist.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect drink, for example, features togarashi (a Japanese spice mixture) along with blanco tequila, fennel, suze, fino sherry and lime. The food offerings include bites like fried burdock root chips. (You can check out the full menu here.)

The Hidden Pearl has received a warm welcome thus far with a current Yelp rating of five stars out of four reviews.

"The cocktails are fresh and vibrant, some of the most flavorful I've had in a while," wrote Yelper Angie F., who was the first to review the new bar on June 9. "Japanese bites in the bar and a ramen shop up front leave no hunger unsatisfied."

And Natt G. noted, "We came here after dinner and found the small bites menu here to be a lot more interesting than the ones offered in Wanpaku. Fun cocktails that gravitate toward tropical/tiki flavors with a staff that's lovely and great at explaining the different drinks."

The Hidden Pearl is open from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 6 p.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)
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