It’s a testament to how spoiled we are as drinkers that 2014 felt like a relatively subdued year in bar openings. There wasn’t a breakout trend like tiki or amaro to rally behind, or a game-changing beer bar to rattle the ground beneath our feet (see: 2013’s Tørst).

But novelty isn’t everything, and if you look more closely, you’ll see that this was a year of maturation for the booze scene: The era of the thoughtful all-rounder bar hit its stride at spots like Boilermaker and Bar Sardine, where Negroni sippers and IPA obsessives find common ground. Fully formed cocktail dens like Nitecap and Dear Irving fired on all cylinders from day one, with pace-setting female mixologists at the helm. And the local brewing community finally realized that a tiny tasting room under the Gowanus Expressway can be just as fun as a sprawling beer hall.

These things are the new norm in New York City, and we fully support them. Instead of waiting for the next big thing, go enjoy these standout bars that remind us why NYC is one of the greatest places in the world to drink.

Written by Chris Schonberger (@cschonberger), Erin Mosbaugh (@JayBlague), Alia Akkam (@aliaakkam), Joshua M. Bernstein (@JoshMBernstein), Aaron Goldfarb (@aarongoldfarb), and Regan Hofmann (@regan_hofmann)


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