Explore New York City

6 Ways to Dress for a Drink in NYC

Before checking out these oh-so-cool bars, visit NYC's fabulous shops to insure that you are dressed the part!

We pair this season’s fashions with cocktail bars, so you can sip like these sartorial “types.”  

Club Jackets

Club jackets for fall
(Fashion photographed by David White, Styled by Miako Katoh, Merchandised by Anna Katsanis)

Left to right: Robert Graham Steinway sport coat, $698. 380 Bleecker St., 212.929.0132 | ETRO black burnout paisley velvet jacket, $1,771. 720 Madison Ave., 212.317.9096 | Jose Duran black leather cropped jacket, $750, and leather-necked, black cotton long-sleeve shirt, $210. Eva, 355A Bowery, 212.925.3890, joseduran.net.


King Cole Bar & Salon
King Cole Bar & Salon (©Bruce Buck)

THE GENTLEMAN needs no occasion to dress up. He’s always in his best, freshly pressed and impeccably groomed. What else would you expect from a fellow who fancies his alter ego to be Cary Grant?

For him, it‘s the King Cole Bar & Salon, where old-world aesthetics meet contemporary flair. Chandeliers hang in a palatial lounge, while the bar sports an edgy, leopard-print carpet—and that’s just the mix our gentleman likes. His jacket’s glen-plaid pattern is a nod to tradition, but the colorful stripes and paisley accent collar speak to a hidden, wilder side. Word is that the Bloody Mary was born here in 1934 and, at cocktail hour, the debonair gent can be spotted, drink in hand, sipping any of the six varieties served. Put away your wallet: Cocktails are on him. » King Cole Bar & Salon, St. Regis New York, 2 E. 55th St., 212.339.6857

JIMMY at The James New York
JIMMY at The James New York (Courtesy JIMMY at The James New York)

THE SCHMOOZER was born to socialize and considers any introduction not made to be an opportunity lost. Being the center of attention is what he lives for. He could be a turnoff … if he weren’t so smooth.

For the schmoozer, it’s cocktails and socializing at the swanky James New York Hotel bar. Situated at the intersection of SoHo and TriBeCa, two of Manhattan’s most stylish neighborhoods, its rooftop cocktail pad, JIMMY, reflects as much with its modular furniture, glazed tile walls and working fireplace. Up 18 stories, it’s a see-and-be-seen kind of scene. The schmoozer’s extroverted nature compels him to woo admirers, and the velvety paisley of his blazer does the trick.  After all, it’s easy to start a conversation when everyone’s just dying to reach out and stroke your jacket. Its jazzed-up lapel, a casual play on the formal tuxedo, is suggestive of grand social affairs. There’s a dynamite view here, but the schmoozer’s eyes are fixed on the guests. Circling the central bar (great for crowd flow), he orders a Third Base (rum, cherry liqueur, lime, brandied cherry), hoping to reach it after some fireside flirting. » JIMMY at The James New York, 15 Thompson St., rooftop, 212.201.9118

Mercury Lounge
Mercury Lounge (©Adam Macchia)

THE REBEL does it his way or the highway. His life wouldn’t be worth living, if it weren’t for rock, cigarettes and live shows. Jamming at concerts is, to him, something of an art. Need a ride? His Harley’s out front.

For the rebel, there’s nothing more liberating than letting loose, grabbing a well whiskey and ginger ale, and dancing like the sun will never rise again in a jam-packed room as a sweaty postpunk band screams angsty lyrics onstage. The rebel knows this kind of action isn’t for everyone, which is precisely why he hits Mercury Lounge. If you can’t take the bass, step away from the speakers. This bar/concert hub hybrid is known as a launching pad for New York rockers who’ve hit it big in the past decade or so—from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Interpol to The Strokes—so the rebel makes sure never to miss the next big act. As The Strokes sing, “You only live once.” Since he’s only got one go at it, he’s going to live it up, and look good doing it. Yeah, it may be stiflingly hot on the 250-capacity dance floor, but don’t expect the rebel to take off his cropped leather jacket or loosen the leather neck of his black cotton shirt. Hey, we all suffer for fashion, right? » Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St., 212.260.4700

Cocktail Dresses

Cocktails dresses for fall
(Fashion photographed by David White, Styled by Miako Katoh, Merchandised by Anna Katsanis)

Left to right: Reiss Kansas dress, $465. 309-313 Bleecker St., 212.488.2411 | Tadashi Shoji suede minidress, $368. tadashishoji.com; similar styles at Bloomingdale's, 1000 Third Ave., 212.705.2000 | Catherine Malandrino Melania dress, $595. 652 Hudson St., 212.929.8710

Dear Irving
Dear Irving (Courtesy Dear Irving)

THE RETRO REVIVALIST always feels like she belongs to another era, longing for the costumes of yesteryear. Modernity bores her, but an antiques warehouse or vintage boutique? She’s waxing nostalgic. 

New York is filled with classic venues that transcend time and tastes, but recently opened lounge and restaurant Dear Irving, tucked away among the tree-lined streets of the Gramercy Park neighborhood, tries its hand at actual time travel (or as close as anyone can get to it). Each intricately designed room in the house serves as a portal into another era. It’s the retro revivalist’s dream. Stepping into the 1920s-style, Art Deco-accented lounge (straight out of The Great Gatsby), she couldn’t be dressed more appropriately: The long tassels of her blue flapper-esque dress swaying in tandem with the crystal-beaded curtains surrounding each leather banquette. From there, it’s a foray into 18th-century France or a visit to the  United States, circa 1960, with midcentury-modern furnishings and mounted JFK quotes.The retro revivalist summons a drink (via buttons on the wall) and throws back a Gibson,  popular among urbanites in the 1950s (gin, vermouth, pickled onion), as the clock turns backward. » Dear Irving, 15 Irving Pl., no phone

The Garret
The Garret (Courtesy The Garret)

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR doesn’t need to put up a fancy front: She’s too secure—and practical—for that. Keeping it casual and comfy, she’s not about outward appearance, but about what lies inside. 

As the saying goes, what you’re searching for is in the last place you’d think to look. If expertly crafted cocktails (minus crowds) are your target, try The Garret—an insider’s neighborhood bar hiding above a West Village Five Guys burger joint. A snobbish tippler might sneer at the smell of frying patties and peanut shells underfoot, but not the girl next door. She knows how to find the bar, making her way up an unmarked staircase in the back, her modest neckline offset by a playful hemline. She moves naturally, her versatile, laser-cut suede minidress able to transition with ease between the fast-food ground floor and the bohemian-chic upper lounge. After getting a buzz from the well-curated list of inventive cocktails (try Flowers in the Attic: sauvignon blanc, Amaro Montenegro, prosecco, lemon bitters), the girl next door knows just how to steady herself: a bacon cheeseburger from the handy restaurant below. And, even in suede, she’s not afraid of a little ketchup spill. » The Garret, 296 Bleecker St., 2nd fl., 212.675.6157

Beauty & Essex
Beauty & Essex (Courtesy Beauty & Essex)

THE ELUSIVE SIREN disdains the predictable and never reveals her cards. She’ll surprise you—in good ways (usually). Just when you think you’ve got her pegged, she hits you with the unexpected. And you love it. 

Anyone strutting down Essex St. may look at a slightly dingy pawnshop called Beauty & Essex and consider hocking a great-aunt’s old watch or picking up a used guitar. But step inside at cocktail time (in “upscale casual” attire, per dress code—as if the siren would wear anything less) and a different experience awaits. This storefront holds a secret. The back wall of the store masks a discreet door that opens to a luxe, modern restaurant and den of drink. The transition takes you off guard, which is just how the siren likes her prey. She glides up the grand staircase, the sequined sleeves of her little black dress glittering, and sits in a plush armchair in the second-floor lounge. You still can’t read her—if only she were as transparent as the sheer yoke on her garment. The dramatic chandelier above distracts you for a moment, and suddenly she’s gone—off to the ladies’ room, where sparkling rosé is served on the house (sorry, gents, none for you). » Beauty & Essex, 146 Essex St., 212.614.0146