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A stylish and contemporary sake lounge, SakaMai is the ultimate hangout place, for the neighbors of Lower East Side. Essentially a bar serving sake, which is Japanese rice wine, it also has a wide variety of Japanese dishes. Dimly-lit interiors and a fashionable decor, give this bar a modern, yet cozy ambiance. Voted as the best Asian restaurant of Manhattan in 2013, it serves authentic preparations like uni crostini, Shabu slider, Kanpchi, branzino confit and oyster rice pot. Apart from sake, there is a decent range of beverages for those who don't prefer to experiment with alcohol. Call ahead for reservations, or visit their website for more information.
Sake Bar Decibel is a hipster sake bar that brings everything cool and eclectic about Japanese culture and presents it in bar form. The basement interior is dark, sexy and filled with Japanese decorations. The extensive sake selection can be overwhelming, but the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and more than happy to point you in the right direction. Bar snacks include katsuo, udon or soba noodles, as well as shumai and various seaweeds and vegetables.
Situated on 10th Street near Waverly in the West Village, Highlands is a Scottish theme bar focused on whiskey. It is a cool, amber-lit space often oozing with people looking for cocktails and conversation. When busy, service at the bar can be slow, and you'll have to jockey for a position and keep it. Still, the whiskey selection is extensive and the other cocktail and beer options are solid. Plus, they have a wide range of gastropub choices that are uniquely Scottish.
Sake Bar Satsko is a tiny delight in Alphabet City. Some delectable Asian fusion bites like the spicy tuna roll and Gyoza are available, but the reason to go to Satsko’s is sake. The friendly bartenders have a great knowledge of the over 20 varieties of sake offered from reasonably priced to high-end. It gets crowded, so get in early for a good table or seat at the tight bar. Plus, for those seeking to take it up a notch, try the sake bomb, which involves downing a full beer with a shot of sake dropped to the bottom.
Situated behind the Zenkichi restaurant, Bar Akariba is an oyster and sake bar best known for its cocktails made with shochu. It has a picturesque location with lush green trees and a garden setting. The entrance is from the Zenkichi restaurant. Akariba serves lots of interesting mixes in its cocktail menu, like shoju, yuzu juice, yuzu peel and wildflower honey in the Bee's Devotion and lychee and shochu in the lavender lychee-tini. The cocktail menu is huge and worth trying out. Apart from oysters, there are happy hour snacks too that are interesting like the Zenkichi Salad made from home-made tofu and White Kakuni or pork belly. The Fisherman's Shooter, made from oyster, sea-urchin (uni) and quail's egg, however is a hit!
Post Office is a small, intimate bar in Williamsburg that focuses on usquebaugh or what is called the water of life in Gaelic. The amount of choices on the menu is innumerable, and it is best to learn or know your whiskey before approaching the bar. From bourbon to single-barrel scotch, 10-year reserves, rye and other dark spirits, if you still can't decide, let the knowledgeable barkeeps assist you. Most of the whiskeys are from the States, however there are still some from Ireland and Scotland, of course.
Named after a small creek that flowed through Brooklyn, Noorman's Kil is famous across NYC for housing the most comprehensive range of whiskeys. Located in East Williamsburg, this little bar has a contemporary decor and friendly staff that will immediately set the mood. All types of whiskey, including bourbon, rye, Scotch, Irish, single malt and rare aged can be found at this whiskey haven. For all those connoisseurs, who consider whiskey as the ultimate elixir, this place is a must visit. The bar also has a line-up of regular events for whiskey-tasting along with programs that boast about the rich heritage of this spirit. To go along with the smooth and mellow taste of whiskey, is an eclectic menu of sandwiches, which complement perfectly with all their drinks.
From tofu, Saikoro steak and Surume Ika Yaki to the patent sake, you can get it all at Sakagura Restaurant. By now, you would have guessed that the restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine and of course, the staple rice-wine sake, without which the authenticity of the eatery would be incomplete. The place is known for being one of the best sake bars in the country, with a selection of over 200 varieties of sake that are imported from Japan. This beautifully decorated cozy joint serves green tea and it also has a fully stocked bar. However a meal here is not just about the star sake, but also the exquisite and delicious food that is perfectly prepared and plated, with dishes like the Salmon Sashimi with Roe on Rice and the Black Cod & Pickled Lotus, on the menu. Tasting events like the sake tasting dinner are frequently organized.