A Prohibition favorite deserves a speakeasy setting. Enter Employees Only, a stunning West Village spot with serious roaring 20’s inspiration—and happens to be the place to go for the best traditional Manhattan in, well, Manhattan. Using Rittenhouse rye whiskey with Italian vermouth, Grand Marnier and Angostura bitters, this speakeasy’s mastery of this libation shines in its inherent simplicity.
With guru Audrey Saunders at the helm, this SoHo joint’s east-meets-west locale is a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts. And since no drink menu is complete without a great Manhattan, the Pegu Club has the “Little Italy,” a delicious twist on the traditional libation, using Cynar—Italian bitters made with artichoke—in place of traditional bitters.
Credit: Death + Co
As far as ambiance goes, Death & Company is the personification of a good Manhattan. It’s luxurious and moody, dominated by black walls and cushy leather booths. Their bar menu is on the move every couple months, but the bartender will whip up a perfected Manhattan any day of the week—served in a champagne coupe and all.