- New York City is home to over 25,000 nightlife establishments making it the Bar Capital of the United States
- This list of NYC’s Weirdest Bars could be combined into the most epic bar crawl in the history of New York City
- Here we take a look at the weirdest and best bars in NYC (mostly Manhattan and Brooklyn) and while some might not fit your needs there’s something for everyone
- Read more cool articles here
New York City is the nightlife capital of the world. There are over 25,000 bars and nightlife establishments throughout the city. And this is a list of NYC’s Weirdest Bars.
There are countless lists of the best bars in NYC. This isn’t that. While each of these quirky and unique bars could be ranked as one of the best bars in New York City, these bars are listed because they’re weird. And weird is good, at least for the purposes of this article.
I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to share this list of NYC’s Weirdest Bars. So many of my favorite New York watering holes are on this list and I prefer them on the empty side versus packed. My hope is that you’ll visit these weird drive bars, thank me for sharing this news, but leave me a seat at the bar.
It’s no coincidence that my single favorite bar on the planet made the list of NYC’s weirdest bars. Barcelona Bar can be found at 55th and 8th in Manhattan. They feature well over 100 different types of shots. I actually have my own shot on the wall, the Winter is Coming.
It’s up there because I won their first season of trivia. Prior to that, you could order it off-menu as the ‘Flaming Snowflake’ but I gave it a more commercially viable name when it made the menu of shots. We’ve always described the shot as “it tastes like Christmas” with Rumple Minze, Vanilla Vodka, and Goldschlager. It also comes with some fun props as do many of the shots at Barcelona Bar.
They’ve got a Top Gun shot with the song + hats and aviators. There’s a Full Metal Jacket shot that involves push-ups and being screamed at by a Drill Sargeant, and plenty other fun shots. Check it out. 55th and 8th. Find them on Instagram here.
So this isn’t a proper ‘list’ but instead I’m compiling the best answers from a thread on Reddit. Someone asked for the Weirdest Bar in NYC and hundreds of people had incredible answers. Here are the best weird bars aka NYC’s Weirdest Bars:
- Double Down Saloon — The most upvoted bar in the thread. They show vintage/bondage adult videos on the TVs. Booze is super cheap. There’s something call ‘a$$ juice’. It’s a spin-off of a Las Vegas punk bar. Located at Houston and Avenue A.
- DUFFS — This one’s in Williamsburg at Marcy Ave and S 5th. They have an electric chair, nonstop Heavy Metal music, a gimp cage, and a Wheel of Misfortune to spin where you can be rewarded or punished by booze
- Burp’s Castle — 2nd Ave and 7th in the East Village just down the block from McSorely’s. It’s a fake monastery and you’ll get ‘shushed’ but the bartenders
- Menhanata Bulgarian Bar — I’ve actually spent TWO birthdays here. It’s on Ludlow in the LES. They have a vodka chamber with bottles on the shelves and you dress up like a Soviet (jacket + hat) and are given a shot glass made of ice. You then have maybe 5 minutes to take as many shots as you possibly can. Maybe it’s 2 minutes. I’ve never been ot this bar without throwing up. That’s all downstairs. The upstairs is equally as weird.
- 169 Bar in the Lowe East Side — Leopard Print pool table. You can order oysters via text but many suggest you don’t. Everyone in the thread described this as ‘grimy’ but in a good way, whatever that means. It’s been so long since I’ve been there I don’t even remember the inside.
- Oscar Wilde Bar — 6th Ave and 27th Street. This place has arguably the coolest and most eclectic decor of any bar in Manhattan. Any list of NYC’s Weirdest Bars wouldn’t be complete without this bar.
- Beauty Bar — On 14th between 2nd and 3rd. Somehow it’s a place to dance without being a club. It’s a retro saloon but also a bar. Really strange vibes. It’s easy to get to, so there’s that.
- KGB Bar — 2nd Ave and 4th. The walls are littered with vintage soviet memorabilia. I stumbled in here to meet some people without having any clue what I was walking into and it was truly surreal. You order whatever comes to mind.
- Lucky 13 — Gowanus. Someone in the thread described it as “Suicide Girl Metal Burlesque” which sounds like one hell of an atmosphere. I’ve never been to this one.
- Otto’s Shrunken Head — 14th and Avenue B. I get why this is on a lot of people’s lists but I’ve never been in love with this bar. They have punch bowls. Blast Rockabilly. But I’ve always gotten a vibe from this place where it’s people who are looking for something unique and weird and not actually a weird and unique experience, if that makes sense.
- Barcelona Bar — 55th and 8th. If you go to one new bar on this list, make it this one. You will legitimately find me on Twitter (at @casspa) and thank me. Tell the bartenders I sent you and you want the weirdest shots they have. They used to light shots on fire but the FDNY stopped that. Maybe you’ll get lucky if you ask nicely.
- House of YES — Bushwick. This is more of a club atmosphere than one of NYC’s weirdest bars. But if you are looking for a unique experience then you should check this out.
- KENKA — technically it’s a Japanese restaurant on St. Marks’s and not a bar but it’s as weird as it gets
- La Caverna — Rivington in the LES. It feels like you’re inside of a cave. Check it out.
- Cowgirl Seahorse — Front and Frankfort St near the FDR. Have you ever wondered what a Canadian-themed Mexican restaurant might be like? Apparently, the food is legit.
- Surf Bar — Williamsburg. It is somewhat gimmicky. The floor is covered in sand so it’s like you’re walking on a beach the entire time. I once did a fantasy football draft here and cannot remember why. It’s a fun change of pace if you haven’t left the city in a while.
- Barely Disfigured – Cobble Hill. It is in a former brothel and described as a ‘sexy cocktail bar’. There are definitely some serious vibes coming out of this place. There’s a bedroom where you can chill and get hammered. Not much Cobble Hill love on the list of NYC’s Weirdest Bars but this one is supposedly excellent.
- The Iron Horse — Financial District. Mostly full of functional alcoholics. There’s a swing over the bar.
- Trailer Park Lounge — Chelsea. This is kind of a novelty bar but you’re drinking inside of a trailer so there’s that.
- Beetle House — 6th St and 2nd Ave. It’s a Tim Burton-themed bar.
There are some other bars listed in the Reddit thread. So if you’re looking for more of NYC’s Weirdest Bars you can check that thread out right here. But you should have PLENTY of source material above to work with on your next bar crawl of NYC’s weirdest bars.
And here’s me at Menhanata Bulgarian Bar for good measure. This is what they dress you up in for the ice chamber with vodka.
I’d be lying if I said I remember posing for that photograph. Everything is hazy after that ice chamber full of vodka.