Spring’s slow arrival in New York City has teased locals with gorgeous, bright days nestled between dreary, rainy ones. But as the city emerges from the grasp of winter, flowers bloom in the park and imbibers are ready to shake off the cold and sip on flavors of this crisp season. What better way to rejoice over warmer weather and pretty flora than with an ultra-fresh cocktail? Here are eleven New York bars where you can take some time to stop and smell (and drink) the flowers.
Jue Lan Club
(49 West 20th Street; 656-524-7409)
Located in what was the infamous Limelight Building, Jue Lan Club pays tribute to the party atmosphere of its predecessor with its spirited mood, eclectic decor, and delicious cocktails. Formerly a church, the Gothic Revival brownstone building boasts a beautiful courtyard, now named the Imperial Garden. To fete the outdoor patio, mixologist Riana Wyatt created Madame Adventurist ($15), a Herradura tequila-based cocktail garnished with a lovely purple hibiscus flower.
(398 West Broadway; 646-392-7868)
Stepping into the Ladurée tea salon in Soho is like stepping into a different country — and a different century. The Versailles-inspired furnishings and fragrant desserts are a feast for the senses, plunging guests into a time long past. An idyllic garden sits in the back of the salon, with green iron chairs reminiscent of those in Paris’s Jardin du Luxembourg. The Ispahan ($16) cocktail, created in Paris, is a floral and fruity delight, with Chambord, lychee liqueur, rose syrup, and garnished with a single rose petal.
Kings County Imperial
(20 Skillman Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-610-2000)
This Chinese-American restaurant just opened in 2015 and has garnered both attention and acclaim for its delectable cuisine. But the food isn’t the only star at this Williamsburg eatery — beverage director Richard Murphy has crafted a superb cocktail list. The Coco Palms ($12) is a burst of flavors, including fresh pineapple juice, Denizen rum, blue curaçao, and house-made macadamia nut syrup. Bright, lively, and edible nasturtiums finish off the drink — and better yet, they’re grown in the backyard. Look out for the location’s new patio opening later this spring.
(221 Smith Street, Brooklyn; 347-987-3260)
It’s one of the best new bars in NYC, it boasts the best bartender in America, it has a killer fireplace, and it even has a backyard patio. Leyenda truly does have it all. Sip on Ivy Mix’s mezcal-and-rum Tia Mia ($13), topped off with a gorgeous orchid.
Conrad New York
(102 North End Avenue, 212-945-0100)
The Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar at the Conrad Hotel in beautiful Battery Park offers great views of the sunset on the Hudson. Check out the orchid-garnished Topsy Turvy ($18) made with Grey Goose, Cointreau, and fresh-squeezed oranges. (You can also get the Topsy Turvy at the Conrad’s indoor bar, ATRIO.)
(209 E. 49th Street; 212-751-4545)
The terrace at the Pampano Restaurant in midtown Manhattan is lined with greenery, unifying city and nature in one lovely location. The coastal Mexican cuisine and breezy milieu fit perfectly with Ciro Garzon’s Margarita Pampano ($14), garnished with a dried hibiscus.
Leaf Bar & Lounge
(133-42 39th Ave, 10th floor, Flushing; 718-865-8158)
Its name, Leaf Bar & Lounge, describes the space perfectly. With cushioned lounge chairs and leafy bushes encircling the outdoor oasis, this Flushing rooftop bar elevates the area to a new height. Matcha has been an increasingly popular cocktail ingredient these days, and mixologist Madeleine Liu serves it well. Try her delicious take on the green tea, Matcha Do About Nothing ($12), an egg white-based cocktail garnished with a plum-blossom flower.
(99 Gansevoort Street, 8th Floor; 212-570-3670)
On the 8th floor of the Whitney sits the Studio Cafe, featuring plenty of sights and delights for museum guests. In the colder months, visitors can bask in natural lighting thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. But in better weather, the windows open onto an airy terrace with a breathtaking skyline view. Enjoy spring with Due West ($13), a new lavender-sprig cocktail by beverage director Eduardo Porto Carreiro.
Edi & the Wolf
(102 Avenue C; 212-598-1040)
This cozy and eclectic Alphabet City spot has an adorable garden patio to match its rustic interior, where plants hang overhead. Enjoy the Lavender Lady ($14) with lavender-infused Grey Goose, crème de violette, and — of course — a lavender-sprig garnish.
(79-81 Macdougal Street; 212-982-5275)
Dante has been around since 1915, and over the years, this quintessentially New York locale has become known for its classic cocktails with a seasonal spin. Dante’s Negroni Bianco ($9), served at aperitivo hour, embodies its classic-yet-contemporary style. Made with Brooklyn Gin, quinquina, bianco vermouth, and lemon bitters, the drink comes garnished with a delicate sprig of baby’s breath. The Negroni Bianco is best enjoyed outdoors at the café’s sidewalk seating.
(213 N 8th St, Brooklyn; 347-763-1506)
For those who want to drink alfresco but don’t love the unpredictability of actually being in nature, Brooklyn Winery has what you’re looking for. Their atrium has the perks of the great outdoors with the comfort of being indoors. Sit under the skylight next to the living wall, order off-menu, and ask for the brandy-based Brooklyn Botanica by mixologist Adam Cornelius. This cocktail is mixed with a homemade “bouquet-of-flowers” simple syrup — made from dried hibiscus flowers, dried lavender flowers, and dried rosebuds.