While we waited out the pandemic working from home in our pajamas, the hospitality industry got busy imagining, planning and eventually opening some of the best bars in the city. The pandemic was no match for these NYC bar openings, and we are here to tell you where you can go to have fun right now in the Hobnob NYC’s Trendiest Bars report. 

CHAPEL BAR is at the top of our list for a reason. (see photo at the top of this post) The Swedish Photography Museum, Fotografiska, took over 281 Park Avenue South, along with a small chapel, creating a haven for creative types. At last, we have a youthful art community hang-out. To enter you will need a membership at Fotografiska, or know someone who has one. The members-only bar, housed inside a former 19th century church, brings forth tranquility and glamour. Made over by an award-winning design firm, Roman and Willams, the exclusive social club pays homage to the rich history of the chapel, inviting conversation and inspiration. Chapel Bar events are consistently inviting unforgettable talent and like-minded thinkers to mingle and sip on refreshing cocktail choices. 

The inside of Chapel Bar is intimate in all the best ways with lounge style seating, and a private nook inside the former confessional. As any chapel would, the historical structure has high ceilings, giving the designers an ideal spot for a fabulous chandelier. This lounge space is small but feels flowy, with the bar being the focal point. The staff is gorgeous and aims to make you happy so all you have to do is hang back, drink your drink, snack on a small bite of food. This is the kind of place where you can let your imagination run wild. To join the Culturati, become a member at Fotografiska. 

Chapel Bar, 275 Park Ave S (betw 21st/22nd St)

Spring of 2021 graced us with BANDITS. Enter the retro diner-themed cocktail bar for creative cocktails, fun bites of food, and funky decor unlike anything else in the city. Do not let the word diner fool you. Bandits might have replaced Daddy-O but this bar is artfully done with stylish fixtures and special details. Design studio, Yakka, made the space look like a disco diner with floor to ceiling displays of 60s and 70s accents. The seats are plush, the colors remind us of the 70s show, and the ceiling will make you want to get up and dance. 

Whether you are coming in solo or with a group, grabbing a drink and a bite to eat here is always fun. We are not ashamed to say that we continue to come back here and have tried most of the cocktails on the menu. Here are our favorites. Bradshaw On Bedford and The Poolboy. If you feel snackish, try the baked clams or tots, done four different ways. 

Bandits, 44 Bedford St (SE corner of Leroy St) 

For an elegant experience in the sky try OVERSTORY, located on the 64th floor of 70 Pine Street in the Financial District. From the building lobby, to the elevator, to the stairwell leading to the bar, the trip to the bar alone is impressive and worth your visit. This luxe bar is right out of Mad Men, with a wrap-around terrace, high-end retro interiors and 360-degree views of the city. We highly recommend a reservation, and if you experience a wait, grab a drink at their ground-floor restaurant, Saga. 

The team behind Saga Restaurant and Overstory promises to increase terrace seating as the weather heats up. If you are looking to impress your in-laws or romance a date, go there. Overstory is promising to be a stylish summer escape. 

Overstory, 70 Pine St (betw William/Pearl St), 64th Floor

SYDNEY’S FIVE is an unpretentious bar dreamed up by five friends. Go out like a native New Yorker and snag a good seat at a bar during the week. This is the kind of place you come to in order to catch up with an old friend, while snacking on all-you-can-eat popcorn. The atmosphere is relaxing and has a “vacation at a relatives beach house” type of decor. 

From a pricey martini to an affordable beer, the menu at Sidney’s Five offers an assortment of options for all to enjoy! We enjoyed a Lazie Suzie and Smoke and Flowers. For food, we recommend the shrimp cocktail, oysters, and lamb meatballs. And because parting is such sweet sorrow, a surprise of chocolate covered strawberries arrives as soon as you pay your bill. We would come in just for the sweet surprises. 

Sydney’s Five, 103 1st Ave (betw 6th/7th St)

NOTHING REALLY MATTERS is exactly the kind of thing we might say these days, however it is also the name of this bar. Located inside the 50th St Subway Station going downtown to South Ferry, Nothing Really Matters is an underground bar that you have to see to believe. As with many things in the city, never judge a book by its cover. The bar owner, Adrien Gallo, transformed a drab blank space into a welcoming bar with soft lighting and really good drinks. 

The entrance to a subway station might feel dystopian, but the truth is that the idea for this bar was born before the pandemic. Bringing in a date or your friends might make you look cool, and the drinks alone are worth a visit. Expect to see locals and tourists, after all, the subway is where the worlds meet. (Some may remember this space as Siberia Bar, which opened in 1997, and was twice named “Best Dive Bar” by Zagat’s.)

Nothing Really Matters, 1627 Broadway (SW corner 50th St), Instagram @nothingreallymattersbar

If an elegant adventure is more your speed, try the newest kid on the block. THE NINES opened this January and it is everything we hoped the roaring 20s would bring. This stylish supper club is the most ideal place for anyone looking for a good time that involves a piano and glamorous decor. The fashionable crowd no longer needs to go uptown for a touch of class. The combination of soft vintage and custom fabrics, lush red decor and live music makes this swanky spot the new Bemelmans Bar for the downtown crowd. 

The Noho bar and restaurant is located in the former hotspot, Acme. Be ready to spend because cocktails here can get pricey. Restaurateur Jon Neidich wanted to take things in a new direction and re-created a supper club worthy of your post pandemic plans. While we are not over the threshold yet, there is nothing stopping us from dreaming with an expensive cocktail in hand. For a tranquil piano bar atmosphere go on a weekday. 

The Nines, 9 Great Jones St (betw Lafayette/Broadway)