Global Guides

The 10 Best Bars to Write From in Lower Manhattan

By Tallie Gabriel November 21st, 2018

Writing over a drink or two is not exactly a new concept. Famous writers have crafted entire personas around boozy scribbling, and New York City has long been their favorite place to do it. For those who prefer an afternoon writing session to a morning coffee shop stakeout, we’ve scouted the best bars south of midtown Manhattan for working and drinking. Qualifications included wifi, a quiet environment, and general inspirational atmosphere.

1. Sláinte (Bowery)

Slainte bar, Bowery, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Sláinte for Yelp

Named for the Gaelic word for “cheers,” Sláinte (pronounced slahn-jyah) is a spacious Bowery bar with plenty of homey tables to hunker down and work. It boasts a classic pub vibe complete with Irish bartenders and a great happy hour. If you need to spend a few productive hours over a pint or two of Guinness, Sláinte is your place.

2. Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor (West Village)

Arts and Crafts Bar, West Village, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Tim M. for Yelp

This punny bar’s name is in reference to the wide selection of craft beers and art adorning its walls. While this place sports a full bar, those of us who can’t go as hard as Hemingway and still stay productive will have plenty of brew to choose from. Their tap selection rotates regularly, so if tasting new craft selection helps fuel your creative process, this is the place for you.

3. The Immigrant Wine Bar & Tap Room (East Village)

Immigrant Wine Bar & Tap Room, East Village, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Ryan K. for Yelp

Pick your poison: One half of this East Village staple is a wine bar complete with cheese plates and chandeliers, and through the other door you’ll find local and imported drafts in the tap room. Space is limited, so if you plan to set up shop make sure you arrive before the couples on date night. The coziness can’t be beat, and the bartenders are usually up for some great conversation if you need a break from your work.

4. East Village Social (East Village)

East Village Social bar, East Village, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Mai-Liis M. for Yelp

Though writing is typically a pretty anti-social activity, the atmosphere at East Village Social is so warm (think string lights, dark wooden tables, and classic movies on overhead TVs), you might start feeling a little convivial. While the bar gets pretty lively during peak hours (and often features live music), weekdays before 9:00 PM are a perfect time to finish that latest assignment over a cocktail.

5. Vbar&cafè (West Village)

Vbar&cafe, West Village, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Alan L. for Yelp

Another homey beer-and-wine haunt, Vbar&cafè is no stranger to freelancers and students working within its walls. It can get crowded during meals and happy hour, but if you snag a spot you’re sure to be comfortable working in the bright, open environment for as many hours as necessary.

6. The Scratcher (Bowery)

The Scratcher bar, Bowery, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Ruwan J. for Yelp

A classic, no-nonsense pub with wooden tables and festive lights up year-round, this basement bar is perfect for those who want a distraction-free environment. They occasionally host live music, and if you find yourself with a case of writer’s block, the regulars are a great source of… interesting stories.

7. Spreadhouse Cafe (Lower East Side)

Spreadhouse Cafe, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Ara C. for Yelp

For those of you who work better in a funky setting, Spreadhouse is the way to go. Situated across from the Clemente Soto Vélez cultural center in the heart of the Lower East Side, this cafe offers a unique vibe and some extremely comfortable armchairs (if you can manage to actually get work done and not fall asleep in them). Spreadhouse also carries an excellent doughnut selection and a solid daily happy hour.

8. SoHo Room (SoHo)

SoHo Room, SoHo, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Mat M. for Yelp

Dark wood, exposed brick, and plush couches make this sports bar (yeah, sports bar) a secret writing haven. As long as you don’t try to work when a game’s on, you’re golden. SoHo Room might not be a craft beer seeker’s first pick, but a slew of cocktails and an extensive wine list can get your creative juices flowing.

9. The Gray Mare (East Village)

The Gray Mare bar, East Village, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Ruwan J. for Yelp

The Gray Mare has it all—strong cocktails, an extensive beer and wine list, and quite a few candlelit tables to work from. If you want to pretend you are a famous British author typing out your next masterpiece, this place provides the right environment. Even if, for some reason, you don’t want to do that, the friendly staff and excellent fish tacos still make it a great writing bar.

10. Ace Hotel NYC (Flatiron)

Ace Hotel bar, Flatiron, Manhattan
Photo courtesy of Anya B. for Yelp

Yes, we’re creeping up into not-quite-lower-Manhattan territory with this one, but Ace Hotel’s lobby bar is truly worth it. Write on a couch, giant armchair, or at a marble table among some of the city’s hippest inhabitants. The people-watching can’t be beat, and chances are you’ll overhear some pretty entertaining conversations.

Did we miss your favorite boozy workspace? Tweet at us and let us know where else we need to be writing!

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