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Ace Hotel You can't do a New York bar crawl without hitting at least one truly trendy destination - and if it's one where you can drink from a gravity-poured barrel of cask-conditioned ale before heading to your room upstairs, so much the better. The lobby of this hotel, an Oregon import, buzzes from morning to late night, starting with espresso shots at the lone eastern outlet of Stumptown Coffee and later with plaid-shirted types quaffing pints from Brooklyn's Sixpoint Craft Ales and old-school spirits like Michter's Rye. 20 West 29th St.;, 212-679-2222

Blind Tiger Since its move from one part of Greenwich Village to another, the Blind Tiger (named for the imaginary attractions 19th-century bars advertised to skirt liquor laws) is better than ever. The sandwiches and daily specials from the kitchen complement the 28 taps and more than 50 bottles of imported and domestic craft brews, but the real appeal here is the exceptional knowledge of the staff and their honest interest in finding the best possible brew to suit your individual tastes. 281 Bleecker St.; 212-462-4682

Brandy Library Imagine a truly elegant country club, complete with soft leather seating, a calming atmosphere and congenial yet deferential service. Now surround that scene with bottles of seemingly every spirit known to man, and you will have a picture of the Brandy Library. Brandies, naturally, take pride of place, but not at the expense of superb listings of whiskies, rums, tequilas and other spirits, plus a laudable cocktail menu and "bar food" ranging from sushi to prosciutto-wrapped figs. Arrive early to secure a table and you may never want to leave. 25 North Moore St.; 212-226-5545

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dba When it comes to East Coast beer bars, this funky near-dive on the edge of the Lower East Side can at least credibly claim great-uncle status. Other bars boast more than its 15 taps and duo of hand pumps, or a bottle selection grander than its well-chosen chalkboard list, but few can claim the passion with which dba pursues its mandate of quality over quantity in all things liquid. The bar's web address says it all: drinkgoodstuff.com. 41 First Avenue, 212-475-5097

Decibel This basement temple to fermented rice is like no sake bar you've ever experienced. Entirely unassuming from the outside, the tiny front bar and entry give only a hint of the eccentricities hidden in the larger back room, where the main decor is graffiti, the lighting casts a continuous twilight and patrons eagerly sample from one of the more astute sake menus in North America. Expect to hear as much Japanese as English spoken, testament to Decibel's offbeat authenticity. 240 East 9th St.; 212-979-2733

PDT If the fact that you enter the premises through a fake telephone booth in an East Village hot dog joint weren't enough to place this speakeasy-style cocktail bar on your radar, the hip atmosphere, drinks list designed by celebrated mixologist James Meehan and even the retro glassware would surely get it there. Standing is discouraged, so reservations are as essential as the ever-evolving cocktail list is tempting. 113 St. Mark's Place; 212-614-0386

Pegu Club While a walk upstairs to the Pegu Club might not quite feel like a trip to another land, it certainly does seem a bit like a visit to another time, when life was unhurried, good manners were assumed and cocktails were crafted with care. Indeed, this SoHo bar, one of the progenitors of the current cocktail revival, was styled by drinks maven Audrey Saunders as a sort of homage to the original Golden Era of the cocktail, and all the civility that went with it. 77 West Houston St.; 212-473-7348

Spuyten Duyvil It takes a lot to get most visitors to Manhattan off the island, but this eclectic little bar in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Williamsburg is worth a subway ride. Its walls covered in such curiosities as vintage maps and pharmaceutical posters, the "Spitting Devil" specializes in beers as odd and unusual as its decor, including tart red ales from Italy, craft-brewed oddities from the West Coast and eccentric beers from the smallest and most idiosyncratic of Belgian breweries. If you're hungry, try their nearby barbecue joint, Fette Sau. 359 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn; 718-963-4140

Terroir Paul Grieco, the Canadian co-owner of Terroir, is as passionate about wine as he is dismissive of the pretense that often accompanies it, and he lets you know his feelings through the rather riotous menu of this otherwise modest wine bar. Expect 1970s punk-rock graphics on the page, ample irreverence in the attitude and a well-priced list of wines by the glass and bottle that ranges from the affordable and accessible to the esoteric. 413 East 12th St.; no phone

St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar It's hard to imagine anything more out-of-place than a haggis in Manhattan, yet there it is on the menu of this paean to all things Celtic and barley-based. And the haggis is made in-house, no less. To accompany the infamous Scottish delicacy is a voluminous array of single malt whiskies, a more-than-adequate selection of ales and kilt-clad bartenders to guide you through it all. 140 West 46th St.; 212-840-8413

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