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Speakeasies and Cocktails of NYC Tour Highlights
This happy hour tour is taking you to the center of New York’s booming cocktail culture as we visit some of the best bars in the city. Along the way, we sample delicious libations, swap tales of speakeasies and gangsters, shop for new locally produced spirits, learn how to make craft cocktails, and discover some of the best places to grab a drink in the Big Apple.
- Taste delicious craft cocktails at some of New York’s best bars
- Learn how prohibition shaped NYC, and the speakeasies and gangsters who influenced the city’s cocktail culture
- Discover new spirits from local micro-distilleries
- Find the best tucked-away places to grab a drink in New York’s East Village
- Learn how bartenders are revolutionising cocktails in America with fresh, artisanal ingredients
- Each Lonely Planet Experience comes with six-months free access to Lonely Planet’s Guides App which includes over 8,000 destinations guides and unbeatable discounts to Lonely Planet Guidebooks.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide and three cocktail tastings
Exclusions: Additional food and drink, bottles of spirits, souvenirs, and tips and gratuities for the guide
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Meeting point: Corner of Avenue A and St. Mark’s Place at the entrance to Tompkins Square Park. Meet on the park side of the intersection (east side). You must bring a government-issued photo ID as proof of age. Passports and/or driver’s licenses are acceptable.
- Starting time: 6.00 PM
- Ending point: Near the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones St. in the East Village
Should I book a public tour or a private tour?
- Set departure time
- Slight less expensive for small groups
- Meet other travelers and locals and make new friends
- Pick your departure time
- Ability to customize the tour for your specific preferences
- Ability to add a hotel pick up
Your NYC cocktail tour starts in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, a site that’s famed for being the gathering place for political radicals and socialists, as well as the city’s immigrant poor — an appropriate place to begin since so much of NYC’s cocktail culture was invented by these very same people.
The East Village of New York was once an immigrant neighborhood, but today is one of the prime nightlife districts of the city, with great restaurants, bars, and theaters — and we’re taking you to discover the best local haunts and hidden corners.
We start out at a drinking fountain dedicated by a temperance advocate who extolled the virtues of water over whiskey. But don’t worry, we’re not going to listen to him. Instead, we’re taking you to visit three of New York City’s best cocktail bars, where we sample drinks, meet the people behind the bars, and learn how their craft cocktails are made.
Along the way, hear stories of how the modern cocktail came to be, how prohibition in America affected the bar scene, and how cocktails are enjoying a resurgence as a result of the craft distilling and cocktail movement.
We keep the discussion going with visits to the sites of former speakeasies (hidden illegal bars that operated during the prohibition era) and share tales of the gangsters and politicians that kept the liquor flowing despite the 18th Amendment.
We also swing by New York’s premier wine and spirits store, Astor Wines, where our expert guides can help you pick out the perfect boozy souvenir to take home with you after the tour. We show you what to look for when buying different spirits and highlight the new local micro-distillers that have opened up over the last several years and are producing delicious whiskeys, rums, vodkas, and gins.
In between stops, you learn all about the East Village, its history, and what is happening there today, including where to eat, drink, and play.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, three cocktails, and a light snack
Exclusions: Additional food and drink, bottles of spirits, souvenirs, and tips and gratuities for the guide.
Dress standard: Dress should be appropriate for a night out. Please avoid wearing shorts, baseball hats, t-shirts, or flip-flop (thong) sandals.
Your Trip: For your tour you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Child Policy: Travelers under 21 years of age are not permitted to join this tour.
Mrs. Vicki W. from USA traveled on 25 Sep 2017:
This tour enriched my visit to NYC immensely. Brian Hoffman was very knowledgeable and his enthusiasm was contagious! Loved this! I learned so much about NYC and will encourage anyone I hear that is headed that way to take the tour and request Brian!
Mr. Luke H. from Canada traveled on 30 Apr 2017:
We did the Cocktail tour in New York, Joshua was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining! The choice of locations we went to were amazing! A mixture of history and stunningly crafted cocktails! We had a blast and will be recommending this tour to anyone we know visiting New York!
Mrs. Katherine D. from USA traveled on 11 Apr 2017:
This was the 2nd time doing thie craft cocktail tour with Brian. We brought other friends and wanted them to experience it because we had so much fun the first time. The second time was just as good and we learned even more about New York and its culture and we also gained a lot of ideas for the rest of our trip .We look forward to doing another tour with Brian in the future
Ms. Rebecca C. from USA traveled on 22 Mar 2017:
Brian was an incredibly enthusiastic and flexible tour guide. Due to inclement weather, I was concerned that the quality of the tour might be affected, however Brian made it so fun and enjoyable (despite the sleet and rain!!). The cocktail tour was a gift for my friend, and Brian was thoughtful enough to order a birthday dessert (with a candle for her to blow out!).
Ms. Candice M. from Australia traveled on 10 Mar 2017:
Brian our guide was FANTASTIC! He is so passionate about what he does and it made the experience so much more enjoyable. He was VERY helpful, even with stuff NOT relating to the tour. He gave places that we could find Avo on toast in New York at an Australian Cafe and it was amazing! He also helped us track down a particular bottle of Brooklyn Gin that we bought on the tour which was stolen!
Mrs. Marian J. from Netherland traveled on 06 Mar 2017:
Brian is a very knowledgeable guide and I enjoyed the tour a lot.
Mr. Robert D. from USA traveled on 22 Feb 2017:
We were uncomfortable with the many political comments made by our fellow tourists but that doesn’t reflect at all on Josh or your company. Josh was wonderful and we would take another tour with him anytime. He did a great job!
Mr. Flynn F. from USA traveled on 12 Dec 2016:
Josh was a fantastic guide. His knowledge of the area, tour topics, and history were on point. Not enough high rating buttons on the page to do our tour justice.
Mr. Kristina S. from USA traveled on 16 Nov 2016:
The Craft Cocktail Tour was fabulous. We had the benefit of Brian serving as host and tour guide. He was outstanding – his enthusiasm and knowledge could not be beat!
Ms. Hillary P. from New Zealand traveled on 09 Nov 2016:
Great tour with Brian who was knowledgeable and was a fantastic story teller. We went to bars that we would never have ventured into before and learnt about the art of cocktail making. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and will look forward to the next one!
Mr. James K. from USA traveled on 05 Oct 2016:
Brian was exceptional, resourceful and an awesome guide. I’ll be back for more tours!
Ms. Philippa W. from Australia traveled on 05 Sep 2016:
Brian was a most gracious host, particularly given I was the only one on the tour. Thank you to Brian for his knowledge and friendly enthusiasm – it was a great evening.
Mr. Chez C. from USA traveled on 29 Aug 2016:
Fantastic experience! Our guide (Joshua?) was outstanding. Will absolutely recommend to other friends in NYC.
Ms. Holly F. from Australia traveled on 01 Jun 2016:
Great guide (Brian), interesting and tasty drinks, cool bars and really good insight into the history and local East Village area
Mrs. rachael w. from United Kingdom traveled on 20 Jan 2016:
it was great to see a different side of new york, away from the major hub and usual tourist sites, trying new and exciting cocktails, soaking up the true stories and sites of a bygone age of prohibition
Ms. Jenna L. from USA traveled on 20 Jan 2016:
Brian was awesome! He picked some really cool spots to check out and he knew so much about the culture and history of the area. My only complaint was that the group was a little large (14 people) so that made it feel crowded at times when we were in the bars. Thank you Brian for being a great tour guide! We will definitely be back.
Ms. Carrie L. from USA traveled on 14 Dec 2015:
Brian was very enthusiastic and showed us some places i would have either not gone in or didnt know they were there. I always like to learn something new, even if im not fond of the tastes.
I think it would be better to wait for the guide outside the park. The rats were very
large and not afraid.
Mrs. Kim G. from Australia traveled on 30 Jul 2015:
This tour was a lot of fun! We visited some great little bars that we wouldn’t have found on our own and Josh educated us on speakeasies and prohibition. Really good way to explore the east village.
Mr. Kent C. from Canada traveled on 14 Jul 2015:
I had an awesome time hanging out with our tour guide, Brian. Brian was a great guide – he was very knowledgable and enthusiastic. I highly recommend attending this tour as the ‘speakeasy’ bars that we went to were very cool and nostalgic!