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We’re in the thick of summer and everybody is packing onto rooftops. Considering that heat rises, this seems like a counterintuitive way to cool off, especially in muggy Manhattan. For those who choose to head the other way, here are our favorite underground NYC hangouts.

The Ship

The nautically themed underground bar stays sleek with white brick and open-faced ventilation pipes with closed faces reminiscent of planets. Newcomers can’t go wrong with the artichoke goat cheese spread and Mount Vesuvius—scotch, orange juice, pineapple, and coconut served on crushed ice with nutmeg and cinnamon.

158 Lafayette St
New York, NY

 

La Esquina

Look like you’re in the know by bringing a date or friend to an unassuming, tiny taqueria in SoHo. With reservations, you will be led behind the serving counter, through a secret door, and downstairs to a subterranean, dim-lit brasserie and tequila bar. La Esquina is more than a fun surprise though, it serves delicious food across the board from shellfish ceviche to cheesy Mexican corn.

114 Kenmare St
New York, NY

 

Pravda

Once again, underground, Pravda truly makes you feel like you’ve left New York City with its cherry red USSR motif and wide selection of caviar and vodka. Not down for the straight shots? This is the perfect place to grab a moscow mule with ginger vodka, syrup, and fresh lime juice.

281 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012

Trading Post

Underneath its ground floor restaurant, the Trading Post’s cellar bar keeps customers cool with stone walls and what they refer to as “experimental cocktails.” Their signature cosmo is not the bright-blue concoction from Sex and the City, but an eclectic mixture of Tullamore Dew Whiskey, peach and cranberry juice.

170 John St
New York, NY 10038

Underballs at Meatball Shop

A trendy NYC chain, the Meatball Shop has a little something extra sitting below its Chelsea location. A classy room with tile floors and amber lighting, this underground bar in NYC serves a memorable (or, after a few rounds, potentially forgettable)Whiskey Float with citrus liqueur, vanilla ice cream, and root beer.

200 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
image via flickr