5 Best Rum Bars in New York City

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Rum–the drink of pirates and paradise. Though it’s often reserved for warm summer evenings and tiki bar barbecues, there is no law that mandates rum must be drunk between the months of June and August. Regardless of the season, take a mini vacation by sipping a beverage commonly associated with beach bums and Caribbean cruises.  Here are 5 of the best bars for drinking rum in New York City.

Rum House

With a name like “Rum House,” you would hope it would be a reputable establishment for guzzling piña coladas and Dark ‘N’ Stormies. Fortunately, the Rum House lives up to its name and delivers some of the most delectable rum-based concoctions in Manhattan. Though it’s located in Times Square, the speakeasy atmosphere helps keep the tourists at bay. Many of the guests are locals or work in the area. With dozens of different rums and an expert staff, the cocktail menu is laden with masterfully crafted classic choices like Tortugas, Mojitos and Old Fashioneds. The Rum House keeps the food menu basic with salty snacks like nuts, popcorn, pretzels and hotdogs.

The Rum House
228 West 47th St.
(646) 490-6924

PKNY

Short for Pain Killer New York, PKNY plays the tiki bar gimmick hard. The interior design is gaudy and shameless, or, as the PKNY website states, packed with “simulated Polynesian decor based upon a romanticized Western concept of primitive tropical cultures.” The drinks are tropical and strong with lots of Mai Tais, punch and frozen beverages. The most popular item is the Scorpion Bowl, of which there are a number of varieties. They can be ordered for a single person, a couple or a group of four or more. The Jolly Stomper is highly recommended. It contains gin, lime juice, house-made orgeat, Falernum, red wine and, of course, a little fire (literally flames) in the middle.

PKNY
49 Essex St.
(212) 777-8454

Cienfuegos

This East Village Cuban oasis is styled to be a little slice of Latin American paradise amid the hustle and bustle of frenetic Manhattan. Named for a city excelling in sugar cane and rum production, the decor and temperament of Cienfuegos mirrors the atmosphere of a breezy Cuban port town. The bar specializes in punch bowls and rum cocktails. For a taste of something sweet, try the Anchor Punch (Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, guava, ginger, lime and apricot liquor) or the Ancient Mariner (El Dorado 12, Appleton V/X, lime, grapefruit, vanilla and Allspice). Food is definitely secondary here, but you can certainly grab a plate of huevos rellenos or camarones borrachos to compliment your rum.

Cienfuegos
95 Avenue A
(212) 614-6818

Otto’s Shrunken Head

Another gimmicky tiki bar, Otto’s Shrunken Head in the East Village combines strong rum-based drinks with typical tiki decor and live musical performances. Otto’s takes pride in its fine ingredients and fresh juices, mixing some of the most flavorful tiki drinks New York has to offer. Because drinks are served in wildly decorative tiki cups, guests must pay a $5 deposit they will get back when and if the cup is returned. The signature drink is the Shrunken Head, and other notable mixtures include names like Scurvy Dog, Stormy Skull and Patty’s Poison. Plenty of frozen drinks are available as well, including one curiosity named the German Chocolate Cake.

Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 East 14th St.
(212) 228-2240

Nights and Weekends

Over in Brooklyn, Nights and Weekends is a premier rum bar styled after restaurants and watering holes in Cuba and the West Indies. While the alcohol list is extensive and varied, rum drinks dominate the board. The list includes options ranging from Ron Zapaca to St. James Royal Ambre to Flor de Cana (4 and 7 year). Cocktails are evenly priced at $10 apiece. Slip into a Caribbean paradise by trying the Cuban Firing Squad (Bank 5 rum, lime, pomegranate molasses, ginger beer and angostura bitters) or the Smokalada (Vida Mezcal, Amaretto, coconut puree, pineapple and lime). Very cool, very Brooklyn.

Nights and Weekends
1 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn
(718) 383-5349