East Village Craft Cocktail Tour

Sip Specialty Cocktails During this Two and a Half Hour East Village Tour

1 Participant Included - Add More?

About This Experience

General Information hide

Explore New York City’s East Village neighborhood during this two and a half hour Urban Cocktail Adventure. You will sip and savor several different drink creations while you listen to tales of speakeasies and gangsters.

This New York City Cocktail Tour begins when you meet with your friendly and knowledgeable Guide in Tompkins Square Park. From here, they will escort you and the rest of the group to three of Manhattan’s best cocktail bars. You will have the chance to get to know your bartenders as you learn about their concoctions. Throughout the tour you will discover how prohibition and gangsters influenced the bar scene. Plus, you’ll swing by New York’s premier wine and spirits store where your expert guide will show you what to look for when buying different spirits, highlighting the new local micro distillers.

So whether you are looking for the perfect way to start off your night out on the town in the Big Apple or a unique gift, this Craft Cocktail Tour of New York’s East Village is the Ticket!

Where It's Located hide

  • New York, New York

Who Is Included hide

The East Village Craft Cocktail Tour Experience Gifts Certificate is valid for one participants, unless additional participants are added to the certificate. There will be up to eleven additional participants on the tour.

This experience is not suitable for non-paying guests, and spectators.

When It Is Offered hide

The Cocktail Tours are offered seven days a week year-round, subject to availability. Tours typically begin at 6:00 PM.

How Long Is It hide

The NYC Cocktail Tours have a tour length of 2½ hours and a total duration of 2¾ hours.

Weather hide

The East Village Tours take place in all weather, but may be rescheduled by the Guide due to sever weather conditions.

What To Wear hide

Dress comfortably. Flat rubber-soled walking shoes are recommended for this culinary adventure.

Additional Information hide

Tours include stops at three different cocktail bars, a cocktail at each bar, a visit to the wine shop, and a snack so that participants aren't drinking on an empty stomach.

Participants should bring spending money as they will have the opportunity to purchase additional food, beverages, gifts and souvenirs on the tour.

Participants must be 21 years of age or older.

Gratuities for your tour guide are not included but are greatly appreciated and may be offered at the end of the event.

Specific stops on the tour are subject to change.


Inquire about this Experience

Reservation Information hide

All changes to reservations for the East Village Craft Cocktail Tour Experience require seven (7) days advance notice.

Xperience Certificates® cannot be exchanged once a reservation for the experience has been made.

Xperience Days recently visited the wonderful Urban Oyster for their East Village Craft Cocktail Tour. This includes all the ins and outs of the experience, so read more if you interested in purchasing!

The best way to explore New York City is simply by walking the streets, discovering the different neighbourhoods and stopping for food and drink at as many restaurants, cafes and street carts as humanly possible.

Well, that’s what I thought until last week, when I went on the Craft Cocktail Tour of the East Village; I can now surmise that the best way to explore NYC is by way of a cocktail tour. During this two-and-a-half-hour excursion we stopped off at three different bars in the East Village to sip different cocktails, while learning about the history of the cocktail movement in the city and how it evolved over time.


Happily, the tour kicked off with a snack. Lining your stomach before an evening of drinking is always a good idea, so this seemed pretty sensible… but these weren’t ordinary cupcakes. These were boozy cupcakes – very boozy cupcakes, where the alcohol hadn’t been cooked off at all. They tasted great, and we learned that people began baking boozy cupcakes during the prohibition era, when drinking was illegal, so no one could tell they were imbibing booze.

Prohibition became one of the main themes of the evening, and it was fascinating to learn how this movement shaped the alcohol scene in the U.S. Before prohibition kicked in in 1920, the cocktail business was booming, and the late 19th century and early 20th century were seen as the golden age of the cocktail. From 1920 – 1933, Americans had to find new, more surreptitious ways to enjoy a drink.

The first bar we went to was a Cuban-themed bar called Cienfuegos. It’s the type of bar you would walk right past if you didn’t know it was there; it’s basically just a doorway, but when you walk up the narrow staircase you’re greeted by a warm and buzzing bar. In keeping with the Cuban theme, the first drink we tried was a rum punch, which was served in a large communal bowl.

We ladled the punch into our glasses and got to sipping. It was delicious: the bold flavour of the dark rum was offset by the refreshing hints of Aperol, lime juice and cucumber. Though the punch was strong, we nibbled on some insanely good yuca fries to help keep us level headed. This was only the first stop, after all!

The next sojourn was an old speakeasy, William Barnacle Tavern, where we learned more about how prohibition affected the cocktail movement. The risk of police arriving and arresting drinkers was very real, so people no longer wanted to wait around while the bartender mixed a complex drink up. They wanted a quick fix… and what could be quicker than Absinthe?

At William Barnacle, we learned that absinthe was technically illegal in the U.S. until to 2007. This was due to a smear campaign against it, where critics insisted that one of the ingredients in absinthe – wormwood – had hallucinogenic properties. This isn’t true, but it took a long time to reach the conclusion that it wasn’t the wormwood that was causing the hallucinations… it was the alcohol.

We drank the absinthe in the traditional way: the absinthe is poured into a glass over sugar cubes positioned on slotted spoons. As the luminescent-green liquid drips onto the sugar, it’s then set alight to create a richer texture before cold water is dripped on too. Sweetened by the sugar, the absinthe had a much more mellow taste than I anticipated – I actually really enjoyed it, although if you don’t like aniseed it’s probably safe to say it won’t hit the spot.

The last stop was at The Late Late, an Irish-inspired bar located on Houston Street. The Late Late is modelled on a 1960’s period Irish residence, and is named after the Late Late Show, Ireland’s longest running TV talk show. Forget the idea of the stereotypical “Irish Pubs” that are so prevalent in the U.S. today; The Late Late utilises key ingredients of Irish hospitality and then adapts them to fit modern New York society.

The signature cocktail here is the Late Late Old Fashioned, a unique variation on an Irish-influenced classic. American Rye by Jim Beam is topped with rhubarb and wormwood bitters, and then a cherry-infused Guinness reduction is added. Lime zest gives the drink a refreshing citrus finish, and helps balance the roasted notes from the Guinness reduction and the sharp rhubarb bitters. While not a whiskey fan on the whole, I really enjoyed this drink. Though the idea of a cherry-infused Guinness reduction initially threw me, it’s safe to say I’m now a convert.

After we’d finished our drinks the tour was over… but the night was still young. Fuelled by our three different cocktails (as well as those boozy cupcakes), my friend and I decided to head back to where we started: Cienfuegos, for another round of that delicious punch.



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