World's Most Iconic Bars, Part 4

Vogue magazine says it's "the best bar in North America."

The highly regarded website, World's50Best, ranks it #22 in the world.

And yet, when you go to the address listed online, there's no sign outside to tell you that you're in the right place. Just a simple "AB" and some instructions on a metal door.

The "AB" stands for "Attaboy," widely regarded as one of New York's coolest and most influential watering holes—indeed, it is lauded by many as one of the best on the planet.

Attaboy is a true New York bar; it likes doing things its own way. They don't take reservations. They only admit parties of six or less. They don't have menus. Their website is a landing page with an address and a phone number. You wanna know more? See you at 134 Eldridge Street.

Inside, Attaboy's cozy speakeasy space (28 seats) is all about the cocktails. The whole place is run on the "dealer's choice" system. Patrons tell the bartenders the kind of cocktail they feel like drinking and—after a certain exchange of ideas—the bartenders go to work.

If you've read any of our other bar profiles in this series—Harry's New York Bar, American Bar at The Savoy, El Floridita—you may have noted that each of those iconic places is steeped in a culture of elegance and exclusivity that gives them a unique status, makes them famous, and gives them great visibility. Attaboy, on the other hand, is small, dark, and hidden. It embraces the speakeasy ethic of operating under the radar, accessible only to the cognoscenti. This distinct lack of outward marketing and exposure is exactly what has fueled Attaboy's diehard and cultish following.

Attaboy is not without its vaunted history. The space used to house Milk & Honey, another giant in the cocktail world. Previous owner Sasha Petraske was an industry legend. She opened in 1999 and is credited with bringing the speakeasy-centric reverence for the art of the cocktail back into vogue. Milk & Honey was the first bar in the modern cocktail revival to forgo menus—it put the art of mixology front and center and let the creativity and skill of its bartenders take flight.

And take flight it did. Two of Petraske's protégés—Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy—co-owners of Attaboy—are credited with creating some of the revival's most enduring classics. Ross invented the Penicillin (Scotch, lemon juice, and ginger-honey syrup) and the Paper Plane (bourbon, Italian orange bitters, amaro, and lemon juice) at Attaboy. And McIlroy invented his celebrated Manhattan variation, the Greenpoint (rye, Chartreuse, vermouth) within these walls as well.
Other iconic bars around the world have created classic, enduring, signature cocktails—and have played host to high society and celebrities of all kinds. Attaboy, however, has built its unique reputation—not by shining the spotlight on who's sitting at the bar—but rather by shining it on the talented artisans behind it; dedicated pros who shake and stir some of the world's most creative and interesting cocktails.