The Tippler: An Insiders-Esque Escape

My recent trip to the Food Network Studios exposed me to the bustling world above what’s arguably NYC’s busiest marketplace–Chelsea Market–but it didn’t prepare me for the subdued, quiet, and totally awesome vibe of the acclaimed bar that calls the market’s basement home.

You have to enter The Tippler from outside the marketplace, which could be what lends the brick and mortar interior its secretive vibe, because unless you’ve been there it’s certainly hard to find.  (My partner in crime and I had to ask for directions…twice.)

Characterized by antique brick archways, salvaged metal stools and cast-iron accents, the dimly-lit bar offered us a welcome escape from the both the sultry summer weather and hordes of tourists and shoppers in the bustling Meatpacking district.

When glancing at their menu the phrase “Lushies” instantly jumped out at me (insert joke about my drinking habits here…haha, fine, shut up).  I went for the “Wise Old Sage,” an intense combination of white rum, “creole shrubb,” grapefruit, sage, and Siropp de Canne that gets tossed into a blender and landed in front of me fully frozen and delicious, garnished with a perfect sage leaf.


It was delicious–super refreshing and sweet, though the sage added complexity and great flavor that kept the drink from being too much like a 7-Eleven Surpee. Win.

Their wines by the glass offered enticing options and variety at a decent price in an oft-overpriced neighborhood.  We tried the Vera 2010 Vinho Verde which was light and refreshing (as you’d expect from the classic Portuguese wine of summer) but had an overtly tart finish I didn’t love.

The Tippler’s definitely the kind of place to take visitors–the basement entrance and eerily cool silent interior makes you look like a true NYC insider.

The Tippler Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Alcoholic smoothies, like a classic  Slushpuppy all grown up.

The HUGE array of garnishes and whole fruit ingredients arranged across the bar–these cocktails are fresh!


Fun Facts: The Tippler calls itself, “A New York Icon 123 years in the making,” since its basement lair has been in existence since the 1800s.

Know Before You Go: The entrance to this “neighborhood bar no matter where you’re from” is on 15th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, a few yards from the “Arcade” entrance of Chelsea Market.  Look for a small ramp, and don’t expect to see a sign.


  • July 30, 2012
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