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What to Order at Dante, One of the World’s Best Bars

The NYC bar has claimed the top spot on The World’s 50 Best Bars list and was named Best American Restaurant Bar and World’s Best Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards

Bar seating at Dante / Photo: Courtesy of Steve Freihon

A Greenwich Village landmark, Dante dates to 1915, when Caffé Dante opened its doors on MacDougal Street as a meeting place for Italian immigrants. In 1971, Mario Flotta converted Dante into a restaurant offering a piece of Italy for the community and local celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Whoopi Goldberg and Jerry Seinfeld. Then, in 2015, another big change happened when the Flotta family turned over Dante to an Australian couple, Linden Pride and Nathalie Hudson, who with limited funds but the right vision and love transformed this century-old establishment into what would become the number-one bar in the world. Just four years later, it captured the top spot on The World’s 50 Best Bars list and was named Best American Restaurant Bar and World’s Best Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Today, though Dante has a second beautiful location in the West Village, I still opt for the original because of the historic references that make this a better choice for those with romantic personalities.

Dante’s Garibaldi / Photo: Courtesy of Steve Freihon

Cocktails are a take on the classics but akin to remastered dance music. Frothy and thick, the Fluffy Margarita Royale combines Olmeca Altos tequila with orange dry curaçao, fluffy clementine, lime juice, saffron and prosecco. A shawl of black-lava salt drapes one side of an ice-filled glass adorned with bright citrus. TheUnlikely Negroni mixes Altos tequila, Campari, Cocchi Torino, Kalani (a distilled clear coconut spirit) and fragrant pineapple vinegar, with a banana slice as garnish—making the taste profile abundantly tropical. One of the most popular drinks is Dante’s Garibaldi, with freshly squeezed pulpy orange juice representing Sicily (eliminating the need for sugar), while Campari, from Northern Italy, is a nod to the red shirts worn by Garibaldi’s freedom fighters.

Dante also enjoys successful collaborations. For a second season it has partnered with Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets to serve its award-winning cocktails in the arena’s suite level and Qatar Airways Club. Fans will enjoy six signature bottled cocktails and others on tap, including the negroni, old-fashioned, Cosmotini and Mezcalito. Expanding further in New York, Dante has partnered with the new UBS Arena in Elmont, home to the New York Islanders. Three smashing cocktails—the Paloma Fresca, rum punch and Dante mule—are served on tap, while Dante’s negroni, strawberry cosmo and espresso swizzle are offered in large-format bottles in the VIP suites. And anyone can enjoy Dante at home with two options for online purchase, the Negroni Sessions and the Martini Hour. All include four individual bottles, a large ice tray for perfect giant cubes, illustrated coasters, matches, and the legendary in-house playlist to make your home a slice of Dante.