New Yorkers are fed up with pretense—at least judging by the slew of inviting, velvet rope-free bars that opened this year. We’re more than halfway through 2013, and we’re spending many an evening (and afternoon, let’s be honest) slaking our thirst at these laidback watering holes. They aren’t nondescript dives, but chill, easy-on-the-eyes joints where there are no worries of surly barkeeps. Our demand for well-made, intriguing cocktails remains sky-high, and we’re pleased we can enjoy them on the likes of an outdoor patio chair or at a Milk & Honey spin-off—without having to prowl for a secret reservations phone number. We’re also digging that we can try Danish brews we’ve never heard of, then fill up on cheap pierogies down the block. From neighborhood surprises to craft-beer nirvana, here are 9 drink dens the rest of the year’s newcomers will have a tough act following.

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