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The Top 20 NYC Bar Names, According to Branding Experts

By Emilie Ruscoe | May 28, 2015 10:45am
 Are these the best bar names in all of New York City?
Are these the best bar names in all of New York City?
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Photos courtesy of bars named.

New York is a city of many bars, some better named than others, and an instantly recognizable bar name can be a boon for a boozy business.

The naming team at branding firm Siegel+Gale recently undertook a survey of New York City's bar names and came up with the following list of 20 bars that represent, in their expert opinion, the best watering hole names in town.

Among the most recently opened bars, naming trends include "hotel-style" names (think "The Hastings"), and a conceptual approach (think "the spot"). The latter reflects the popularity of speakeasy-style bars without a name listed outside the establishment.

What can would-be bar owners conclude from this list?

"Be different, but not cheesy or crazy," says Naming Group Director Christian Turner. "Don't take yourself too seriously."

Here's the list, with the rationale for nomination from Turner:

20. The Double Windsor in Windsor Terrace — "'The Double Windsor' is such an elegant thing to call a warm bar with clientele who truly appreciate a good triple meaning."

19. Otto’s Shrunken Head in the East Village — "Otto’s Shrunken Head, like its bizarre name, is about making the strange feel welcome."

18. The Stumble Inn on the Upper East Side — "The Stumble Inn is at once a pun and a New York City lifestyle. The notion of 'stumbling into' a bar captures something fun and friendly, a universal truth."

17. PDT (Please Don’t Tell) in the East Village — "PDT perfectly encapsulates the tingles we get from discovering what’s cool and clandestine – and the illicit itch we often get to spread the word."

16.  Kettle of Fish in the West Village — "It’s a great-sounding phrase used by troubled folks and bar-goers who love this West Village hangout."

15.  Boobie Trap in Bushwick — "Both a The Goonies reference and a giggle-worthy excuse to say 'boobie.'”

14.  Hot Bird in Prospect Heights — "This is a classic 'lost and found' name, as the bar now resides where an old chicken restaurant of the same name once sat. Hot Bird works beautifully as an ironic-hip name."

13.  The Narrows in East Williamsburg — "A tidal strait called The Narrows lies between Brooklyn and Staten Island. It’s a name that someone had to take."

12.  Pencil Factory in Greenpoint — "What you find is sometimes exactly what you need ...There used to be a pencil factory next door. There’s just nothing more hip than drinking your PBR and musing about the musty smell of pencil-making."

11.  Therapy in Hell's Kitchen — "It’s a concept everyone knows well: that a good companion and a strong drink are as helpful as 45 minutes in psychotherapy."

10.  Galway Hooker in the West Village — "Why not name an Irish bar after some real deal Irish culture, rather than yet another McDuff’s, O’Neill’s, or Mulligan’s?"

9.  bOb Bar on the Lower East Side — "A name the mouth enjoys saying and the ears enjoy hearing."

8. Cheap Shots in Flushing — "Cheap shots at one’s character, cheap shots on the pool table, cheap shots of whiskey — all meanings are good ones."

7.  Jake’s Dilemma on the Upper West Side — "A euphemism for the state of every bar-goer who’s ever said to themselves, defeated before even making the promise, 'I’m never drinking again.'"

6.  Welcome to the Johnsons on the Lower East Side and in Bushwick — "This name boasts an unusual construct, a sentence while most bar names are just one or two words."

5. No Fun on the Lower East Side — "It’s a contradiction, a sarcastic jab at false claims, and it’s got effortless cool."

4. The Four-Faced Liar in the West Village — "This name tells a story that seems somehow fresh and yet ye olde."

3. La Oficina in Jackson Heights — "It’s an expertly crafted excuse in a name."

2. Burp Castle in the East Village — "Burps are a natural part of life, especially when beer’s involved. “Burp Castle” capitalizes on this truth with the slight gross-out factor."

1.  Supercollider in Park Slope — "The name begins with 'super,' declaring that this bar’s great. And it repurposes the obscure particle-accelerator machine into an energetic moniker."

What do you make of these findings?