7. KGB Bar


KGB Bar is a Soviet-era-themed East Village bar that opened in 1993, The building had previously been the site of Palm Casino, a speakeasy controlled by Lucky Luciano. Ukrainian Socialists met at the spot from 1948 to 1988 behind double-locked doors to avoid suspicion, calling it the Ukrainian Labor Home. The Ukrainian-American League would later control the basement. KGB Bar took over the space in 1993 and has become a literary institution, attracting leading authors and publishers to read and talk about their latest works.

KGB Bar has been rated among the top 10 dive bars in New York City for its cheap drinks and free admission. The bar hosts poetry nights, small concerts in its Red Room, and reading series. The bar has recently swapped its Russian alcohol for Ukrainian brands, selling the Ukrainian beer Obolon and swapping Russian vodka with Khor, Shevkoff, and Ukrainian Heritage. The bar will also host readings and music events to provide resources for Ukrainian aid.