It’s a Saturday morning and like anyone else in Manhattan you’re hung over. Your head feels like jelly beans. Electrified punching jelly beans. You need the queen’s cure – the Bloody Mary. In the morning, after a dark night of the soul, one craves this legendary substance. It’s usually tomato and vodka, but the liquors can vary, as so can the supplementary ingredients. It’s hot sauce and seasoning. It’s pickled garnishes, green olives on a stem, a kick of lemon or lime. And it’s plenty of other particular add-ons, the combos calibrated to make the heart beat once again.

And it’s something some places do better than other. Here are the best Bloody Marys in New York.

King Cole Bar
The St. Regis Hotel
2 E 55th St.
New York, NY 10022
(212) 339-6721
Note: This is where it all started. As legend has it, famed bartender Fernand Petiot fixed up a concoction of vodka and tomato juice in the 1930s, and though he dubbed the drink a Red Snapper, it soon caught on throughout the city by its now-known name, the Bloody Mary. The St. Regis prides itself on the fact, curating its own array of mixes and spices to make each Red Snapper true to that first recipe. The King Cole Bar is also a grand old space, decked out in marble, the ceilings washed in painted frescos, the bar backed by an iconic Maxfield Parrish mural. Normally an afternoon cocktail hour at a hotel bar requires martinis all around, but they won’t give you guff for ordering this pre-noon drink later in the day. In fact it’s encouraged. And there’s nothing like drinking the original.

169 Bar
169 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(646) 833-7199
Note: The most rollicking place in a bar-heavy corner between the Lower East Side and Chinatown, 169 Bar doesn’t skimp on the New Orleans-style decor and atmosphere. The crown jewel of this oysters-and-booze shack is its mean, mean Bloody, a spicy variation on the theme brought in by owner Charles Hanson. He claims its an old family recipe, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the man himself propped up at the bar downing them, be it three in the afternoon or three in the morning. Just kidding, you don’t have to be lucky, he’s always there. The thing comes dressed with okra and olives, and prepare yourself, because it packs some serious heat. A word to the wise: there are go-go dancers on the weekends.  

Prune
54 E. 1st St.
New York, NY 10003
212-677-6221
Note: This tiny East Village gem has long been the gold standard of downtown brunch, ruling over the neighborhood as countless imitators have tried in vain to keep up. And the drink menu matches the immaculate dishes: there are no fewer than ten different types of Bloodys, guaranteeing that any variety of taste buds will leave very pleased. The Mariner has clam juice, The Maria has tequila, The Southwest has chili peppers and The Danish has white anchovies. Yes, anchovies in a cocktail sounds strange, but why not give it a shot? The Bloody Mary’s mutability is what makes it beautiful, and Prune’s weird spins on the drink cannot be missed.

Double Down Saloon
14 Ave. A
New York, NY 10009
212-982-0543
Note: Here’s a simple route to eternal happiness: take a fine and strong Bloody Mary, fry up a stick of bacon, put the bacon in the Bloody Mary. This is how the do it at the Double Down Saloon, an East Village version of the legendary trannie-infested Las Vegas dive. As punked-out as the place might seem, there’s nothing scuzzy about the Bloodys. Don’t be surprised to clock a few hours at the Double Down on a Friday and wind up back there Saturday morning, desperate for some hair of the dog. And dog hair they have. It’s like breakfast in a cup: the revitalizing vodka, the refreshing tomato juice and the smokey sustenance of the bacon. Stick around long enough to graduate onto daytime drinks and there’s a solid bacon martini, too – in fact, the Vegas branch claims they invented it. And at happy hour the barmaids sling two-for-one whiskies that start with the letter “J.” There are a lot of whiskies that start with the letter “J.” Jackpot!

The Church Lounge
The Tribeca Grand Hotel
2 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
(212) 965-3565
Note: There are plenty of reasons why you might wake up at the Tribeca Grand. Maybe you’re only in town for the night, maybe there was an unforgettable penthouse party that’s just wrapped up, maybe you booked a room for a special someone as a mini-staycation. Whatever the reason is for waking up at the Tribeca Grand, you’ll find that below the golden spires stretching beside the exposed elevator, there’s The Church Lounge, and it serves a wonderful version of the world’s best breakfast drink. Everything is pickled in house, there’s a sprinkling of Old Bay for the Chesapeake goodness, and it’s blended with wasabi for bite. Even if you don’t have a room upstairs, skip the tony Tribeca restaurants and soak up the Sunday brunch at the neighborhood’s best hotel.