Food & Drink

Best Bars on the Upper West Side to Visit Now

So I’ve been thinking about Upper West Side bars recently. Of which there are quite a few. How many choices are there? And what makes for a good one you might not want to miss?

That got me wondering how many bars are in New York City anyway. Alexa tells me there are 10,000. (I wonder if those are, strictly speaking, bars or if that number includes restaurants.) Siri couldn’t shed any light on the topic. And the World Wide Web suggested that 2,100 city businesses are ‘drinking establishments.’

You can find an interesting heat map of NYC nightlife activity by zip code on the internet. If what you want, however, is just a simple guide to some of the best Upper West Side bars, you’ve come to the right place. As any good bar lover knows, you must pick the right bar to suit your occasion and mood. The next time you are looking for some good Upper West Side bars, your vibe will match one of the recommendations below. 

Dive Bars

Looking for a local no-frills watering hole to connect with a low-maintenance friend? A quick stop on your way home from work? Dive 75, at 101 West 75th Street, off Columbus Avenue is a comfy spot. It offers bottled and tap beers, as well as a full bar. Board games, large-screen TV’s, and reasonable prices are a draw.

A little farther north is the Dublin House, at 225 West 79th Street, off-Broadway. Since the prohibition era, its brightly-colored exterior neon harp sign has made it instantly recognizable. A nostalgia bar for some, with an embrace of things Irish. Open early till late, the unpretentious Dublin House offers good Guinness pours.  Pints and drafts, craft cocktails, a jukebox, and a selection of food round out the offerings.

E’s Bar, at 511 Amsterdam, between 84th and 85th Streets, is another neighborhood bar not to be missed. A cheerful atmosphere and friendly staff generally make for an enjoyable visit. Daily Happy Hour, beer, wine, cocktails, food, board games, and a Tuesday Trivia night are always crowd-pleasers.

Wine Bars

Are you looking for good wine? A flight to accompany your cheese plate? Devotees of Amelie Wine Bar, at 566 Amsterdam Avenue between 87th and 88th Streets, love the “Happier Hour” that runs from 4-6 pm each Sunday through Thursday. Wine flights and wine of the day are available at happy hour prices. Sunday is Bottle Day, with 25% off house wines.  The regular wine list is also quite extensive. For other reasons to visit, Michelin has recognized this bistro with a BIB Gourmand award (good food at reasonable prices) in recent years.

Vin Sur Vingt, at 66 West 84th Street, is also worth a try. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, Vin Sur Vingt does not take reservations. They do, however, offer a regular happy hour, as well as some specials during a later happy hour! The food, wine, and ambiance feel authentically French. Vin Sur Vingt is a reliable bet if you are looking for attractive décor, a relaxed atmosphere, and personable service. 

Cocktail Lounges

Heading out on a date? Looking for something a little but not too upscale before catching a show at The Beacon? Lilly’s, at 50 West 72 Street, off Columbus, might be just what the doctor ordered. Specialty cocktails are many. Draughts, wines by the glass and bottle, and happy hour drinks and food are served daily. There is also a regular menu. Good drinks, friendly service, and a relaxed atmosphere make Lilly’s a draw.

Of course, no mention of the best Upper West Side cocktail bars is complete without a nod to Prohibition, which has been a Columbus Avenue fixture for over twenty-five years. Located at 503 Columbus Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets, Prohibition offers an unparalleled live music lineup, good drinks, food, and service. All around, it’s typically a good time.

Sports Bars

Last, looking for good TV screens where the beer is cold, and the welcome is warm? Try Amsterdam Ale House at 340 Amsterdam between 76th and 77th Streets. A couple of blocks north on Amsterdam between 81st and 82nd Streets is The Gin Mill, another dependable and popular bar in this category.  

Hopefully, this guide to Upper West Side bars offers something that fits the bill, whatever the mood. Cheers!!

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