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Our Favorite Bars in the Central Park Area of New York City

No visit to NYC is complete without a stop in Central Park. This sprawling outdoor space is the perfect place to spend time in nature, escape the NYC crowds, and learn more about the city’s history.

enjoying evening drinks at bars near Central Park

It’s no surprise that the city that never sleeps also has incredible nightlife and a one-of-a-kind bar scene, especially in the busy area outside Central Park.

From modern, relaxing sports bars to high-end speakeasies, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re looking for where to get a drink in the city, Check out my list of the best bars near Central Park NYC Below!


The Penrose

1590 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 203-2751
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Situated in the lively heart of the Upper East Side, this classic old-fashioned bar is best known for its creative cocktails, delicious late-night food, and vibrant atmosphere.

On Sundays, you can enjoy your delicious food and drinks as you listen to original live music. This popular spot can get pretty busy, so I recommend making a reservation to ensure you get a table.


Playa Betty’s

320 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 712-0777
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Playa Betty’s in the Upper West Side brings a California Coastline experience to NYC. This laid-back restaurant and bar boasts tasty “Cali” Beach-style food and various Mexican-inspired house cocktails. 

I highly recommend trying one of their authentic taco truck tacos, such as the Baja Fish Taco, for a genuine taste of California during your visit.


Dive 75

101 W 75th St, New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 362-7518
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This divey bar has been a staple of the Upper West Side since 1999. It offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere where visitors can relax with friends, watch a sports game, or play board games.

Dive 75 has an enormous selection of craft beers alongside cocktails, wines, and more. And if you find a beer you love on their extensive menu, you can even take a beer growler to-go.


Jacob’s Pickles

509 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 470-5566
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If you’re looking for southern comfort food in NYC, one of your best options is Jacob’s Pickles. This charming bar offers brunch, dinner, and drinks in a modern and rustic environment.

You won’t want to miss out on menu items centered around their homemade pickles and biscuits. I recommend the Biscuit Beer, Fried Pickles, and the Honey Chicken and Pickle Sandwich.


The Dead Poet

450 Amsterdam Ave #2, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 595-5670
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The Dead Poet is a small, literature-themed Irish Pub located near 79th Street Station. This lively and welcoming bar is frequented by college students, local musicians, professionals, and more.

This bar offers a great selection of beer, wine, whiskey, and cocktails. But their best drink is the Dead Poet, a secret signature cocktail made with seven different liquors.


Bemelmans Bar

35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 744-1600
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Situated inside the Carlyle Hotel, this sophisticated and upscale bar offers an extensive drink menu full of cocktails, spirits, wine, and beer.  As you sip your libation, you can enjoy the incredible murals and live jazz music.

I recommend trying a drink from their delicious martini collection. Do keep in mind, however, that Bemelmans Bar does have a cover charge starting at 5:30 pm.


Bodega 88

573 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 799-1602
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Bodega 88 is a popular Upper West Side sports bar with incredible and affordable Latin American-inspired food and drinks.

With a fantastic selection of cocktails, wine, beer, and hot drinks, Bodega 88 is one of the most fun places to get drinks and hang out with friends before any big game.

Their wings and tacos are some of my favorite bites to eat while enjoying the upbeat atmosphere.


The Bar Room

Multiple Locations
Phone: (212) 561-5523
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This New American bistro, located near 59th Street/Lexington Ave Subway Station, provides a unique twist on a classic, high-end bistro experience.

Here, you can enjoy classic weekend brunch food, small dinner plates, and delicious signature cocktails in a sophisticated environment.

I recommend some of their classic drinks, such as the Maple Old Fashioned or Anna’s Cosmopolitan.


George Keeley

485 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-0251
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George Keeley is an ideal drinking spot if you’re looking for a traditional, laid-back American pub experience. This local bar in the Upper West Side has exceptional craft beer, friendly bartenders, bar games, and much more to enjoy.

Along with their specialized beer and cocktail menu, you can enjoy handcrafted burgers, wings, tacos, and a variety of other classic bar snacks.


Tiki Chick

517 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
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If you want to escape the hectic NYC environment, you can find this relaxing, laid-back slice of paradise near 86th Street Station. This tropical tiki bar is home to incredible frozen cocktails, tasty snacks, and much more.

While you can’t go wrong with any of their tropical drinks, I love their frozen Pina Colada and Mai Tai.


Ascent Lounge

10 Columbus Cir 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 823-9770
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Ascent Lounge, located on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center, is an ideal destination for premium cocktails with scenic Manhattan views.

This upscale cocktail lounge is a must-visit for a unique and gorgeous night out. The menu has a fantastic collection of cocktails, wine, beer, and spirits, as well as an assortment of finger foods.

There’s also live music, holiday celebrations, and other annual events.


Arthouse Bar

2178 Broadway @77th Street, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 362-1100
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This lively vintage bar is inspired by a charming 1920s speakeasy. You can find this unique bar in the boutique Arthouse Hotel on the Upper West Side.

As you sip your beer, wine, or house-made cocktail and mingle with friends, you can enjoy the piano lounge and original fireplace located in this bar.


The Gin Mill

442 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 580-9080
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For a classic American bar and grill experience, head to The Gin Mill. Located near the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, this is the perfect place to grab an affordable draft beer, order some wings, and watch a sports game.

When The Gin Mill isn’t hosting a sports event, you can also find live music, old-fashioned speakeasy sessions, and other entertainment.


Bar Culaccino

235 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 510-8356
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This cozy and intimate Italian bar is one of the best places to go out and grab tapas and wine on a night out. Located just minutes from 57th Street Station, this convenient bar has something for every visitor to enjoy.

Any of their small bites, such as Bruschetta or Polpettine, are a great choice. You can also stop by on Monday nights to take part in their free trivia night.


The Pony Bar

1444 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 288-0090
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This casual tavern in the Upper East Side is best known for its extensive draft beer list and friendly, welcoming environment.

This bar is my go-to when I’m looking for laid-back, fun places to go out in NYC. Along with their beer and draught cocktails, I recommend trying a plate of their Fried Jumbo Wings.


Lilly’s Cocktail and Wine

50 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 799-4140
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This sophisticated wine and cocktail bar is conveniently located just a short walk away from 72nd Street Station. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a welcoming atmosphere, classic decor, and a fantastic selection of food and drinks.

I recommend trying one of their specialty cocktails, such as the Sassy Paloma, although you can’t go wrong with any of their wine or rotating draught options.


Tanner Smith’s

204 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (646) 590-2034
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This prohibition-era speakeasy features exposed brick and wood decor, unique craft cocktails, and delicious small and large plates. On warm nights, you can also take advantage of their outdoor dining.

While they have something for every drink preference, Tanner Smith’s is most well known for their incredible cocktails, including The Winona, Cat’s Meow, or Cucumber Mule.


P.J. Carney’s Pub

906 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 664-0056

Nestled in Midtown near the Museum of Modern Art, this traditional Irish pub is the perfect spot to grab a drink and watch a sports game.

Visitors can settle in and enjoy the welcoming regular crowd, spend time with friends as they sip a cocktail or beer, and listen to old music from the jukebox.

Along with drinks, you can enjoy classic pub food such as burgers and wings.


Carlow East

1254 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 744-6397
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Another typical Irish pub, Carlow East is the place to go for a relaxing atmosphere, friendly bartenders, and great food and drinks.

And if you’re looking for a place to watch a game with sports enthusiasts, this long-standing staple of the Upper East Side is the place to go.

Carlow East has an abundance of refreshing beers and cocktails. And as you’re sipping your drink, you can stop by the pool table to play a round with friends.


Blondies Sports

212 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 362-3311
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This popular sports bar in the Upper West Side is another fantastic spot to catch a sports game.

A traditional American sports bar, this laid-back location has everything you need to relax and enjoy a night with friends. The menu features favorites such as wings, burgers, draft beer, and so much more.


e’s BAR

511 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 877-0961
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E’s BAR is a friendly and laid-back neighborhood pub with plenty of entertainment, food, and drinks to keep everyone happy.

Visitors can enjoy their food and drinks in this bar’s indoor or outdoor dining area. Their large drink menu features various cocktails, frozen drinks, beer, wine, and spirits.

And between comedy nights, karaoke, and trivia, there’s always something to enjoy here throughout the week.


Judge Roy Bean Public House

38 W 56th St 2nd floor, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 262-8300
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Situated in Midtown just minutes from 5th Avenue, this rustic American pub offers both indoor and outdoor dining with a vibrant and eclectic atmosphere.

Their menu offers a fantastic collection of draft beers, wine, cocktails, and more. I highly recommend trying one of their mule variations. And if you’re hungry, be sure to order one of their gourmet burgers.


Center Bar

10 Columbus Cir 4th floor, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (929) 922-4690
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At this elegant and modern cocktail bar and lounge, you can taste the delicious cuisine of renowned chef Michael Lomonaco.

Along with this celebrated menu, wine director Brad Nugent has put together a 50-bottle list of wine and champagne to complement the food.

You can enjoy your food, wine, or cocktails from the fourth floor of Columbus Circle, offering fantastic New York views.


The Boathouse Outdoor Bar

E 72nd Street and Park Drive North, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 517-2233
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Located in Central Park along the shores of The Lake, this sophisticated and beautiful venue is the perfect spot to unwind. Enjoy a drink on the outdoor patio as you take in the scenery and watch the boats pass by.

I recommend trying their popular seafood dishes, like the Jumbo Crab Cake or Sea Scallops, with an accompanying cocktail or glass of wine.


St. James Gate

441 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 362-6202
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This casual Irish pub combines a traditional Irish pub atmosphere with a modern twist. You can find this friendly, welcoming destination on the Upper West Side, just a few blocks from the Natural History Museum.

There’s a full bar with an assortment of beers and ciders to choose from. For food, I recommend their traditional Irish Stew.


Prohibition

503 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 579-3100
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Are you looking for unique and fun places to get a drink near Central Park? Prohibition is a top choice. This Jazz-age-themed cocktail bar has speakeasy-inspired decor, nightly live music, and a full menu of mouthwatering food.

The menu has several specialty cocktails, such as the Bootlegger Old Fashioned and Frozen Cosmopolitan. They have plenty of beers as well.


Gabriel’s Bar & Restaurant

40 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 956-4600
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On the South end of Central Park is Gabriel’s Bar and Restaurant, a polished and high-end Italian restaurant known for its sophisticated cuisine.

The menu has an assortment of classic cocktails to accompany the extensive Italian menu. And with Chef Alessandro’s cuisine, visitors are guaranteed a high-end dining experience.


Dublin House

225 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 874-9528
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Dublin House is a historic 1930s-era pub on the Upper West Side. This old-fashioned, divey bar offers a charming spot to enjoy food and drinks, watch a live game, and play darts and other bar games.

You can choose from a vast menu of refreshing beers and cocktails. And while Dublin House doesn’t have a food menu, they generally allow take-out in the pub.


The Rickey

210 W 55th St #1, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (646) 756-2044
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The Rickey is one of my favorite places to go when I’m looking for high-end, modern craft cocktails. This intimate lounge can be found inside the boutique Dream Hotel in Midtown.

While they have a collection of bar bites, classic cocktails, and seasonal drinks, the real draw is their unique signature cocktails.

You can order beautiful and delicious drinks such as the Smoking Scorpion, Lavender Girl, and Walnut Sazerac.


The Roof

124 W 57th St 29th floor, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 707-8008
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For incredible Central Park Views, stop by The Roof at Viceroy Hotel Midtown. This bar provides stunning panoramic views in an upscale, luxurious setting.

At this rooftop bar, you can find modern cocktails, regionally brewed beers, and an expansive global wine menu. And when the weather’s nice, you can head to the scenic outdoor patio to enjoy your food and drinks.


The Dakota Bar

53 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 787-0700
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Whether you’re looking for brunch, dinner, or late-night drinks, this eccentric and lively bar has something to suit everyone’s preferences.

This Upper West Side neighborhood bar’s extensive drink menu is full of specialty cocktails, frozen drinks, draft beer, and more.

And from cheese boards to filling entrees, the dinner menu has plenty of delicious options to accompany the drinks.


Final Thoughts

Now that you have a guide to the best bars near Central Park NYC, you’re ready to explore all the fantastic nightlife this bustling, lively city has to offer.

If you don’t see your favorite Central Park bar on the list, leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to check it out!


Best Bars Near Central Park, NYC

  1. The Penrose
  2. Playa Betty’s
  3. Dive 75
  4. Jacob’s Pickles
  5. The Dead Poet
  6. Bemelmans Bar
  7. Bodega 88
  8. The Bar Room
  9. George Keeley
  10. Tiki Chick
  11. Ascent Lounge
  12. Arthouse Bar
  13. The Gin Mill
  14. Bar Culaccino
  15. The Pony Bar
  16. Lilly’s Cocktail and Wine
  17. Tanner Smith’s
  18. P.J. Carney’s Pub
  19. Carlow East
  20. Blondies Sports
  21. e’s BAR
  22. Judge Roy Bean Public House
  23. Center Bar
  24. The Boathouse Outdoor Bar
  25. St. James Gate
  26. Prohibition
  27. Gabriel’s Bar & Restaurant
  28. Dublin House
  29. The Rickey
  30. The Roof
  31. The Dakota Bar

Rocco

Rocco is a Florida State University alumnus with years of bartending and hospitality experience. From slinging hundreds of vodka sodas a night in jam-packed college bars to serving carefully crafted cocktails in upscale restaurants, there’s not much he hasn’t done behind a bar. Now, Rocco shares his knowledge and passion for all things alcohol-related here on My Bartender for bibulous readers everywhere to enjoy.

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