People live in and visit the Upper East Side of New York City for a variety of attractions and benefits — great shopping, wonderful restaurants, and a central location near many of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
But one thing that the Upper East Side is well-known for is its bustling nightlife.
So if you’re hoping to find a cool spot to grab a drink on any night of the week, check out some of the following best bars in Upper East Side NYC.
1590 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 203-2751
The Penrose, near Comic Strip Live, has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, with exposed vintage brick walls and a long wooden bar.
The menu features a variety of beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as bar snacks like pretzels, peanuts, and chips.
The Penrose is also known for its live music, with a different band or DJ playing every night.
401 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 249-2700
Jones Wood Foundry is a neighborhood gastropub near John Jay Park with a chilled-out atmosphere, ideal for drinking beers and eating British comfort food.
I typically order their fish and chips or roast beef dishes, then pair those with light-to-medium draft beers, so I’m not overly full afterward.
35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 744-1600
If you’re looking for a lovely, artful, jazz-oriented environment with dim lighting, look no further than Bemelmans Bar, a high-end piano bar near the Ukrainian Institute of America.
The best drink to get at Bemelmans is their martini, which comes in a wide range of flavors. The bar also serves food, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
303 E 85th St, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (929) 279-1884
Bondurants is a dark, candlelit cocktail bar on the Upper East Side near the 86th St metro station with a menu of classic and modern cocktails.
I appreciate the rotating craft beer, intentionally rustic design, and delectable buffalo chicken wings at this establishment.
1609 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 734-4300
If you’re wondering where to get a drink in a classy, intimate pub environment, head to Caledonia bar, a relaxed Scottish bar near the Fairway Market.
I love coming to this bar with friends to share their extensive selection of small plates and bar bites while sipping on several beers from their noteworthy Scottish flight.
1259 Park Ave, New York, NY 10029
Phone: (646) 907-0169
The Guthrie Inn is a modern dive bar near the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a dark, quirky, and cool atmosphere.
I usually come here when I’m craving a speakeasy vibe, as the space is very small and nicely decorated. I also appreciate that they give you warm mixed nuts with your beverages.
311 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 355-2337
The Jeffrey Craft Beer & Bites is one of the most fun places to get drinks and bar bites because of its cool vibes, rustic interior design, and massive menu!
I like going with at least three or four friends so that we can eat family-style, choosing several different items and tasting each other’s cocktails as well.
The Jeffrey also has some of the best Brunch sandwiches in town.
1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 744-0585
While the Upper East Side has its fair share of upscale bars, JG Melon is an old-school burger spot near Citarella Gourmet Market that’s perfect for a casual night out with friends.
There’s nothing too fancy about the space– it’s small and cramped, with basic wooden tables and chairs. But the burgers are juicy and delicious. Just remember it’s cash only!
1754 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128
Phone: (646) 682-7019
The Milton is a neighborhood pub near Ruppert Park with a fun, lively atmosphere and a great selection of beers, wines, and cocktails.
I like going here when I’m craving British eats like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, but I always have one or two cocktails while I’m there.
I recommend The Ginger Bee, with gin, honey, lemon, and ginger.
1442 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 737-1700
There are several 2nd Ave Deli sprinkled throughout Manhattan, but the Upper East Side location is near John Jay Park.
It may seem like a casual deli offering pancakes, stuffed cabbage, and sliders, but it’s much more than that.
I like going for happy hours between 5-7 pm when I can get their hot pastrami sandwich and a house cocktail for a reasonable price.
300 E 89th St, New York, NY 10128
Phone: (212) 427-4458
The Auction House is a swanky lounge with dim, mood lighting near Ruppert Park. This bar is one of the most fun places to go out on date night, as it’s cozy and intimate but still carries a lively, energetic feel.
I recommend starting the night with a bottle of Tuffo Pino Grigio or Bennett Cabernet Sauvignon.
413 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 825-1525
The Hunterian is a small, cozy, and friendly bar near the Bank of America Financial Center. This spot provides an ideal hangout if you want to get away from massive touristy bars and enjoy a nice evening in a dimly lit setting.
I recommend grabbing their gin gimlet or gold rush during happy hour or attending their karaoke night on Thursday!
350 E 85th St, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 628-2613
Ryan’s Daughter is an Irish pub near Adams Tower Parking with a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Ryan’s Daughter is one of my favorite places to play games, as they have various options such as pool, basketball, and darts. They also have great food, including the free potato chips you get!
1373 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 812-8942
The Sefton is a classic, old-school neighborhood bar near Bark Place, NYC. This bar has incredibly friendly vibes, delicious craft beer, and tasty bar bites like beef sliders and truffled tater tots.
1696 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128
Phone: (917) 388-2115
The Gaf is a highlight on the Upper East Side, as it’s small and unassuming on the outside but a lively sports bar on the inside.
This watering hole is one of the best bars in Upper East Side NYC for watching Sunday football games because they have plenty of TVs.
Plus, you can partake in some friendly competition yourself by playing darts while sipping on a cold beer.
1586 York Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (646) 684-4022
The Five Lamps, right by Dorian’s Seafood Market, is a no-frills bar with an authentic, local atmosphere.
The Gaf, it’s a great spot to watch games on the TV, but I love going there for their Thursday trivia nights. I’ll usually get a gin lemonade or an espresso martini if I’m trying to get my head in the game!
1444 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 288-0090
If you’re hoping to find a one-stop shop for an extensive array of craft beers, The Pony Bar might be your new favorite hangout.
Right by Bark Place NYC, the Pony Bar offers a space to try out new and old craft beers, munch on delightful pulled pork tacos, and engage in fun conversations with friends and strangers alike.
1453 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 988-9434
Dylan Murphy’s is an old-school Irish bar near John Jay Park. This bar is a fantastic place to go with a large friend group, as it’s spacious and always has a lively atmosphere.
I recommend grabbing one of their Irish coffees or a pint of Guinness to start your night off right.
302 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128
Phone: (212) 426-0519
Reif’s Bar is a neighborhood bar near Ruppert Park with a great selection of beers and a pool table. This bar is a great place to relax and unwind after a long day, as it has a cozy and laid-back vibe.
I recommend grabbing a burger and trying out their Stoli Blueberry Club Soda.
1372 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 288-9463
Vanguard, a delightful and cozy wine bar, has several locations, but I appreciate their Upper East Side location the most because the bartenders are always so kind and attentive.
I go here when I’m feeling like sipping on wine all night and pairing it with a thoughtful charcuterie board.
1583 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 861-6070
Brady’s is a well-loved cocktail bar that’s been running since 1961 and has some of the best cocktails in the neighborhood.
I appreciate the old-school vibes, the ability to play video games and darts, and various menu items at reasonable prices for Manhattan.
If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink, you’ll have no trouble finding a bar on the Upper East Side. But with so many fantastic options, it can be hard to know where to start.
I hope this list of the best bars in Upper East Side NYC has helped with your next bar-hopping adventure. Which one will you go to first? Let us know in the comments below!
Best Bars in Upper East Side
- The Penrose
- Jones Wood Foundry
- Bemelmans Bar
- Caledonia Bar
- The Guthrie Inn
- The Jeffrey Craft Beer & Bites
- JG Melon
- The Milton
- 2nd Ave Deli
- The Auction House
- The Hunterian
- Ryan’s Daughter
- The Sefton
- The Gaf
- The Five Lamps
- The Pony Bar
- Dylan Murphy’s
- Reif’s Bar
- Vanguard Wine Bar (Upper East Side)