Recently, I was asked to suggest places to have a cocktail in NYC. GAME ON. Since fish swim in schools, and September is back-to-school month, I thought it appropriate to write about our local bars.
Here are some this Witch knows. I plan to continue the research, so this might be my September blog subject FOREVER.
Sardi’s on West 44th Street is definitely a NYC blast-from-the-past. Long ago, producers tossed back drinks (probably Manhattans) while waiting for newspaper reviews of Broadway plays. Now, social media tells all as soon as the curtains close. Climb the stairs to the second floor and grab a stool at the bar, before, during or after the theatre. Take a look at the iconic cartoons on the walls. Sardi’s is closed on Mondays. Other days, it opens at 11:30am and closes at 11:30pm.
The Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is the grand-dame of another era. Dorothy Parker reigned with wit at the famous Round Table in the 1920’s and 30’s. The door to the Blue Bar is next to the main entrance and still attracts local notables. One can also order a drink in the hotel lobby filled with comfortable tables and chairs. This Witch prefers the lobby, but neither is impressive unless you know the history.
PAY FOR THE VIEW
Location is everything and Central Park views are not cheap. Money will need to leave your pocket to get into the Metropolitan Museum, but it is a donation. Contribute what you want. You’ll gain access to some of the world’s most magnificent art collections.
The Roof Garden Bar at the Metropolitan Museum is open from early May through October, weather permitting. The roof-top hours are 10am to 4:30pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 8:15pm on Friday and Saturdays. Get to the roof from the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Galleries.
There are no tables and no waiter service. Fetch your own drink and search for a bench. If none available, put your glass (plastic) on a ledge and take out your smart phone camera. The Central Park views are amazing! BTW, it is not necessary to purchase a cocktail. You can be up there without a drink, but this Witch likes the over-priced $15 (per glass) sangria.
Williamsburg is one of trendy Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods. Wythe Hotel is on many “best bar” lists. This Witch suspects it is because the view of Manhattan is not to be forgotten. Take the elevator to the 6th floor. The bar is often crowded and drinks are costly. Be prepared for loud music and loud folks nestling in for more than one. Winter is better than summer, despite no outside terrace, but calmer atmosphere.
MAHATTAN THEATRE DISTRICT
No need to drink at a chain restaurant! If wandering around Times Square in need of a drink or maybe a bathroom, try Times Square Hilton just past Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum on West 42nd Street.
Take the elevator up to the Main Lobby (15th floor) and enjoy a cocktail at one of mid-Manhattan’s best kept secrets. Locals along with the hotel guests are usually the only peeps there. It’s not a trendy bar, but you can gaze upon Times Square. Call for bar hours: 844-278-9140.
Across (west side) from the ½ price tickets booth, is Blue Fin. The bar is on the second floor. Open at some point in the morning (what is that saying about locals?). Call for exact bar hours: 212-918-1400.
Go to TAO for fake-fusian Asian ambience. The younger you are, the more you will enjoy the “scene.” If, like this old Witch, one drink among a multitude of candles, is perfect. Opens at 5pm.
UNION SQUARE MANHATTAN
If you are from California, you won’t be impressed with the mash-it-up-at-your-table guacamole at Rosa Mexicano. If you are from any place else, including NYC, consider having a margarita to accompany the guacamole. The food is excellent American style Mexican cuisine, even though they call it “true” Mexican.” The bar on East 18th Street opens at 4pm.
12th Street Grill is so Brooklyn, once you walk in, you’ll feel as if you live in the neighborhood. Park Slope families come for dinner around 5:30pm, but sitting on a stool at the bar after visiting Brooklyn Art Museum and/or Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a nice experience. Dinner and drinks start at 5:30pm until 11pm.
Corner Social in Harlem has become a destination bar even if you don’t live near 126th Street. The bar is long, so there is plenty of elbow room. There’s good food on the menu, if you want something to go with your glass of whatever. Open for brunch on the weekends.
Old Town Bar is the place to go for an old-fashioned hamburger with your beer. The Late Show with David Letterman started with a long shot of the marble/mahogany bar. So, if you were a fan, you might recognize this Manhattan East 18th St interior. The classiest thing about Old Town Bar is “no cell phones.” Don’t even think about putting one on that iconic bar. Open every day. The booths are great for a little elbow room if you can snag one (get there before 5pm). There is additional seating upstairs. No reservations.
Fat Buddha in the East Village screams funky fun. This Witch can’t resist the name despite the fact it is noisy the moment the doors open at 5pm. Warning: there is a DJ on premises after 8pm.
Check out September Witchscopes. Have a glass of wine while you read about what’s in YOUR stars!
Fun starts now!