The Upper West Side (UWS) often gets overlooked in discussions about New York City’s top neighborhoods for enjoying drinks, but I firmly believe this is an oversight. I’ve lived here for years and can vouch for the hidden gems in UWS bars. Whether it’s watching a game, making new friends, or having a romantic night out, there’s no need to look beyond the UWS.
If you’re in search of the best bars in the Upper West Side but don’t know where to start, I’ve got you covered. I’ll share the insider’s guide to the top spots for a drink in the neighborhood.
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Best Bars Upper West Side
Table of Contents: Best UWS Bars
Table of Contents: UWS Cocktail Bars
- Best Bars Upper West Side
- Best Bars in the Upper West Side (Post Summary)
- Best Upper West Side Bars (Map)
Nobody Told Me
A fairly new addition to the neighborhood, Nobody Told Me opened in 2019. The brainchild of mixologist Nick Pfannerstill and Chef Alberto Miranda, this Upper West Side bar quickly gained a reputation for its laid-back yet sophisticated atmosphere.
The UWS bar is celebrated for crafting some of the most creative season cocktails in NYC. The focus is on emphasizing fresh and locally sourced ingredients. One standout cocktail is the Copy of a Copy (mezcal, hibiscus, orgeat, cloosterbitter, lemon, mint), capturing the essence of the bar’s innovative and approachable spirit. Hard to think of a better way to kick off a good weekend.
The Owl’s Tail
Power couple Lawrence and Stephanie Bondulich struck gold with The Owl’s Tail in 2018, now a beloved hotspot on the Upper West Side. No matter the season, the UWS bar is ready to host. Their delectable food and cocktails, like the dangerously smooth strawberry rum spritz, keep folks coming back for more, making it one of the best bars in the Upper West Side.
Da Capo, tucked away on Columbus and 75th St., may seem unassuming, but it’s among the Upper West Side’s most popular bars. Initially skeptical, I was pleasantly surprised by the lively atmosphere inside. Their inventive cocktails, like the Caribbean Roast with dark rum and coffee beans, rank among the best in the area. On a return visit, I discovered their bustling outdoor seating area, complete with a DJ, which kept us there all night. Da Capo is a standout gem in the UWS bar scene.
Vin Sur Vingt
Vin sur Vingt translates to “wine in twenty” and everything about this authentic Parisian wine bar oozes with French charm. It’s one of my favorite Upper West Side bars, perfect for parking myself at an outdoor table. Offering an impressive rotating menu of 50 wines by the glass, you’re sure to find something that suits your Francophile fancy. Pair your wine with French-inspired appetizers and you’ll be reminiscing about Paris in no time.
Make sure to have a good friend in tow because the hours slip by when the cold rosé hits the table. The charm and easygoing nature makes this one of the best wine bars in the Upper West Side for a girls night. But bear in mind, this UWS wine bar has no reservations — it’s first come, first served only. Show up early and try to get an outdoor table, especially in the spring!
Thyme & Tonic
Thyme and Tonic on Columbus Ave stands out with its vibrant pink outdoor seating and inviting ambiance, guiding folks like a north star after sunset. Its predominantly vegan and gluten-free menu caters to health-conscious New Yorkers, while the consistently delicious cocktails, like the Mockingbird with gin and blackberries, earn it a spot among the best bars in the Upper West Side.
Ideal for get-togethers, the bar offers delightful shareable bites like zucchini fries and vegetable dumplings. The friendly bartenders even surprised us with complimentary shots, solidifying Thyme and Tonic as a neighborhood favorite.
Website: e’s Bar
Address: 511 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
When my shoebox apartment can’t handle hosting, I head to e’s Bar, one of the best spots in the Upper West Side. With ample indoor and outdoor seating, it’s perfect for easygoing get-togethers with friends.
Plus, there’s a variety of traditional bar food like wings and burgers, with nachos being a must-try. The drink options are endless, catering to everyone’s preferences. And for entertainment, they have over 200 board games available, making it a go-to UWS bar for relaxed nights out.
David Arias, a native to the neighborhood, transformed his family’s bodega on Columbus Avenue, which couldn’t survive rising property values, into one of the best bars in the UWS.
Bodega 88 is primarily a sports bar, but Arias spiced things up by adding fancier Latin-inspired dishes like tacos and empanadas to the menu alongside typical bar food. With a variety of options to suit everyone, the bar serves delicious cocktails and cold beer. Don’t miss out on their weekday happy hour from 3-7 PM, offering $5 beers, making Bodega 88 a great Upper West Side bar for a deal.
Something to know: Bodega 88 has booths with TV’s built into them available for rent. If you’re with a group of sports fans, consider booking a booth for $55 a person and enjoying the game at one of the best UWS bars.
Tessa stands out as a charming Upper West Side bar with its romantic ambiance—string lights outside, dim-lit brick walls inside, and cozy leather booths. The attentive and friendly staff make it my go-to spot for a casual date-night in the area.
Additionally, Tessa offers a fantastic happy hour Tuesday to Friday from 11 AM-6 PM for drinks and 3:30 PM-5 PM for snacks. During this time, signature cocktails are half price, making it even more appealing. Personally, I love the Strawberry Fields cocktail, inspired by John Lennon, who lived just a 10-minute walk away at the Dakota Building. I can’t help but wonder if he would have considered Tessa one of the best bars on the Upper West Side too!
Locals Tip: If Tessa is full, go across the block to Columbus Avenue and visit Asset, their sister restaurant.
The Dead Poet
Founded by former high school English teacher Drew Dvorkin, The Dead Poet channels the cozy vibe of Irish pubs, making it one of the most laid-back bars on the Upper West Side. Literature-themed decor, including portraits of famous authors and quotes, adds to the charm.
While snack options are limited to popcorn or hot dogs, patrons are welcome to bring in food from nearby restaurants. However, it’s the impressive selection of draft and canned beers, along with cleverly named cocktails inspired by classic books, that truly make The Dead Poet stand out as one of the best bars in the Upper West Side.
“What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today.”Edgar Allan Poe
Tiki Chick, from John Pickle Hospitality, the team behind Maison & Jacob Pickle, stands out as a unique bar on the Upper West Side. With staff donning beachwear and serving fruity drinks, it exudes a tropical vibe. While classics like margaritas and piña coladas are popular, it’s the original cocktails that steal the show.
Each drink on the menu is accompanied by a drawing depicting its presentation, adding to the bar’s Instagram appeal. Tiki Chick is a paradise for rum enthusiasts, offering a diverse selection categorized by country, including rums from Guyana, Haiti, Barbados, Jamaica, and more. It’s a must-visit spot for those seeking flashy Instagram-worthy drinks and a rum-centric experience in the UWS.
Maison Pickle is best known for their brunch (some of the best in the UWS) but I’ve learned it’s secretly one of the best cocktail bars in the Upper West Side. Boasting a liquor cabinet of more than 200 spirits the bartenders are able to make all your long-time favorites. The menu also has a few original craft cocktails, most notably the Maison Martini that is made with pickle brine.
For a delightful combination, pair Maison Pickle’s mouthwatering French dips with your favorite adult beverage. Maison Pickle also reigns supreme as the top brunch spot in the Upper West Side, offering classic brunch cocktails like mimosas, bellinis, and aperol spritzes.
Amsterdam Ale House
The Amsterdam Ale House, situated at Amsterdam and W. 76th Street, continues the legacy of popular restaurants in the area since the 1930s. A no-frills neighborhood staple, it draws locals consistently with its casual atmosphere.
Whether it’s for watching a game, catching up with friends, or an impromptu date night, the Amsterdam Ale House stands out as one of the most versatile bars in the Upper West Side. Their extensive food menu, featuring items like the perfectly cooked bison burger and sweet potato fries, makes it a top choice in the UWS.
Don’t miss out on the sophistication and charm of Arthouse Bar—a laid-back yet elegant bar on the Upper West Side. Ideal for a romantic date night, it offers cozy, dim-lit spaces and vintage decor, creating an exclusive social club atmosphere.
With a recently opened kitchen, you can now enjoy a refined dinner menu, including small bites and fresh pizzas. For live music enthusiasts, Arthouse Bar stands out as one of the best bars on the Upper West Side, often featuring a jazz band to add subtle charm to your evening.
Best Bars in the Upper West Side (Post Summary)
- Nobody Told Me
- E’s Bar
- The Owl’s Tail
- Vin Sur Vingt
- Arthouse Bar
- Amsterdam Ale House
- Da Capo
- Maison Pickle
- The Dead Poet
- Tiki Chick
- Bodega 88
- Thyme & Tonic
Further Reading for the Upper West Side
Things to Do: 20 Fun Things to Do in the Upper West Side (Local’s Guide)
Best Brunch: 10+ Toothsome Upper West Side Brunch Spots (Worth the Wait)
Best Restaurants: 12 Tasty Restaurants on the Upper West Side (Worth the Trek)
Where to Get Coffee: 10 Charming Upper West Side Cafes (Local’s Guide)
More Great NYC Restaurants
Restaurants in Greenwich Village: 12 Charming Restaurants in Greenwich Village
Affordable Michelin Star Restaurants: 10 Amazingly (Affordable) Michelin Star Restaurants in NYC (Worth The Price!)
Iconic Restaurants in NYC: 10 Iconic New York City Restaurants Every Local Needs to Try
Restaurants Near Central Park: The 20 Best Restaurants Near Central Park
Best Weather Appropriate Restaurants: 15 Cozy Restaurants with Heated
Best Upper West Side Bars (Map)
And there you have it my friends, hope you enjoyed the article.