Post Overview: Roundup of the Best Happy Hours on the Upper West Side from a Local’s Perspective
I’m probably not the first (and won’t be the last) to tell you that New York City is expensive. Heck, even waking up in the Big Apple seems to come with a cost. As such, New Yorkers have to find creative ways to stretch the dollar while calling this chaotic and blissful Concrete Jungle home, myself included!
So without further ado, let’s discuss the one thing every New Yorker knows well, the importance of happy hour. I currently live in the Upper West Side (UWS) and thought it’d be fun to highlight the best happy hours in the Upper West Side, for those planning to visiting my stomping grounds.
You might enjoy reading: 18+ Best Things to Do on the Upper West Side
Best Happy Hours Upper West Side
The Mermaid Inn
If you love seafood, make a beeline for the Mermaid Inn. Serving a seafood-forward happy hour on the Upper West Side, this local joint is loved by all who visit.
The headliner is the $1.25 oyster special (minimum order of 6 required). Pair the $6 happy hour beer with the happy hour lobster roll and you’ll see why locals consider this one of the best happy hour in the UWS.
If cocktails are more your speed, don’t fret. The Mermaid Inn offers a handful of $9 craft cocktails and wine during happy hour as well. In terms of vibe, this restaurant has a rustic, yet cozy, feel perfect for a seafood restaurant. The place feels especially inviting during warm summer evenings when the bay doors are opened and the lively chatter of happy diners fills the air.
This goes without saying, but expect a wait unless you show up right around opening time at 4:30pm. The team does a great job of keeping things moving efficiently and there’s plenty of indoor & outdoor seating so the wait usually isn’t long.
All this to say, between the welcoming ambience and great selection of seafood, it’s no wonder why the Mermaid Inn is considered one of the best happy hours on the Upper West Side.
Address: 570 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Affectionately known as “La Petite Amélie”, this wine bar is among the best happy hours on the Upper West Side. is smaller and more intimate than the original location in the West Village. Offering traditional French fare in a casual setting, this is the place to go if you’re looking for an easy-going night on the town.
Boasting a Bib Gourmand Michelin rating (which is awarded to good value restaurants) Amelie warrants a visit. Undoubtedly the most enticing item on the happy hour menu is the wine flight. For only $13 you can sample three wines or choose one of their signature flights.
Whether you’re a novice or experienced wine drinker, the flight option allows you to explore and find something that suits your fancy. Just make sure to order the baked cheese on the happy hour menu, it’s delicious and perfect for splitting between two.
This is one of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side for an impromptu meet-up, just make sure to show up early — the tables fill fast during the dinner hour.
Address: 566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Leyla, an unassuming Mediterranean restaurant tucked into a residential street, serves one of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side. Indeed, this is one of the best restaurants in the UWS, so it’s only fitting that the happy hour menu would be a knock-out too.
They offer a selection of shareable appetizers and a handful of Turkish flat breads that pair well with happy hour drinks. There is also an incredible happy hour lamb burger that is served with polenta fries, which I highly recommend.
The happy hour drink selection offers wine, cocktails and beer all for $10 or less. I suggest starting with the mezza trio and a cocktail to see where the evening takes you!
Address: 108 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023
Bodega 88 is a family-owned bodega turned bar (you read that right). Owner David Arias, who’s family owned the bodega for 5 decades, realized his neighborhood was gentrifying. Property values rose and the scenery of the neighborhood changed.
Neighboring businesses that couldn’t keep up had to close their doors. Rather than close shop, Arias decided he’d change with the tide and transformed his bodega into a sports bar restaurant.
The Upper West Side happy hour menu featured at Bodega 88 is limited to alcoholic drinks (no happy hour bites here). You’ll find $5 beer, $6 wine and sangria and $8 mojitos and margaritas.
In terms of food options, the menu is Latin-centric and features classics like empanadas and mofonguitos as well as traditional American bar food like burgers and wings.
Make no mistake, Bodega 88 is the best happy hour on the UWS whenever there’s a spots game you don’t want to watch solo. Who knows, maybe we’ll run into each other there!
Address: 573 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Vin sur Vingt
Vin sur Vingt translates to “wine in twenty” and everything about this authentic Parisian wine bar oozes with French charm. I love to park myself at an outdoor table while enjoying some of the best happy hour on the Upper West Side.
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. But bear in mind, this Upper West Side happy hour location has no reservations — it’s first come, first served only. Show up early and try to get an outdoor table, especially in the summer!
Address: 66 W 84th St, New York, NY 10024
Confession time, folks. Asset became my go-to spot for happy hour on the UWS after I moved to the neighborhood. The aesthetic is seductive and alluring. Plus, if you show up at opening time (5 PM) on a weekday, you might have the place to yourself.
The intimacy that Asset provides makes it a great spot for a date night, but ultimately the reason I return is because of the drinks. They have an great selection of creative cocktails that are guaranteed to satisfy.
It’s hard to think of a better drink on a warm summer day than the strawberry Frosé, akin to a slushy for adults. Pair any of the cocktails with the truffle and Asiago steak fries and I guarantee you’ll be making plans to return to this Upper West Side happy hour joint in no time.
Address: 329 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023
Tessa is a sister restaurant to Asset so you can expect to find the same level of service and care, as well as a similar aesthetic.Not to mention they also have one of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side. I would say the primary difference is that Asset feels more modern, whereas Tessa feels more homely.
On their happy hour menu signature cocktails are half price, so you have a full array of drinks to choose from. I ordered the Strawberry Fields cocktail, inspired by John Lennon. In fact Lennon lived at the Dakota Building which is only a 10 minute walk from Tessa. I wonder if he would’ve thought this was one of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side?
The staff is extremely friendly at this UWS happy hour spot. On our first visit the server made for pleasant conversation and by the time we left was on a first name basis with us. We’ve since returned and been welcomed by the same server who remembered our names!
Address: 349 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Thyme and Tonic
It’s hard to miss Thyme and Tonic when walking up Columbus Ave. The entire outdoor seating area is painted pink, with flowers and greenery trickling down from above. And if you happen to come by when it’s starting to get dark the lights will flick on, chef’s kiss. Ambience is not the only reason this place makes the list of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side.
To get happy hour at this Upper West Side restaurant you have to sit at the bar, which is no problem since the drinks are the stars of the show.
The bartenders are also incredibly friendly. So friendly in fact that they gave us complimentary “welcome to the neighborhood” shots when I mentioned I had just moved in nearby.
The menu at Thyme and Tonic is mostly vegan and gluten-free. Thus making it one of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side for health-conscious New Yorkers. You’ll find delightful shareable bites like zucchini fries and homemade vegetable dumplings, which makes this UWS happy hour spot easy to love.
Address: 474 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
The Dead Poet
The Dead Poet was founded by Drew Dvorkin, a former high school English teacher with an affinity for Irish pubs. The atmosphere at this UWS happy hour joint is sociable and inviting, which means it’s rarely empty. The theme of literature is visible throughout the bar with framed portraits of famous authors and interesting quotes.
In terms of offerings, the Dead Poet has a small food menu but allows patrons to bring outside food. They’ll have you covered with delicious brews, feed yourself. Hard not to love that. With proper planning you can enjoy two of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side!
The Dead Poet offers an ample selection of beer, and during happy hour select beers can be had for $4. Both draft and canned options are available ranging from light lagers to dark stouts.
Address: 450 Amsterdam Ave #2, New York, NY 10024
“What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today.”Edgar Allan Poe
No list of the best happy hours on the Upper West Side would be complete without mention of The Consulate. Oozing with old-school charm, this sophisticated restaurant will have you feeling like Don Draper in no time. The traditional black-and-white tiled floor and old-fashioned bar, only serve to further my point.
At this restaurant you’ll find one of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side. On the happy hour menu you will find items like escargot, steak tartar and other French-inspired bites.
As for drinks there are cocktails for $10, beers for $6 and wine for $9. I really enjoy the Consulate Old Fashion, which consists of bourbon, mezcal, jasmine and cherry bitters.
In addition to the best happy hour in the Upper West Side, the Consulate also does some of the best brunch on the Upper West Side, too.
Address: 519 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
The Owl’s Tail
The Owl’s Tail has some of the best food you’ll find uptown but unfortunately their Upper West Side happy hour pertains only to drinks.
Power couple Lawrence and Stephanie Bondulich really knew what they were doing when they decided to open The Owl’s Tail in 2018. The happy hour drinks are some of the best in the Upper West Side and locals can’t get enough.
The UWS happy hour selections are only on cocktails and rotate by month, this month they’re running a $10 special on spritzes. I ordered the strawberry rum spritz and let me tell you, that drink is dangerous. It goes down so smooth you run the risk of having more than you should before you realize it.
Address: 215 W 75th St, New York, NY 10023
Jake’s Dilemma is everything a beloved neighborhood bar should be. This is among the best Upper West Side happy hour spots and does a great job creating a casual environment for hanging out with pals over a drink.
There is foosball and beer pong adding to the hometown bar feel. If you stop by on the weekends you’ll likely get to enjoy a DJ or live performer. The deals are among the best at this Upper West Side happy hour thanks to $3 canned drinks from 3PM to close. There’s your typical canned Bud Light as well as White Claws and seltzers. This makes drinking your fair share affordable and fun.
Jake’s dilemma is also a sports bar and plays major New York City sports teams. I stopped by for a Rangers playoff game once and the environment was perfect.
This is a great spot for a young crowd. The music is loud, it’s grungy in all the best way possible and has a great selection of bar food.
Address: 430 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Best Happy Hours UWS (Post Overview)
- The Mermaid Inn
- Bodega 88
- Vin sur Vingt
- Thyme and Tonic
- The Dead Poet
- The Consulate
- The Owl’s Tail
- Jake’s Dilemma
Map of the best Happy Hour Upper West Side
BEST HOTELS IN THE UPPER WEST SIDE
Thankfully, there’s plenty of restaurants ready to impress patrons with a strong pour and tantalizing cocktails. With that said, I hope you enjoyed my personal list of the best happy hours in the Upper West Side.