Upper East Side Bars & Nightlife
1590 Second Ave., Upper East Side
The Penrose was a very welcome addition to the Upper East Side when it debuted on Second Avenue a few years ago, and the gastropub still feels noteworthy today in a neighborhood that is more known for its collegiate sports bars than craft-centric joints. Some would say that it feels more downtown than uptown, probably because the Penrose was done by the same people behind downtown spots The Wren and Wilfie and Nell. All that said, beyond the exposed brick and vintage décor, this is really a neighborhood spot—and a solid one at that. Besides the drinks, the snacks are satisfying, and you might find yourself wanting to stay for dinner, or come back the next day for brunch.
311 E. 60th St., Upper East Side
Hidden under the Queensboro Bridge, The Jeffrey combines two storefronts that look completely unremarkable. Inside, though, you can get unexpectedly good coffee, drinks—and oysters. The espresso bar serves local roasts from Café Grumpy, and is also part growler-to-go-service. For later in the day and night, there are a few dozen rotating local and global brews, plus wines and a fairly extensive cocktail list. When the weather is nice, take your drink and oysters to the back patio.
1291 Third Ave., Upper East Side
Kitschy, often crowded, and rowdy on any night of the week, this 1970's bar makes a great, laid-back stop in the otherwise pretty upscale Upper East Side. We go for their excellent Bloody Mary's and their famous, oft-lauded burgers served from lunch until late into the night.
The Carlysle Hotel, 35 E. 76th St., Upper East Side
This is a seriously charming, truly legendary New Yorker's bar: For starters, the clubby space is covered in Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans's whimsical murals—a tribute to the city's quirky inhabitants—and to top it off, you might just run into Woody Allen playing the clarinet (his band plays Monday nights).