50 best New York bars: Upper East Side

Although its known look-alike pubs and Frat-boy–baiting saloons, the Upper East Side is also (and surprisingly) home to two of the best bars in New York.

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Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

50 best New York bars: Subway Inn

 

 

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Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

50 best New York bars: Earl's Beer and Cheese

Subway Inn

This dingy dive is in peril, with a new development threatening to close its doors. Until then, the neon-lit institution holds on among the skyscrapers and Bloomies shoppers. Every breed of drinker can be found here—from shot-and-a-beer suits to old-time regulars. The booze is modest: There’s plenty of liquor, and a selection of basic beers (Bud, Coors, Sam and Guinness). The bar also stocks a few bottles of wine, but you’d do well to avoid them—we assume they’d make a decent vinaigrette by now.

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Upper East Side

Earl's Beer and Cheese

Critics' pick

Tucked into the no-man’s-land between the Upper East Side and Spanish Harlem, this craft-beer cubbyhole has the sort of community-hub vibe that makes you want to settle in and become part of the furniture. The well-priced suds (including rotating craft brews and cheap cans of Genny Light) and slapdash setup appeal to a neighborhood crowd, but it's chef Corey Cova's madcap bar food that makes it destinationworthy. The Momofuku Ssäm Bar alum is a comfort-food savant, deploying local curds in a variety of kitchen-sink creations. Try the NY State Cheddar—a grilled cheese featuring an unstoppable combo of braised pork belly, fried egg and house-made kimchi—or dig into an Eggo waffle topped with coffee-cured bacon, reduced maple syrup, aged cheddar and grilled foie gras.

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Upper East Side

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