Best bars in Hell's Kitchen: The essential drinking spots

The best bars in the neighborhood range from laid-back craft-beer pubs and sleek wine bars to kitsch themed lounges.



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Whatever your poison, Hell’s Kitchen offers several worthwhile drinking options. Well-curated wine bar Ardesia and craft-beer destination The Pony Bar are among the best bars in the neighborhood. The homo hot spot is also known for gay bars and lounges.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Hell’s Kitchen

The Albert Hall Tavern

  • Price band: 2/4

Hell's Kitchen hops-heads should appreciate this English-inflected gastropub, where craft beers—Coney Island, Delirium, Old Speckled Hen—flow from 12 taps. The casual, 120-seat space employs the well-worn old-timey aesthetic, with walls covered in antique book pages and a remake of a British telephone booth in the back. Bar snacks include liver pâté, pickled sardines and deviled eggs pickled in beet juice, while a heartier menu, featuring plates like braised short-rib

  1. 508 Ninth Ave, (between 38th and 39th Sts), 10018
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  • Critics choice

Inspired by the combination of old and new architecture in Hell’s Kitchen, Mandy Oser has stocked this wine bar’s 80-strong international list with a combination of established classics and less common selections from up-and-coming producers. The design, too, mixes past and present, with a look that includes a wine wall modeled after the neighborhood’s iconic fire escapes. A small menu from chef Amorette Casaus (El Quinto Pino), meanwhile, includes a house-cured duck banh

  1. 510 W 52nd St, (between Tenth and Eleventh Aves)
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Fairytail Lounge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This Hell's Kitchen watering hole packs a lot of glittery, pseudo-Victorian personality into a small space. Patrons can sip cocktails off the backs of sexy centaur mannequins, or park at the bar while bopping their heads to tunes from various DJs during weekly theme nights.

  1. 500 W 48th St, (between Tenth and Eleventh Aves)
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The Pony Bar

  • Critics choice

Hell’s Kitchen has long been a dead zone for civilized bars, but this sunny paean to American microbrews is an oasis. There are 20 beers on tap and two cask ales artfully listed on signboards according to provenance and potency. The thoughtful selections include Dogfish Head’s peachy Festina Pêche Berliner Weisse and Victory’s Bags Packed Porter, a toasty treat rich with coffee and chocolate. The low prices (all 14-ounce servings cost $5) and expert curation suggest that

  1. 637 Tenth Ave, (at 45th St)
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Flaming Saddles Saloon

City folk can party honky-tonk-style at this country-western gay bar. The 74-seat spot is outfitted to look like a Wild West bordello, complete with red velvet drapes, antler sconces and rococo wallpaper. Throw back a shot and wrangle yourself a mate, or chow down on hearty grub like Texas red chili or Angus beef burgers. Don't miss the entertainment—performances by bartenders dancing in cowboy boots add to the raucous vibe.

  1. 793 Ninth Ave, (at 53rd St), 10019
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  • Critics choice

From after-work drinks to killing time around Times Square, this subterranean surf shack is a solid card to play when faced with all manner of midtown conundrums. Though there’s kitsch aplenty, including colorful bathing suits strung up on the walls, the under-the-radar drinkery has its bona fides in order: Classic surf bands warble over the speakers, six wave-bashing flicks (including Endless Summer) play on loop, and friendly barkeeps serve the type of dangerously drinkable

  1. 357 W 44th St, (at Ninth Ave)
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Xai Xai Wine Bar

  • Price band: 2/4

Visit South Africa via Hell’s Kitchen at this urban-rustic wine bar (the name’s pronounced “shai shai”). High wood-beam ceilings held aloft by thick cypress-tree logs shelter a bustling pre- and posttheater crowd. Pick from about 100 South African wines served in beakerlike carafes (we like the Tumara Malbec with notes of vanilla), and explore a menu that ranges from the familiar (oysters) to the outré (ostrich tartare).

  1. 365 W 51st St, (at Ninth Ave)
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