By the peak of summer even New York’s most venerable boat bars have become flooded with frat-tastic curios, all watered-down brews and Lonely Island references. This season, a new anchor drops in the Hudson, offering grown-up alternatives to that bustling sea of bros: Grand Banks, the historic schooner turned oyster bar captained by Mark Firth (Marlow & Sons). Bid farewell to plastic chairs and “I’m on a boat!” sing-alongs—it’s only smooth sailing from here.
ORDER THIS: Small plates outshine the cocktails, so pass on the lager-based Engine Room ($16), which hits too hard on the ginger. Instead, opt for a white-wine Sherman’s Cup ($16) with fresh berries. (Pro tip: Ask for the fruit muddled.) The waitstaff runs like a well-groomed crew, outfitted in navy striped shirts, delivering baked oysters in shallot marmalade ($18) and bacon-flecked fluke crudo ($17).
GOOD FOR: Blowing out-of-towners out of the water. Though docked at amenity-rich Pier 25, the elegant Sherman Zwicker sits belowdeck for an out-to-sea feel, but with the glittering World Trade Center and spotlighted Statue of Liberty still in sight.
THE CLINCHER: Two brass-tapped bars flank the bow and mizzen-mast, offering prime seating even without reservations, while the yellow-and-white-striped awning and business-casual crowd hint at the Hamptons without diving deep into bourgie-dom. —Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo