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The very best bars on the Upper East Side

From neighborhood pubs to smart cocktail bars, these are the best Upper East Side bars in New York City

The Penrose
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
By Christina Izzo, Alyson Penn and Time Out contributors |
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It's not all penthouse apartments, Ralph Lauren shops and tiny dogs in the pricey uptown neighborhood. The best bars on the Upper East Side range from craft beer bars to laid-back wine bars, plus some of the best cocktail bars in the city. After checking out a museum or restaurant in the area, check out these spots for a perfectly poured drink.

RECOMMENDED: The full guide to the Upper East Side

Best Upper East Side bars in NYC

11
Subway Inn
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Sports Bars

Subway Inn

icon-location-pin Lenox Hill

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.

12
UES.
Photograph: Courtesy UES.
Bars, Cocktail bars

UES

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

There's much more that meets the eye at this ice cream shop on the Upper East Side (get it?). Head to the back of the pint-sized store, ask to see the "storage room," and enter a secret cocktail bar with uptown-inspired drinks, like "Gossip Girl on the East" and "Absolutely Bradshaw." 

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13
Eli's Night Shift
Photograph: Courtesy Gabi Porter
Bars, Beer bars

Eli’s Night Shift

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

A New York food fixture for four decades, restaurateur Eli Zabar now partners with son Oliver for the first time to expand the Zabar’s empire with this drinks den moonlighting in the Upper East Side grocery-café Eli’s Essentials. 

14
Treadwell Park
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Wagtouicz
Bars, Beer bars

Treadwell Park

icon-location-pin Lenox Hill

Merchants Hospitality’s first foray uptown comes in the form of this rustic, 200-seat tavern, fitted with the requisite communal tables, a roaring fireplace and brick-painted murals by Colombian artist Brian Boerner that depict an imaginative world of beer-inspired mascots. Traditional big-group boozing is the name of the game here, complemented by an expertly curated lineup of global pours, and plenty of beer floats.

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15
Dorrian's Red Hand
Photograph: Kerry Cheeseboro
Bars

Dorrian’s Red Hand

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

Settle in at a checker–table-clothed two-top for a pint (or two) and dependable bar bites at this Upper East Side bar, which takes its name from the flag of Northern Ireland. The food menu traipses between across-the-pond classics like cottage pie and fish ’n’ chips and stateside favorites like cheeseburgers hooded with bacon-bourbon jam. But you really want to show up past midnight for the sloppy, good-fun late-night scene.

Heading downtown for the night?

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