Living in one the culinary capitals of the world, New Yorkers know good beer and good burgers. Amstel Light has hit the streets to scout out the 100 best burger joints in town. Plus, cast your vote to crown the undisputed victor of the best burger in NYC and you'll be entered to win dinner for four at the top burger spot.
RECOMMENDED: All of NYC's best burgers
College students, firefighters and Riverdale locals flee the neighborhood’s pretensions at this longtime Bronx hangout. Gnarled-wood booths allow good views of four TVs, but the overall effect is more of a refined pub than a sports bar. Weekend brunch is a great deal: For $12.95, diners get unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys or draft beers, plus a choice of any of the well-stuffed omelettes or mouth-widening, flavorful burgers.
Unpretentious Bonnie’s could easily be overlooked among the ever-changing flash of the Slope’s restaurant row. The owner-chef hails from Buffalo, which could explain why the crunchy chicken wings—served mild, medium, hot and hottest—are so good. This may also be one of the only places where you can find authentic beef on weck, a Buffalo delicacy of sliced roast beef and horseradish served on a kümmelweck roll (kaiser sprinkled with salt and caraway seeds). Other standouts include crab cakes, a dynamite Black Angus burger and a daily polenta special.
Organic burgers, free-range buffalo wings and cage-free chicken fingers make up the menu at this Williamsburg fast-food joint. The sustainable ethos carries over to the decor, too—the bar is fashioned from recycled Christmas trees, and the floor is made from fast-growing poplar wood.
Restaurateur John McDonald and chef Josh Capon, the pair behind Lure Fishbar, shift their focus from surf to turf at this gastropub. Capon's award-winning creation from the 2009 New York City Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash is on the menu here—a combination of a ground beef patty topped with American cheese, caramelized onions and bacon jam. There's also a simpler “B&B Classic,” crowned with two giant onion rings. Regardless of the toppings, it's Capon’s signature LaFrieda beef blend that stands out. The patties are fattened with marbled flat-iron steak mixed in with chuck and short rib, and the toque draws out the deep, mineral-rich flavor of the meat by swiping one side with Dijon before it hits the griddle.
Twenty-ounce brews culled from a list of 18 imported and domestic drafts go for a measly six bucks at this bi-level East Village watering hole, featuring six plasma TVs and a 12-foot projection screen. Sop it up with an order of shepherd’s pie, Sunday roast, or Irish breakfast from Central’s extensive menu of Irish and American pub fare.
The burgers at this dimly lit Village standby are legendary, and the New Yorkers who love them legion. You may have to wait in line for a good hour to get your hands on one (and you will need both hands). Fortunately, several $2.50 drafts (including McSorley’s Ale) will help you bide your time, as will the Yankees on the tube, and a jukebox that plays everything from Calexico to Coltrane. Go for the Bistro Burger, a fat patty of broiled beef, cheese and smoky bacon on a sesame-seed bun for $6.75. A plate of crisp shoestring fries will run you $2.50, but they’re totally beside the point.
Fairly new in the neighborhood, the BrewHouse offers a clean bar with room to spread out on the patio or in a smaller, more intimate lounge upstairs. The beer menu is straightforward, but it's large and not too pricy—which always bodes well for the lively stand-up shows they host at least once a week.
The West Village institution, open since 1961, debuts its first spin-off. Long Island City locals will find an identical menu, including, of course, the beloved Bistro Burger (broiled beef, cheese and bacon on a sesame-seed bun), along with 12 draft beers (Guinness, McSorley's Ale and Dark Lager). The decor also takes its cues from the flagship location: The laid-back 75-seat tavern features a mahogany wood bar and booths, antique brass chandeliers and a pressed-tin ceiling.
Woodside, Queens, bustles on, but this worn Irish pub stays the same. Well-lubricated old-timers line the front bar, while the wood-paneled dining room—made all the more classic with stained-glass adornment—recalls an honest age of prechain family dining. Irish-American pub fare like steak, roast beef and shepherd’s pie dominate the menu, but it’s the renowned burger that justifies the trek: loosely formed from freshly ground New York strip, broiled to a perfect char and simply decorated with lettuce and tomato—cheese and raw onion optional. In a city lousy with buzzworthy patties, this simple warhorse is still among the best.