Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Time Out Love New York Awards 2014: Upper West Side

Time Out Love New York Awards 2014: Upper West Side

A local’s guide to the Upper West Side. Here are the area’s top local stores, bars, coffee shops, music venues and restaurants.

TOLNYA 2014, Upper West Side header
By Time Out contributors, edited by Vivienne van Vliet |

Time Out readers have spoken, and below are the venues they named their absolute favorite in the Upper West Side. So the next time you’re in the area and in need of food, drink or retail therapy, make a beeline for these places and you won’t go far wrong.

The winners

Jacob's Pickles
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Bars, Gastropubs

RESTAURANT: Jacob's Pickles

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

The two sides of upper Manhattan have a rich history of one-upmanship, competing over high-society concerns like private-school acceptance rates and whose money is the oldest. Nightlife has never played much of a role in this posturing, until a recent spate of offbeat bar openings (Jones Wood Foundry, City Swiggers, Earl's Beer and Cheese) suddenly brought legitimate buzz to the Upper East Side. Consider Jacob's Pickles a retort from across the park. With a lot of ground to make up, it's not surprising the craft-beer-and-biscuit--slinging gastropub is trying a little too hard, shoehorning a grab bag of tippling memes—Dixieland grub, house-made bitters, wines on tap—into one rustic barroom. But while the results are hit-and-miss, the spot's instant crowds speak for themselves: The 'hood's drinkers need a pick-me-up, and for fans of pickles and beer, Jacob's is doing its part to raise the bar. DRINK THIS: Once you get over the inflated prices ($7--$9 for a 15-ounce pour), you'll find that the bar's 25 taps offer uptown brew geeks plenty to get excited about. The all-domestic lineup is broken down by state, with a stable of Northeast breweries (Pretty Things, Allagash) complemented by cross-country favorites: the silky Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale ($7) from Cigar City in Tampa, plus Stone's Cali-Belgique ($8)—a hoppy Californian IPA brewed with Belgian yeast. The cocktail program, heavy on infused spirits and pickle juice, is too spasmodic, meddling with the Manhattan (made here wit

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, Upper West Side
Photograph: Sean Ellingson
Restaurants, Coffee shops

COFFEE SHOP: Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

Upper West Side caffeine fiends can sip single-origin espresso at this 74-seat brownstone café, the third location from the Hudson Valley coffee roaster. The shop also brews pour-overs through Japanese Kalita drippers, and offers light fare, including bagels, salads and sandwiches. Nighttime drinkers looking for a boozier buzz can choose from wines and local craft beers.

Shopping, Bookstores

STORE: Book Culture

icon-location-pin Morningside Heights

This community bookstore goes above and beyond to make itself a destination for reading and playing alike. In addition to its inviting children's room, packed with puzzles, art supplies and toys, the UWS store attracts mini literati in droves with its weekend storytelling sessions, often featuring guest appearances by kid-lit authors. Its other branch, on 112th Street, carries a small selection of children's books too, but isn't a kid mecca like this one is.

 The Dead Poet
Photograph: Courtesy Dead Poet
Bars, Pubs

BAR: The Dead Poet

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

There is no mistaking the theme at this Upper West Side bar: Framed literary verses and portraits of writing greats hang from exposed-brick walls. Specialty cocktails bear names like the Edgar Allan Poe (vodka, triple sec and lemon) and the Jack Kerouac (tequila, blue curaçao, fresh lemon and lime), while Guinness—poured with a shamrock carefully drawn into its foam—anchors the 13 taps and an extensive Irish whiskey selection that would make any heavy-drinking writer proud. Grab a classic from the small in-house library to skim before the rowdier night crowd arrives.

Beacon Theatre
Photograph: Michael J. Chen
Music, Music venues

MUSIC VENUE: Beacon Theatre

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

Resplendently restored, this spacious former vaudeville theater hosts a variety of popular acts, from Emmylou Harris to ZZ Top; once a year, the Allman Brothers take over for a lengthy residency. While the vastness can be daunting to performers and audience alike, the baroque, gilded interior and uptown location make you feel as though you’re having a real night out on the town.

The runners-up


The full list of winners by category