Best Bars on the Upper West Side

Hi all! I wrote a post for Thirsty NYC on the best bars on the Upper West Side for different occasions – read below and check out the full article on

The Upper West Side has a serious spread of bars ­ but you have to know where to look. You can get mixed up in the likes of “Gin Mill,” but we wouldn’t want that (ping pong tables are sooooo college).

Here are the bars to look out for if you’re out on the Upper West:

The Chic Spot (The Dakota Bar)

Dakota Bar Upper West Side
Photo by Dakota Bar

Perfect for a girls’ night out, this wine and cocktail bar is chic and decorated like your “Dream House” Pinterest board. Small bites like the mini burgers and prosciutto­ wrapped blue cheese and pears are just the right size and easily shared over a “Love Potion Number Wine” cocktail.

Live Music (Prohibition)

Prohibition Bar Upper West Side
Photo by Prohibition

Prohibition is a 20s-themed bar with quality live music every night. Get there early (around 9:00 p.m.) to experience it because it gets a bit crowded near the stage later in the evening. Don’t worry though there is a bar in the front and back of the house in case it gets too crowded.

The Cozy Bar (The Dead Poet)

The Dead Poet Upper West Side
Photo by Dead Poet

Staking out a slim slice of land on 82nd and Amsterdam is The Dead Poet, the cozy Upper West Side watering hole. Locals (and my Dad, when he visits) love to grab a pint or a whiskey at this friendly spot, nestled amongst dark wood and stacks of books. It’s basically an Irish Pub-­themed book store (yes, you can actually check out a book from the back).

The Happy Hour (Burke & Wills)

Burke and Willis Upper West Side

This Australian bistro serves a mean happy hour at the bar until 8:00 p.m. – ­ half priced cocktails and $1 oysters. The cocktails are everything you want them to be,­ no cutting corners. Plus, the place is very cute for a date with an old friend and the bartenders get drinks out fast.

The Speakeasy (Manhattan Cricket Club)

Manhattan Cricket Club

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a member of this club to get in, but you should look somewhat decent or you won’t be allowed inside. The entrance to this Upper West Side speakeasy is right inside Burke & Wills ­ go to the back and open the green leather door. You’ll be lead upstairs to a fancy little space with luxurious seats and bespoke cocktails. Go on Mondays for live jazz. Cocktails are pricey ($12-­$16) but it’s just too fun to miss.

The Dive (Dive 75)

On the complete opposite spectrum lies Dive 75 ­ the place you grab a beer after a Central Park run or softball game, and­ you can even bring your own food. Welcoming, friendly and the place to be yourself, Dive 75 has cold beer and that’s all you really need.

Let me know if you’re out on the UWS – we’ll grab a drink!


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