Best Drinks Uptown in NYC

March 17, 2014
by Zagat Staff

Check out these hot spots to meet for cocktails and conversation.

Lincoln Ristorante
Italian · West 60s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

A “calm oasis” on the Lincoln Center campus, this Italian “showstopper” rolls out a “marvelous” menu in a “sleek” , glass-walled space built around a “gleaming” open kitchen; “polished” service and ultra- “proximity” to the various concert halls are part of the “superb” package, but be prepared to spend “many Lincolns” for the privilege.
Bar Boulud
French · West 60s · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

An “interesting” part of Daniel Boulud’s “empire” , this “civilized” bistro opposite Lincoln Center is known for “beautifully presented” French fare, “as-good-as-it-gets” charcuterie and “interesting” wines; the casually “elegant” space is joined by “swell” sidewalk tables for prime people-watching.
Red Rooster
American · Harlem · $$$
Food 4.2 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

“A scene to say the least” , Marcus Samuelsson's “electric” Harlem joint provides “delicious” Southern-accented American fare and “wow” cocktails with a side of “superb” people-watching; maybe it's “expensive for the neighborhood” , but nonetheless it's typically “packed” ; P.S. there's often live music downstairs at Ginny's Supper Club.
Cafe Luxembourg
French · West 70s · $$$
Food 4.2 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.2

By “now a neighborhood landmark” , this “perennial favorite” brings a “touch of glamour” to the UWS with its “arty” , “adult” crowd, Parisian atmosphere and “jolly” mood; the “simple” French cooking is “delicious” enough, but the “stargazing” and “eavesdropping” are even better.
The Penrose
Bar · East 80s · $
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.9 · Service 3.7

A “hip spot” in the “otherwise unhip Upper East Side” , this “lively” gastropub lures “younger” types with a “trendy” scene fueled by “delicious burgers” and other “enjoyable” American bar bites; a “Brooklyn vibe” and “rustic” looks make it a “welcome alternative” in the neighborhood.
Bar Pleiades
Bar · East 70s · $
Food 4.2 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.3

“It doesn’t get any sexier” than this “grown-up” UES lounge in the Surrey Hotel, an “elegant” , art deco “oasis” serving “inspired” cocktails and “delicious” New American snacks by Daniel Boulud (whose Café Boulud adjoins); it’s “expensive” for sure, but the “sophisticated crowd” barely notices.
Eli's Essentials And Wine Bar
Wine Bar · East 90s
Food 3.8 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.4

“Good for a quick grab” , these UES market/cafes from Eli Zabar are “convenient” stops to pick up soup, salad or a sandwich along with “fresh” breads and baked goods; they’re “audaciously” priced, but for the “upscale” locals “easy” is the watchword here; P.S. the East 90s locale turns into a wine bar at night.