The Best Bars Around Central Park, New York City

Julia Goicochea

Survived the throngs of tourists on your visit to Central Park? Cheers to you! Whether you’re a beer fanatic or prefer a posh drinking experience, there’s a bar nearby for you. Put your feet up, take a load off, and throw one back at any of these eight local watering holes.

1. Bierhaus NYC

Bar, Restaurant, German

With its thorough drinks selection, costumed bartenders, and hearty German fare, Bierhaus NYC delivers on its pledge to bring “Oktoberfest all year long” to New York City. Here, mustard-topped pretzels and juicy bratwurst are washed down with German liquors, seasonal brews, and, of course, plenty of bier. Tip: the spot’s communal tables are as ideal for sharing drinks with friends as much as they are for making new ones.

2. The Penrose

Gastropub, Bar, Cocktail Bar, American, Vegetarian

One look at The Penrose’s menu, which features separate Drinks, Lunch Drinks, and Brunch Drinks selections, will let liquor lovers know they’re at the right place. Here, even the most mouthwatering American dishes, such as bacon and fried oyster sandwiches and buffalo Brussels sprouts, take a back seat to creative cocktails made with ingredients such as spicy pickle brine, bacon-infused bourbon, and horchata.

3. The Dead Poet

Bar, Pub, Irish

Founded by a high school English teacher-turned-bar proprietor, The Dead Poet encourages thinking and drinking in equal measure. Lit lovers will appreciate the bar’s literary-themed décor and drinks menu, which features the spiced rum sangria “Pablo Neruda” and the “J.D. Salinger,” a rye Old Fashioned served with drunken cherries. Also offering an extensive beer selection and creative takes on classic bar snacks, The Dead Poet is a place to debate, philosophize, and enjoy another round.

4. Seamstress

Bar, Cocktail Bar, American

No Central Park date is complete without a nightcap for two at Seamstress, a cocktail bar bringing the “cool” factor to Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Offering house-crafted cocktails featuring ingredients such as chai vermouth and pickled mango, a seasonal rosé bar, and unexpected fare such as the fan-favorite (and flaming) Baked Alaska, Seamstress is sure to impress.

5. Bar Coastal

Bar, Sandwich Shop, Pub Grub

Enjoy sports as much as you do spirits? Down-to-earth sports bar Bar Coastal is an ideal “game day” destination. Throw back a cold one (or two) as you watch the bar’s screen-lined walls and dig into waffle fries, grilled bologna sandwiches, and more.

6. The Milling Room

Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, American

For a more upscale experience, look no further than The Milling Room, a high-end establishment catering to Manhattan’s dinner-and-drinks crowd. Indulge in the spot’s selection of more than 100 wines hailing from France, Italy, Lebanon, and beyond, all of which pair perfectly with sophisticated menu items such as Hamachi tartare and grilled octopus.

7. Kaia Wine Bar

Bar, Wine Bar, South African

One of many wine bars in New York City, South African establishment Kaia Wine Bar stands out for its selection of rare drinks and unexpected eatables. Wild boar sliders, butterscotch and whiskey tarts, and more are washed down with hard-to-find beers and wines, all hailing from South Africa.

8. The Cantor Roof Garden Bar

Bar, Cafe, American

The Met Roof Garden Bar, New York
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art
As if you needed one more reason to visit the world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, the institution’s Cantor Roof Garden Bar has recently reopened for the season. Situated atop the museum’s Fifth Avenue outpost, this open-air bar offers light bites, creative cocktails, and spectacular aerial views of Central Park and the city skyline. In keeping with its location, the bar also features temporary art installations, inviting guests to indulge more than just one sense.

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