Since moving to Yorkville over the summer, I’ve explored a lot of the great restaurants and fun bars my new hood has to offer.
“There’s fun to be had on the Upper East Side?”
There are so many good spots that I was a bit deflated when no one invited me to a Second Avenue Subway bar crawl when the three new subway stops opened on New Year’s Day.
Undaunted, I’ve conferred with friends and colleagues and culminated a list of deserving spots along the new line for anyone who wants to schlep it uptown to share in the Upper East Side merriment.
As an added bonus, the shiny new stations have plenty of cool, ‘gram-worthy artwork.
Uva (1486 2nd Avenue)
With tasty pasta and gnocchi, rustic décor and a year-round back patio, Uva brings in folks from all over the city. It’s also a go-to brunch spot with an inexpensive price tag.
For $19.50 you get a brunch cocktail (bonus points—more than just mimosas), a breakfast dish like strawberry and mascarpone pancakes or a frittata and a side item, like olives.
The Stumble Inn (1454 2nd Avenue)
Bro Bars—you either love them or hate them—are to the UES like karaoke spots are to K-Town. You know what you’re going to get with these places: big screens showing football games, burgers (stuffed ones in this case) and fries, and swarms of frat boys drinking lots and lots of beer.
If you can’t find a spot in The Stumble Inn, not to worry, there are plenty more along 2nd Ave.
Seamstress (339 East 75th Street)
A darling, date-spot with a fireplace, Seamstress serves up inspired cocktails and attractive dishes like a Baked Alaska in a cast-iron skillet.
Even with two bars, guests can anticipate a wait on the weekends (giving you plenty of time to ditch that Bumble date you’re on if you’re starting to think it’s suspicious that a lawyer doesn’t know what malfeasance means).
Poke (343 East 85th Street)
Poke, a bustling sushi spot (You won’t find Hawaiian poke here.), showed up on all of our lists. The food is delicious and the BYOB policy is clutch.
The restaurant is cash only, and there’s always a wait on the weekends. Luckily Ryan’s Daughter, a popular Irish pub, is right across the street to grab a beer while you wait for a table.
Heidelberg Restaurant (1648 2nd Avenue)
Heidelberg is a stalwart remnant from a time when 86th Street was known as German Broadway and dozens of German restaurants lined the streets of Yorkville.
Today, the restaurant still serves up traditional German fare including tasty German sausages and mouthwatering kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) served with applesauce. Of course, there’s also Hofbräu on tap, reason enough to stop in.
Ethyl’s Alcohol & Food (1629 2nd Avenue)
Ethyl’s is the kind of place you just have to show people. The 1970s-themed bar opened last spring, hurling a new, edgy element to the UES.
On weekend nights, disco-era décor, a DJ spinning Benatar and Blondie, and dancers in gold go-go getups working the bar take patrons on a ride back to Soul Train times. There’s also room in the back to dance to show off your hustle.
Drunken Munkey (NYC 338 East 92nd Street)
Drunken Munkey aces the challenge of doing food AND drinks well. A throwback to the cafes and supper clubs of Old Bombay, the restaurant serves scrumptious Indian food and tasty craft cocktails.
Popular menu items include Paani Puuri, flour puffs filled with aloo & chick-pea chaat, chilled tamarind & mint water, Butter Chicken Tikka Masala, and the Lady Mountbatten, a cocktail with a variety of ingredients including Monkey Shoulder Scotch and strawberry gastrique.
DTUT (1744 2nd Avenue)
DTUT, with its exposed brick, reclaimed wood and leather couches, brings a DownTown feel to UpTown, which explains the acronym. Guests can order cheese or chocolate fondue or yummy tableside s’mores in the cozy space that’s a a coffee shop in the day and a wine bar at night.
They also turn off their Wi-Fi at 5 p.m. on weekends to promote socializing (Wait—did Luke open this spot?).
Tool Box (1742 2nd Avenue)
Why do gay bars always have such great names? Toolbox is the neighborhood’s token gay bar, an unassuming space with a two for one happy hour that’s actually late enough to make it to after work.
There’s also Charity Bingo every Monday night with an added bonus: you get a free shot every time 0-69 is called. What’s not to love?[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]