The Best Buffalo Wings In NYC
Sure, Buffalo wings are bar snacks that you may associate with disconsolate Jets fans looking around for their Wet-Naps and dignity. But they’re so much more. Wings are a test of heat-tolerance and perseverance, they make you feel like Shrek eating drumsticks, and they serve as useful distractions should you happen to be a Jets fan. Most importantly, they’re fried and coated in buttery sauce. Get your wings at one of these spots.
Blackbird’s in Astoria is the kind of neighborhood bar they put on postcards: a winter refuge decked out with Christmas lights and a jukebox. But most importantly, their wings are perfect. With a scientifically sound sauce-to-wing ratio, these babies retain that elusive, crispy, crunchy crust no matter how much tangy sauce they’re drenched in. The heat levels range from “honey bbq” to “nuclear”, which is only a tad hotter than the rest, despite the dramatic name.
Considering their other claims to fame are Wolf Blitzer and a football team that was a four-time runner-up in the '90s, it’d be reasonable to assume that people from Buffalo are exaggerating when they talk up their wings. Well, it’d be reasonable to assume that if you’ve never had wings at Dan & John’s. This East Village spot is from two Buffalo natives who brought us their recipe from the north, and the pair have been rewarded with five NYC locations.
The neighborhood restaurant and bar has been around since 1977—and the wings at Mudville 9 are still great. They’re meaty, not-too-crispy, and served with housemade blue cheese. Order them with towers of any of their 30 draft beers while watching sports at a table on their outdoor patio in Tribeca.
The wings at Blondies are very saucey, but in a Bruce-Willis-in-Armageddon feat of engineering, the skin stays crispy and acts like a compression sleeve, keeping the meat underneath tender. These are near the pinnacle of NYC wings, and you can get them at this Upper West Side sports bar any day.
We love that this UES spot has over 10 different sauce choices that go beyond the typical Frank’s-and-butter combo. Options include a black pepper teriyaki sauce, as well as a tingly Vietnamese chile mango one. But this is a guide to Buffalo wings, and the International Wing Factory makes ones that are particularly crispy and saucy. The “soul purifier” brings a heat level that somehow makes cooling off in the nearby East River sound appealing.
Scruffy Duffy’s checks all of your essential sports-bar boxes. The Hell’s Kitchen space has plenty of TVs, a couple of dart boards, a pool table, and a pair of cleats hanging from the ceiling. But most importantly, Scruffy Duffy’s has wings. They arrive absolutely drenched in sauce, and if you order them hot, they’ll have just enough spice to keep you reaching for your beer.
Trail mix and grapes are nice and all, but we’re not sure why Buffalo wings aren’t a more common quick snack. It’s probably because there aren’t more spots like Bonnie’s in Park Slope, which allows you to order as few as five wings at a time. Once you eat five of these crispy wings covered in buttery, Frank’s-based sauce, you'll wind up ordering 25 more.
Sometimes, the sandwich board outside Reservoir will boldly claim that this bar has the best wings in the city. Once you try a batch, you might just let them take the title. There are a ton of different sauce options, but we suggest sticking with straight Buffalo. FYI the hot wings are seriously hot, and the medium even leave your mouth burning a little. Go easy.
Sports bars are supposed to be loud places with sticky tables and a designated splash zone for when a kicker misses a field goal and someone slams a beer on the table. That's pretty much what the Grayson is, but the food here has maintained a solid reputation over the years, with quality classics like quesadillas, sliders, and loaded tots. The wings are fresh and greasy (in a good way), and there are often wing-and-beer specials.
The inside of this sports den looks no different from the place you probably frequent back in your hometown, where jerseys and sweatpants are standard attire and the check is served with Wet-Naps. Meaty and straightforward, Wogies' wings are consistent, which is their best quality.
Buffalo wing purists claim that anything with breading ceases to be the real thing. (If that sounds like you, keep fighting the good fight.) But we recommend ordering the farm-style jumbo wings at Forest Hills Station House. The breading is thick and crispy, and the wings are slathered in just enough Station House Hot sauce to sting but not get soggy, with pickled peppers on the side.
Clara’s is a semi-divey sports bar in Bushwick, but it isn’t just a place for cheap drinks and televised games. Most people come here to eat. If you don’t like your wings too saucy, you’ll appreciate the ones here. They’re minimally dressed and just a little bit crunchy, and they come with a thick blue cheese dip on the side.