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 also a test of heat-tolerance and perseverance, they make you feel like Shrek eating drumsticks, and they serve as very useful distractions should you happen to be a Jets fan. Most importantly, they’re fried, coated in buttery sauce, and help take the sting out of another Daniel Jones fumble (the Giants suck, too). That’s especially true at these six spots, all of which are currently open for takeout or outdoor dining.
If the crunchy skin at this UES bar is Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, then the sauce is the other members of Stillwater. Russel gets all the attention, but “Fever Dog” wouldn't have been possible without all the components coming together in harmony. There’s just enough sauce to ensure you get all of the “abusive” or “nuclear” flavor that you’d want, but not so much that it takes away from the crispy skin and juicy meat underneath.
Considering their only other claims to fame are Wolf Blitzer and a football team that lost four straight Super Bowls, it’d be reasonable to assume people from Buffalo are exaggerating when they talk up their wings. Well, it’d be reasonable 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 have been rewarded with two year-round locations, plus a stall at Citi Field.
Mudville 9 doesn’t offer boneless wings, but since boneless wings are the Fredo Corleone of the buffalo wing world, that’s not a big deal. The wing wings here are 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 canopy-covered outdoor patio in Tribeca.
Buffalo wings should be spicy. In fact, we’d argue that not-spicy wings should get a name change, or just not exist at all. But if the spectrum is generally a tickle to a slap, then the “cry like a baby” wings at Croxley’s are the equivalent of a Tyson Fury uppercut. Whether or not you decide to subject yourself to that at this Williamsburg sports bar, make sure to get some less spicy ones so you can actually taste the very good wings.
The wings at Blondies are very saucey, but in a Bruce-Willis-in-Armageddon quality feat of engineering, the skin stays crispy, and acts like a compression sleeve keeping the meat underneath tender. They’re at or near the pinnacle of NYC wings, and you can get them at this Upper West Side sports bar any day on their outdoor patio.
Trail Mix and grapes are nice and all, but we’re not sure why buffalo wings aren’t a more common go-to for a quick snack. Well, 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. And even Bonnie’s is never just a snack, because you’ll just end up ordering five or twenty-five more once you taste the crispy wings covered in buttery, Frank’s-based sauce.