Drinking in Midtown is usually not our first choice. But frequently, it’s a necessity. And collectively, Team Infatuation has spent enough time doing it that we know where to go.
Whether you’re hitting happy hour with your coworkers, grabbing cocktails after a Broadway play, or hanging out with your craft beer-loving cousin who’s staying in Times Square, here’s where to drink in Midtown.
Right in the heart of Times Square at the bottom of the Edison Hotel, this is a classic spot redone by the people behind the Tribeca cocktail bar Ward III. The place gets packed with suits (naturally), but behind all that, this is one of the best spots to drink a cocktail in Midtown.
Lantern’s Keep, located off the lobby of The Iroquois Hotel, is a great place for a highly civilized drink. There are private tables, and you can even make a reservation. Keep it in your back pocket for when you need to impress someone.
A predictably small bar that serves wine on tap. You really shouldn’t go on a date on 48th Street, but if you must: do it at Pocket Bar.
Beer Culture has the distinction of being something near Port Authority that’s not the absolute worst. As you’d imagine, it’s a beer place.
Ardesia is a true midtown utility spot. Meeting a date? Going out with a couple work friends? Hanging out with a random aunt? Wine and small plates in a non-cheesy environment is exactly the setup you need. Add to that its reasonable prices, friendly service, and outdoor seating and you’ve got yourself a go-to.
For an after-work drink, Bill’s Bar and Burger is the only tolerable place near Rockefeller Center. When your choices are Bill’s or Ted’s Montana Grill, you pick Bill’s.
A loud beer bar with probably 40 taps in the western part of Midtown, Valhalla feels like a grown up version of a place you’d find in the East Village. They have decent bar food too.
A Belgian cafe with a suspect-sounding but actually kind of great all you can eat mussels deal on Mondays. BXL is one of our happy hour go-tos.
Over in Hell’s Kitchen, this little bar specializes in whiskey – and has a huge selection. If you’re into brown liquor and find yourself on the West Side, this is your spot.
The least worst bar in the mid 50s. That is all.
If you’ve ever wondered who lives in the brownstones in the West 40s, we have no idea. But we do know that in this one, there’s a bar inside. It’s a classic pre- or post-theater spot for cocktails and likely sightings of Broadway actors. Yes, that probably is Patti Lupone.
Stag’s Head looks like it’s going to be a bro scene, largely due to its Turtle Bay location. But it’s really more of a beer scene. Stag’s Head excels at going beyond the typical roster of Ballast Point taps, so if you’re into deep cuts of craft beer, you’ll be happy here.
Yes, you can probably find a better and cheaper cocktail elsewhere. But you come to the legendary Campbell Apartment, which is located literally within Grand Central, for the history. If you’re waiting for a train or are in the area and looking for a fancy-ish cocktail bar, this is a great option. Just don’t wear sneakers. This is an old school spot and they have a (somewhat arbitrary) dress code.
Midtown East is littered with sports bars, and most of them are absolutely awful. Hudson Malone is the rare standout. You can watch a game here without hating yourself, and the food’s even pretty good.
If you find yourself in the region of 39th and Madison, head to The Shakespeare. As you might expect, this place is a British gastropub, and it’s actually run by the same people as Jones Wood Foundry, an Upper East Side restaurant we like a lot.
In terms of selection, this is one of the best beer bars in the city, and one of the best bars full-stop near Bryant Park. It’s nice and spacious, which also makes it a prime Happy Hour spot for all the finance and lawyer people getting out of work around there. There are also couches in the back, which for some reason seems to be important to people.
Parker and Quinn is the restaurant in the Refinery Hotel, but it’s a highly popular spot for happy hour. There’s a big bar area, and the “vintage” decor isn’t a bad look. They also have plenty of small plates and flatbreads to go along with your drinks.
McGee’s, simply put, is the best of the Midtown Irish pubs. It feels like less of a sh*tshow than the rest, and is comfortably spread out over a few floors.
If you wind up around The Wayfarer, a big restaurant on the corner of 57th and 6th, head to the second floor. There’s a comfortable bar/lounge up there with plenty of couches and a view of the street below.
This bar does smell like stale beer sometimes. But Rattle ‘N’ Hum is actually a very solid bar, and one of the best places to hang out after a game at the Garden. They specialize in craft beer, and actually have some surprisingly good bar food.