In an ideal world, the cabinet where you keep your alcohol and the refrigerator drawer where you chill your limes would automatically restock themselves every 48 hours. But your fifth-floor walk-up is nothing like Disney’s Smarthouse, which means that even though you can make a solid cocktail at home, sometimes you just want to pick one up. If you’re in or around Central Park and looking for places to do just that, head to one of the bars or restaurants serving to-go cocktails on this guide.
The cocktails at ROKC are meant to make you pull out your phone, take a photo, and blow up your group chat. So if you ever decide to get a drink at this excellent Japanese spot in Harlem, expect to drink something made with lavender barley vodka out of a light-bulb-shaped cup stuffed with mint and fresh daisies. While the to-go drinks here just come in regular paper cups, you should still keep this spot in mind if you’re looking for craft cocktails on the go after 5pm.
We can always count on Playa Betty’s as a fun place to drink margaritas with a big group on the Upper West Side. But sometimes, we’d just need the margaritas. Maybe there’s a sip and spot birdwatching meetup in Sheep Meadow, or maybe we’re preparing for a buzzed stroll down the length of Manhattan. Either way, Playa Betty’s is always here for us with virtually every tequila and mezcal cocktail under the sun available for takeout.
The fact that The Mermaid Inn’s UWS location is just a seven-minute walk from the northwest tip of Central Park feels like divine intervention. If restaurants were deities, Mermaid Inn would be some kind of all-knowing, all-loving, being that could make all your wildest seafood and alcohol dreams come true. In addition to oysters, lobster rolls, and crab cakes, this seafood spot offers to-go drinks like margaritas to martinis every day.
This Japanese drinking-and-bar-snacks spot on West 96th Street is always a fun place to consume sake and cheesy corn. But it’s also an especially great option for picking up unique cocktails you won’t find at most other bars in the area - think mai tais with rye whiskey and martinis with sake. All of the cocktails on their drink menu costs $15, and you can place your order ahead of time directly through their website.
The UWS location of this popular Manhattan sports bar has over ten different cocktails to choose from for takeout. So even if you want a Negroni and the person you’re hanging out with wants a double sangria, everybody wins. Most cocktails here cost around $16 per 12-ounce container, and even if you don’t finish it all in one day, you could always save the bottle to pour over some ice at another sunny picnic.
When it’s warm out and you’re planning on blasting techno outside all day, two words is all it takes to take your plans to the next level: “drinks specials.” And Tiki Chick, an Upper West Side tiki bar, has a bunch of them available for takeout right now. From pisco punches to mai tais, they offer double-batched, 16-ounce cocktails for two that cost between $16-$25. Plus, they’ve got a bunch of single-batch frozen cocktails like pina coladas and caipirinhas available for pickup when you order ahead online.
If you just need a refreshing to-go beverage without walking more than ten minutes from Sheep Meadow, head to Rosa Mexicano. They have several different bottled margaritas in flavors like pomegranate, spicy mango, and blood orange. Plus, whoever wants sangria will be happy to know they also offer a wide enough selection for all the people you usually connect with using emojis.
The Smith at Lincoln Center is good for almost every situation, even if you and your next-door neighbor haven’t agreed on how tipsy you want to be for your monthly walk-and-talk session. They offer cocktails like a classic Negroni, a boulevardier, and margarita with both tequila and mezcal, all of which can be ordered in five-serving batches.
Bodega 88 on the UWS is about the size of a studio apartment, so you’re probably better off ordering a few drinks to go if you’re hanging with a group. It’s only one block from the park on Columbus Avenue and 88th Street, and they typically offer things like mojitos and caipirinha on ice. If you’re hungry, the food here is also more exciting than what you’ll find at other spots nearby - the fries come with chimichurri and manchego cheese, and the fried calamari is glazed with Dominican honey.
If you’re in the mood to drink something refreshing and citrusy that isn’t just lemon water, Cantina Taqueria probably has what you’re looking for. This Mexican spot just north of Central Park serves to-go margaritas that you can order for pickup ahead of time on their website. While you’re here, you might as well get some design inspiration from the “Tequila Street” sign inside or stock up on fried fish tacos, chips, and guacamole for your picnic.