Where To Go When You Can't Get Into Monkey Bar guide image

NYCGuide

Where To Go When You Can't Get Into Monkey Bar

Can't get a reservation at Monkey Bar? Neither can we. Here are some good alternatives.

Monkey Bar is one of the best restaurants in Midtown, and, unfortunately, everyone seems to know this. Ever since the team behind 4 Charles Prime Rib took over the space, reservations have been impossible to get. You can always try to snag a seat in the walk-in-only tavern area, but even those are snatched up within minutes of opening. If you don’t have the time/energy required to land a table at this retro American restaurant, try one of these solid stand-ins.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Hogsalt

Au Cheval review image
8.0

Au Cheval

$$$$

33 Cortlandt Alley, New York
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

This one’s the obvious choice. Au Cheval is from the same people behind Monkey Bar, and to be completely transparent, we prefer the burger at Au Cheval. As far as we can tell, the burgers are identical, but here you have the option to add bacon and an egg. Similar to its Midtown counterpart, this Tribeca restaurant also serves steak frites and a prime rib french dip—in addition to stuff like sticky fried chicken and a fried bologna sandwich. The dark, tavern-like space doesn’t have the same mid-century vibe as Monkey Bar, but it’s fun and festive in its own way.

For over a decade now, Minetta Tavern has been hard to get into. But it isn’t too hard to secure a walk-in seat at the bar, and you can often find reservations at off-peak hours. A cross between a bistro and a steakhouse, this Greenwich Village institution has the same old-school feel as Monkey Bar (red leather booths, servers in ties, etc.), and the menu is similar, too. Come here for a special occasion, and eat steak, french fries, and one of the best burgers in town.

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Gallaghers Steakhouse review image
9.0

Gallaghers Steakhouse

RESERVE A TABLE

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open table

Gallaghers is a little older than Monkey Bar. It opened as a speakeasy in the 1920s, and it’s still operating just a few blocks west of Radio City. So if you need a historic place for a special meal and you can’t convince the host at Monkey Bar that your parents own half of Midtown, try this classic steakhouse. Their porterhouse is the best in New York City, and, as you eat your creamed spinach and drink your Hemingway daiquiri, you’ll feel like Frank Sinatra is about to walk through the doors.

Despite the immaculate retro American food and landmarked space with sky-high ceilings, it’s easy to get a table at The Grill. And that’s almost definitely because this place is objectively expensive. But if you’re willing to spend at least $100 per person for a fancy old-school meal delivered to you by a server in a tuxedo, you’ll have a great time here. This restaurant is run by the people behind Carbone, it has an elaborate 1950s theme, and it’s only a few blocks from Monkey Bar. Try the crab cake, and drink a martini. It’s what you do here.

Long Island Bar is similar to the walk-in-only tavern area at Monkey Bar. It’s retro and casual, and you can get a great burger here. Open since 1951, this Carroll Gardens spot looks like a cross between a cocktail bar and a vintage diner, and they serve a small menu with an interesting mix of stuff like smoked trout with Triscuits and pasta with a sausage ragu. The burger is on par with what you’ll find at Monkey Bar, and the cocktails are equally worthwhile. You’d think there’d be a line to get into this place every night, but there is not. Take advantage.

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