The Penrose image

The Penrose

Bar Food

Upper East Side

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBirthdaysBrunchDay DrinkingEating At The Bar

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Prediction: By the year 2022, once all this horrible Second Avenue subway construction is done, the Upper East Side will officially be cool. As more and more people are forced uptown due to the preposterous downtown rental market, the UES is suddenly sprouting some reasonable consumption junctions. No longer are neighborhood residents stuck with places like Dorrian’s and Brother Jimmy’s, because high-quality bar/restaurants have slowly started popping up. First Jones Wood Foundry, then ABV Wine Bar, and now, the biggest and most earth-shattering of the bunch, The Penrose. Tell the construction workers there’s no need to blow the horn on 2nd between 82nd & 83rd. The above ground explosion has already happened.

When the book is written on the future transformation of the Upper East Side, there will be a whole chapter about how The Penrose revolutionized the social experience up north, paving the way for other not-terrible places to follow in their footsteps. Despite only being a week old, The Penrose has already replaced J.G. Melon as the most popular watering hole/face stuffing establishment on 2nd Ave. It’s the latest all-purpose hangout from the folks behind downtown hot spots Wilfie & Nell and The Wren. Judging by the immediate raucous crowds, their reputation of hosting a good time has preceded them.

As you can see, we are impressed with The Penrose. They’ve succeeded in seamlessly making the UES as cool as it can possibly get, and there’s no shortage of action. This massive restaurant is room after room and bar after bar filled with seas of people. The space just seems to go on forever. The beer selection is well thought out and priced nicely, but the food is what’s endeared The Penrose to us. The menu is concise, cheap, simple, and exactly what we want to eat at a bar with a volume level of this magnitude. The spicy beef sandwich is delicious, the burger solid, and their fried pickles are some of the best we’ve ever had.

Someone on Twitter asked us not to blow this place up before the neighborhood could enjoy it. The Penrose didn’t need any of our help - it’s already bananas.

Food Rundown

Fried Pickles

For proper fried pickle consumption, they need to be cut in circular pieces so that the pickles can be properly surrounded by a fried fortress. Lots of people try and cut them in slices or spears and then all the fried stuff falls off when you’re trying to take a bite. The Penrose fried pickles are incredible. We’ll trade quantity for quality anytime.

Oyster Sliders

If there’s an oyster slider on the menu, you know we’re ordering it. These were pretty good, but not amazing. Try something else.

Fried Chicken

The straightforward $10 order of fried chicken comes with a thigh and a leg. It’s moist and tasty enough. It might need a little flavor, so definitely add hot sauce. We’d order it again.

Spicy Beef Sandwich

Delicious. This beef has allegedly been smoked for 40 days, then spiced for four days, slow roasted for six hours, then served on toast with onions and spicy pickles. You get all that?


A basic burger that hits the spot after a couple beers. It’s a custom LaFrieda blend of beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles on a toasted bun. Of course it is.

Mac & Cheese

Made with three cheeses - Irish cheddar, muenster, gruyere - and green onions (bacon optional, too). You probably won’t be unhappy if you order this.

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Suggested Reading

Jacob's Pickles image

Jacob's Pickles

Jacobs Pickles is great if you need an Upper West Side brunch spot or dinner meetup with someone you know will embrace the heavy bar food.

Jones Wood Foundry image

A great British pub that will help you solve all of your Upper East Side problems, or at least the ones related to food.

Wilfie & Nell image

Wilfie & Nell is, first and foremost, a place you come to drink, rather than a place you come to eat. Consider it an added bonus that the bar food you’ll likely be eating while standing near a tiny ledge is pretty good.

The Milton image

The Milton is a pub on the Upper East Side with some surprisingly good food.

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