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.
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.
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.
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.