It’s no secret that the latest NYC neighborhood to up its cool factor is the one and only Upper East Side. Countless cocktail bars, restaurants, vintage shops, and cafés have popped up amidst the tree-lined blocks of brownstones and century-old apartment buildings in their well-manicured glory, drawing a younger crowd of diners and denizens with its newfound allure. We’ve rounded up the crème de la crème of the northeastern frontier, all worth the 6 train trek -- it’s the Attaché way.
How do we love a hefty steak for two with a side of Pamela Wiznitzer’s signature gin fizzes? Let us count the ways. This Upper East Side newcomer captured our hearts earlier last year upon its ceremonious opening, bringing its coy speakeasy vibe to the neighborhood -- a daring and admirable move above 14th Street. With an extensive menu categorized by tailoring techniques, it may be a challenge to select just one cocktail, so here are our favorites just to speed up the process. Go for the aforementioned fizz, composed of Aviation gin, Cynar, vanilla, lemon, egg white, cream, and root beer, or should spirits of the darker variety be more appealing, opt for the Mortimer & Mauve with Whistlepig Rye, chai vermouth, and Barrow’s intense ginger. All of a sudden, we’re quite thirsty.
339 East 75th Street between First and Second Avenues
Craft cocktails just never get old. Meet The Gilroy, an exposed brick-laden late-night sipping den -- an unmistakable ode to the cocktail culture of a bygone era with its takes on traditional cocktails and passion for all things Prohibition. Cleverly composed cocktails make up The Gilroy’s roster of inventive classics, from bespoke negronis to a bacon salt-rimmed pseudo old fashioned with Evan Williams bourbon, maple, and grapefruit bitters -- a top seller, unsurprisingly. Looking for something sweeter? Go for the Rum & Raisin Flip with Myers rum, PX sherry, burlesque bitters, nutmeg, and a whole egg. Pull up a chair on the patio and let the UES people watching ensue.
1561 Second Avenue at 81st Street
The team behind Wilfie & Nell brought this gem to the Upper East Side a few years back during the very beginning of the neighborhood’s renaissance, paving the way for many more cool-kid hangouts since. The spacious bar/restaurant is nothing less than irresistibly inviting with endless cozy touches, from exposed brick and drop lighting to portraits of unidentified gentlemen and a back room full of skylights. A truly unpretentious destination for laid-back yet tasteful drinking and dining. Make it a point to stop here for brunch over the weekend, or stop by after sunset for a summer negroni for two -- a surefire crowd pleaser with milk-washed gin punch, watermelon, cucumber, Suze (a bitter apéritif made from the gentian root), and Bianco vermouth.
1590 Second Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Streets
Café by day, cozy cocktail lounge by night. This recently revamped UES hotspot is the perfect place to kick back with a cortado at all hours, followed by a craft cocktail and tabletop s’mores for good measure. An acronym for “downtown uptown,” DTUT lives up to its name by bringing the feel of a lower Manhattan bar to the sleepy Upper East Side with vintage accents, local art on display, and movies screened every so often on the bartender’s whim.
1744 Second Avenue between 90th and 91st Streets
Be transported to a beach (with pizza) at any time of year with this fun, casual joint, perfect for al fresco pies against brick walled street art or dining beneath twinkling string lights in Pizza Beach’s brightly colored, Malibu-inspired interior. Gluten free crust, a prized rarity, is also available for those with dietary restrictions.
1426 Third Avenue at 81st Street