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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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UNION SQUARE & FLATIRON & GRAMERCY (14th-34th; East of 6th)
 
Corkbuzz: Wine Bar. 13 E 13th @ University-5th Av; 24/21/E; Wildly popular with rave reviews; Very nice selection of rare and top notch wines; Food is outstanding – especially the Pork belly;  Gets mobbed on Saturday nights;  Ideal starter place and perfect for a lite dinner and great wine. Have wine classes.
 
Crocodile Lounge: Dive bar. 325 E 14th @ 1st-2nd; 19/13/I; Signature Croc ale; Worth a try; NYC crowd;4pm-4am drink specials daily- see website.  $2 Tuesdays.  Sexy and friendly staff – fun vibe. Buffalo Bills bar. Free cheese pizza with every beer!  

 

Double Down Saloon: Dive Bar. 14 Av A @ 1st St; 22/14/I;  Dirt cheap dive bar famous for is “ass juice” but more importantly Bacon Bloody Mary. Have a bacon martini too. 80s porn playing in background; Have a $5 beer-shot combo; Bartenders will give out free shots after a while and generally a fun group of locals are here.    

 
Otto’s Shrunken Head: Dive Bar. 538 E 14th @ Av A-B; 20/14/I; Tiki alternative bar; Frozen drinks; Volcanos; Absolutely zany place; Live music sometimes; $3 Bloody Marys 4-8pm Sunday; $3 PBR pints all the time; Other specials; People singing; All sorts of fun drinks. Great for groups. Photo booth. 
 
Revival: Dive Bar. 129 E 15th St @ 3rd Ave; 19/17/M; Garden in the back;  Private parties; Happy Hour 4-8pm weekdays;  Punk Rock Tuesdays;  Couch surfer Thursdays – Int’l folks who look for a place to crash! Great beers on tap. Upstairs area to chill. Cheap drinks for area. 
 
Park Bar: Lounge. 15 E 15th @ 5th; 23/20/M; Upscale atmosphere; late 20s-30s; Date place/ pre-dinner drinks; Comfortable places to sit, though small overall and gets crowded; Mature crowd; Well made cocktails.  Pre or post dinner date spot. Large windows, welcoming feel. Late afternoon cocktails.   
 

Raines Law Room: Speakeasy. 48 W 17th (downstairs) @ 5th-6th Av; 27/26/E; Mixologist heaven; Classy scene; Orient Express décor; Chains on wall to summon staff; Great way to impress a date; Just cool as hell; Open 5pm-3am, opens 7pm Sunday. If in the area, start here with a cocktail. Rave reviews from all sources.

 

Rye House: Liquor Bar. 11 W 17th @ 5th-6th; 24/24/E; Large, clean space; Attentive, professional bartenders with knowledge of their craft; Special cocktails for about $12; Just a massive list of bourbons, ryes, rums, scotches and more; More of a pub feel than a lounge. 

 

Lillie’s: Irish Pub. 13 E 17th @ B-Way-5th Av; 23/23/M; Gorgeous Victorian inspired décor; Lots of fun as well; Super friendly bartenders; Lots of effort here; Huge space – best times at the bar; Has a huge menu and brunch, desserts, bar food served. One word – impressive. 

 
Cibar: Martini bar. 56 Irving @ 17-18th; 22/21/E; Trendy and cool. Date place / sophisticated spot; Sexy crowd; Professionals with cash; DJ sometimes; Fireplace, and outdoor area in summer; Romantic – formula works here. Plush couches. Order a martini here. 

 

Triona's on Third: Sports Bar. 192 3rd Av @ 17th-18th;  20/16/M; Great Irish bartenders; Multiple TVs (13); Great specials, dart boards, decent food;  Huge burgers & top Shepherd’s Pie; $10 pitchers Bud light daily from noon-7pm;  Have all sports packages.  Beer pong; Darts; Fun spot.

 

Old Town: Pub. 45 E 18th @ Park S;  20/21/M; NY Institution; Great Food; After Work/ Happy Hour spot; Cool old-NY feel- opened in 1892; Upstairs area as well; Great starter bar. A fancy McSorleys of sorts. Like a London pub. Delicious burgers; Homey feel;  Not a good sports bar… more for atmosphere. 
 
Flatiron Lounge: Lounge. 37 W 19th @ 5-6th; 22/21/E; Awesome bar/ lounge. Great starter place. Known for inventive cocktails made with the freshest ingredients; Professional service. Pre-dinner- Ideal for a date; Amazing food too. Classy, sophisticated. Art deco design. Jazz age inspired setting.
 
The Watering Hole: Irish Pub. 106 E 19th @ Park-Irving; 17/15/M; Karaoke Wed-Sat; Happy hour 3-7pm M-Th, noon-7pm Fri-Sun with $4 draft beer, wine and well. Good jukebox; Full of locals; Nice bar menu;  Not an overly crowded or noisy place.
 
Flute: Champagne Bar. 40 E 20th @ B-Way-Park; 23/22/VE; Tons women here in you’re a single male; DJs on weekend; Couches, champagne flights are way to go; Mingle and celebrate; Very pricy. Stylish as any bar in city. This location is larger than west side sibling.   

 

Slate: Pool Hall. 54 W 21st @ 5-6th Av; 20/18/E; Upscale pool hall;  Very nice, spacious bar area; Sexy bartenders; Perfect for a Private party or group; After work hot spot; Has a Ping Pong Lounge!! 25 Pool Tables/ 200 seats. Even a dining room.  Also a dance floor- mistake! Yuppy/ corporate crowd- 20s-30s. Avoid on weekends.
 
Molly’s: Irish Pub. 287 3rd @ 21-22nd; 23/18/M; Truly a traditional place. Small but very friendly staff.  Working fireplace and very homey feel; Huge portions of excellent Irish food.  This one you have to check out. Best Guinness, Corned Beef, and Irish Breakfast! Sawdust on floor; Great atmosphere. 
 
McSwiggan’s: Irish Dive Pub. 393 Second @ 22-23rd; 20/16/M; Neighborhood Bar; 20s-40s crowd;  Pool, Darts, Jukebox; Amazing drink specials daily; Nothing stands out but it is reliable and everything an Irish pub should be- including the pub grub.  $12 pitchers! 
 
Spin: Sports Bar. 304 Park Av South @ 23rd St; 21/20/E; As one reviewer put it – it is ‘table tennis with a bar, not a bar with table tennis; If you are a ping pong junkie, this is your place. Fairly priced drinks; Great for groups; Best on a weekday when there is little or no wait for a table. Every Monday – open tournament! 
 

Taproom No. 307: Beer Pub. 307 3rd Av @ 23-24th; 20/19/E; Craft beer specialist; Over 40 beers on tap;  Great place to watch a game as well; Service can be spotty; Truly excellent food – especially the burger; Five assorted craft beers for $25;  Rotating selection of suds. 

 
Fitzgerald’s: Irish Pub. 336 3rd Av @ 24-5th; 18/16/M; This is your classic neighborhood Irish pub featuring $4 all day pints of domestic; Great pub food with partitioned seating; Clean bar area and bathrooms; Friendly conversation. Full of locals; Around since 1901.
 
Hog Pit: Dive Bar. 37 W 26th @ 5-6th Av; 17/17/I; Country roadhouse serving amazing bar food – Mac n Cheese; Grilled cheese; Pool table, country tunes, and cheap beer. The Duke brothers would have come here; Absolute dive. Great place for a cheap beer as well. $8 pitchers during football! Fun times.
 
Mad Hatter: Irish Pub. 360 3rd Av @ 26-7th; 19/18/M; 50 seat beer garden; Old and new; Great beer and food. Has darts and pool; $4 happy hour pints;Fun vibe – TVs for sports. Typical bar – but that beer garden! Try the Mad Hatter Red Ale; Manchester City fans
 
230 Fifth: Upscale lounge. 230 5th Av @ 27th; 23/23/VE; Roof deck with 14,000 sq ft terrace with 360-degree views. Expensive. Pre-dinner scene. Stylish bar open 4pm-4am every day; Sexy, good-looking crowd; Large parties; Truly an epic spot to take a date for dinner/drinks or for a Holiday party. Gets a bit of a tough door into the evening on weekends; Extremely popular and has an occasional celebrity. 10am-4pm brunch buffet weekends. 
 
Hillstone: Bar/ Restaurant. 378 Park @ 27th; 22/20/M; Unreal food- best pub level food in the city; Semi-formal actually, perfect for a date; On bar list because it has one of the best after-work scenes in NYC; Singles, meeting for a drink, and a spacious bar area. Happy Hour best time to go.
 

Jazz Standard: Jazz Bar. 116 E 27th @ Lex-Park; 25/19/E; Outstanding Jazz but the bonus is the food. BBQ supplied by Blue Smoke upstairs;  Located underground; Roomy setting;  Well known acts show up; Excellent acoustics; See website for schedule; Two sets an evening.

 

Tonic East: Upscale Sports Bar; 411 3rd Ave @ 29th; 20/20/E; Excellent Food; Large flat screen TVs; Lounge feel; Nice Irish bartenders; Little pricy for genre. Very clean, cool looking and sharp; One of the better sports bars in the city; Happy hour 4-7pm- $2 vodka red bulls/ drafts. Spin wheel for drink. 

 
Paddy Reilly’s: Irish Pub. 519 2nd Av @ 29th: 23/17/M; Lots of live music. Great for a few. Awesome food.  Even have open Mic night; Guinness & Bud on tap only; Reeks with tradition & been around forever. Classic Irish gem. One of the most authentic Irish pubs in the city. Nightly bands. 
 
Failte: Irish Pub. 531 2nd Ave @ 29th: 22/10/M; Standard Irish fare with pool in the back; Extremely friendly staff and patrons; Fireplace; Beer Pong & Trivia Thursday; Weekend drink deals just as good. One of the better spots in the area. Website recently down; Guinness poured well here. Whiskey specialists.
 

Waterfront Ale House: American Pub. 540 2nd Av @ 30th; 20/15/M; Really great American bar food (ribs, nachos, elk or bison burgers etc); Menu is large as well; Excellent selection of beers; Cool, ‘normal’ bar scene;  Attracts regulars; Large whiskey list; 

 
PS 450: Lounge. 450 Park Av @ 30-31st; 20/19/E;  Has a stylish 32 foot bar; DJ at night; Great after work spot with banker types that changes into a more progressive crown later; M-F 4-7pm $4 drafts; Decent wine selection; Great food; Private party space. The space is huge. Unpretentious; Rear lounge. Happy Hour deals 4-8pm.
 
Brother Jimmy’s: Dive / Sports Bar. 181 Lex @ 31st;  20/14/M; Carolina Bar; Incredible Bar-B-Q food; Dirt Cheap beer specials- Happy Hour 5-8pm; Great for games – especially Tarheels or Yankees; Singles scene at night; Beer lover’s haven; Fish Bowls with Alligators in them; Just a fun place.  
 
Rattle and Hum: Pub. 14 E 33rd St @ Mad-5th Av; 21/19/M; Massive beer selection; Perfect alternative to Ginger Man near by; Lots of TVs as well; Knowledgeable staff; Happy Hour specials 11am – 7pm weekdays. Cask quality pints; Great drink menu explaining the beers and providing alcohol content. Cool, pub décor and great food. Laid back vibe; Private Parties welcome. 
 

Legends: Sports Bar. 6 W 33rd @ 5th Av; 23/20/M; Huge place featuring a football ‘factory’- soccer. 3 levels – can dine on amazing pub grub on 1 level full of sports memorabilia; Every soccer game imaginable plays here; Stunning gorgeous interior; Gets mobbed after work and during big games but it’s huge. Private parties. See website.