Pick your poison: Hell’s Kitchen offers a bevy of great drinking options. Well-curated wine bar Ardesia and craft-beer destination The Pony Bar are among the best in the neighborhood, as well as renowned gay bar, Flaming Saddles Saloon. Hell’s Kitchen has long been a dead zone for civilized bars, but not anymore. Make sure to check out these bars so you can feel the heat in Hell’s Kitchen:
1. The Press Lounge (653 11th Avenue)
The Press Lounge sits atop the swanky Ink48 hotel, offering some of the best panoramic views of the city and the Hudson River. The drinks are expensive, but you get what you pay for–the space is chicly decorated and the crowd skews young and attractive.
2. Ardesia (510 West 52nd Street)
A modern wine bar, Ardesia features an extensive wine list paired with a selection of small plates, including homemade New York pretzels and hand-crafted cheeses. Pro tip: if you’re looking to day drink, head over on Saturdays from 2-5pm for their Wine Social–5 wines for $25
3. Rudy’s Bar & Grill (672 9th Avenue)
A neighborhood staple since 1933, Rudy’s Bar and Grill features good, cheap beer in a decidedly untrendy atmosphere. With a killer jukebox (previously voted best in the city by Rolling Stone), booths upholstered entirely with duct tape, and delicious, greasy bar food (try their hot dogs), it’s the consummate no-frills dive bar.
Fun Fact: Although it’s also known as Clinton and Midtown West, there’s some controversy about how Hell’s Kitchen got its name. One theory attributes it to a quote from Davy Crockett, another claims it refers to a tenement on 54th street, and yet another states that it came from a cop describing the area while watching a riot on 39th Street. Either way, Hell’s Kitchen has come a long way from its rough and tumble roots.
4. On the Rocks (696 10th Avenue)
A relatively tiny spot, On the Rocks might have the biggest whiskey selection per square foot of any bar in the city. Its warm and intimate atmosphere makes it ideal for a date night, and the quality of its drinks (you can choose which bitters you want in your Manhattan) make it worth a repeat trip.
5. Réunion (357 West 44th Street)
A surfer-themed bar, Réunion offers a break from the midtown grind, serving up rum drinks in a bright and color space with uptempo music. They also have great pub grub, highlighted by their excellent fish tacos.
6. Flaming Saddles Saloon (793 9th Avenue)
With a Wild West theme, loud country music, and bartenders who often dance on the bar, Flaming Saddles Saloon is one of the most fun gay bars in New York City. In addition to their frequent drink specials, they’re famous for their housemade Frito Pie, which is like a bowl of nachos in a Fritos bag.
7. The Pony Bar (637 10th Avenue)
With a mostly-wood interior and wooden barrels placed in the middle of the bar, The Pony Bar has something of a rustic feel. With a large menu of beers on tap and a list of beers of the week right behind the bar, it’s the perfect place to stop in for a brew.
8. Barcelona Bar (923 8th Avenue)
Barcelona Bar is best known for their long list of shots, with names like the Harry Potter, Monica Lewinsky, and Full Metal Jacket. Some have a song that is played when you order them, and others are served on fire.
9. Valhalla (815 9th Avenue)
With nearly 50 microbrews on tap, rotating regularly, Valhalla is a paradise for beer lovers. The low-key, urban-rustic environment and its row of picnic tables make it perfect getting together with friends for a few hours of beer gluttony.
Hell’s Kitchen is no longer just that weird area near the Theater District–it’s an actual nightlife destination with more than a few good spots. Check these bars out and we’ll keep you posted as new ones crop up!