Cool Bars

Cool Bars



 

 

 

 

Behold! For all those who claim that Westchester’s bar scene is a myth, we present  proof of both its existence and its popularity. Despite rumblings to the contrary, on any given night, hordes of county residents hit the hotspots for dining, dancing, and a couple of brews. Whether it is the local pubs whose regulars are treated like family, the new crop of trendy bars that attract singles and newly linked couples, or the offbeat entertainment destinations you never knew existed in Westchester County (but have to experience), there are places to go after the dinner check has been paid. Here, we have included but a small sampling of what’s going on in Westchester—post-sundown.

 

 

Pub crawl! Best bets for locals, college kids home on break, water views, trivia contests, the best Buffalo wings, and, oh yes, beer. Your guide to the best bars in the county for beer selection, buffalo wings, burgers, and celeb sightings.

 

 

Bars for Locals

 

Lazy Boy Saloon

154 Mamaroneck Ave

White Plains (914) 761-0272

www.lazyboysaloon.com

As the bar where most Westchester 21-year-olds had their “first” drink, Lazy Boy remains the pub of choice for those looking to test the latest exotic ale from one of the many breweries that  supply its massive beer selection. According to general manager Jason Orsino, the bar provides patrons with a choice of more than 380 beers, including 38 draft beers and seasonal specialties. To go with your beer, each afternoon Lazy Boy delivers a no-charge selection of appetizers from wings to breaded shrimp. The crowd generally is mixed and local, and, while Lazy Boy gets crowded, it doesn’t feel cramped. That makes for an enjoyable night when you’re looking to actually enjoy the beer at a bar, rather than just drown yourself in it. 

BEST FOR: County natives who want the best chance of running into a friend from high school. 

WORST FOR: Bud Light fans.

INSIDER’S TIP: Lazy Boy holds various specialty beer nights where customers get a discount on select beers and can enjoy free samples of many notable breweries’ newest offerings.

 

Candlelight Inn

519 Central Ave

Scarsdale (914) 472-9706

If Westchester’s bar scene had a mayor, it would undoubtedly be Jack Tracy, whose Candlelight Inn has served as a town hall for central Westchester bar-goers for more than 50 years. According to Leslie Murray, a regular at the bar, “Everyone feels welcome.” Tracy’s success is due to his crave-inducing bar food, which attracts regulars from all age groups and backgrounds. It’s not uncommon to see a cluster of workers from the local Sunoco station chowing down on burgers next to players from the (non-drinking) Scarsdale High School hockey team.

BEST FOR: Those who like wings with their beer. The Candlelight Inn goes through an astonishing six to seven thousand pounds of wings each week.

WORST FOR: Those looking for live music or drink specials. As Tracy’s son puts it,  “Live music’s a pain” and “Specials are a thing of the past.”

INSIDER’S TIP: While everyone raves about the wings, Tracy prides himself on having one of the best roast-beef sandwiches in town.

 

The Blazer Pub

Rte 22, Purdys

(914) 277-4424

“Every local bar should have a bartender who’s been there a long time and knows everyone’s name,” says Yorktown resident Devin Landin. For Purdys residents, that bar is The Blazer.  It may be the horseshoe-shaped bar that keeps all customers within earshot of each other and makes all discussions open for public debate. It may be the laughter that’s so loud it sounds like music from the outside. Most likely, though, it’s the sound of good-natured banter between longtime bartender Tom Hunt and one of his many regulars that makes a night at
The Blazer one to remember. Hunt is the type of bartender who serves you your favorite drink before you even sit down.

BEST FOR: A St. Patrick’s Day with some heart. The bar works with Friends of Karen, a local charity, to conduct a holiday auction that raises money for ailing children. Everything from sports memorabilia to gift baskets is up for grabs.

WORST FOR: Foul-mouthed rabble-rousers. The Blazer is a family establishment.

INSIDER’S TIP: Order a hamburger. The burgers are so juicy and tasty that the bar gets letters from college students requesting shipments of the patties.

 

 

New Bars

 

 

 

 

Porter House Bar & Restaurant (Above)

169 Mamaroneck Ave

White Plains (914) 831-5663

In September of 2006 a strange thing started to happen on Mamaroneck Avenue. Bar-goers began crossing the street from the raucous party that springs eternally in font of Lazy Boy, Black Bear, and James Joyce, to the previously entertainment free east side of the street. What caused this shift? It was a touch of European hospitality—and European beer—now being offered at the newly opened Porter House. The Porter House feels cozy and friendly and that’s how manager Oliver Heffernan intends it. Oliver explains that the calming blue color, the Irish distillery motif, and the European “twist” on the food give customers an “intimately comfortable” experience where they get “a welcome, an interaction, and a welcome back.”

BEST FOR: Outdoor drinking and dining. Porter House features a large gas-lamp heated patio that makes the bar feel roomy.

WORST FOR: “Desperate” singles “out to meet people for the wrong reasons.” Those are the words of local Kevin Raferty, who encourages nightlife enthusiasts with only one thing on their mind to spend the evening elsewhere.

INSIDER’S TIP:  The Porter House prides itself on working with local charities such as the Pace Law Women’s group and local Leukemia and Lymphoma societies.

 

Whisky Rio

1 Van Der Donck St

Yonkers (914) 376-6050

Whisky Rio opened last March as part of the ongoing Yonkers waterfront revitalization. Like its long-awaited neighbor X2O Xaviars on the Hudson (When, Peter Kelly, when?), Whisky Rio rests right on the river and boasts magnificent views that stretch from Manhattan to the Tappan Zee Bridge. The sight is especially sweet in the summer, when customers can spend their evenings outside on Whisky Rio’s 7,000-square-foot patio. During the winter, the lack of outdoor seating is certainly a loss; however, the owners recently installed a heated tent on the patio to tide over the 20- to 30-year-old crowd in colder weather.

BEST FOR: Buckets of beer and cool tropical drinks, including the “dirty banana,” a mix of chocolate-covered bananas and rum.

WORST FOR: Eating…at least until this spring. According to manager Nick Triscari, Whisky Rio plans to become an “Irish pub with a Mexican feel” when it opens its kitchen in April.

INSIDER’S TIP: Younger guys need not apply. The bar admits girls as soon as they can drink, but men have to wait until they’re 23.

 

 

Buffalo Wild Wings (Above)

44 Westchester Ave, Port Chester (914) 690-9453;

 www.buffalowildwings.com

Here’s a game to play when you go to Buffalo Wild Wings in Port Chester: try to find a spot in the bar where you can’t see a television. With four Plasma, three LCD, 10 projection, and 25 regular ol’ TVs around the bar, it’s nearly impossible. (There’s even a TV on the stairs so you don’t miss anything walking to the bar’s second level.) Along with its 42 televisions, Buffalo Wild Wings offers 23 different beers on tap. If the bar has one downside, it’s that the food leaves something to be desired. However, the boneless Buffalo wings are only 50 cents each on Thursdays—who needs gourmet when there’s cheap wings around?

BEST FOR: Trivia. Every night, Buffalo Wild Wings features “Buzz Time” trivia, in which customers compete with barflies around the country through a wireless controller delivered to their tables.

WORST FOR: Timid fans of the away team.

INSIDER’S TIP: If you can eat 12 of the bar’s hottest hot wings in six minutes, you’ll get a T-shirt and your picture on their wall of fame.

 

 

Bars for a Unique Experience

 

107

107 Mamaroneck Ave

White Plains (914) 437-8812

107 is not just a bar, it’s an “entertainment complex,” and it’s the ultimate solution for groups who want to go out together when everyone is looking for a different flavor of nightlife. It’s really three venues in one. The ground level is “The Sho,” a lively saloon with attractive bartenders who serve up beer by the pint as high-energy music plays through the room. Directly behind The Sho (though light-years away in atmosphere) is “Aura,” a trendy nightclub with the requisite DJ, projection screen, and low mood lighting that is perfect for clubbers looking to get their groove on. Aura also features the “White Room,” a luxurious VIP lounge. Finally, upstairs at 107 is “Rouge,” an elegant sitting room with a warm fireplace and cool music. Bartenders, like Kristen D’Addano, look as chic as their surroundings and make a point of remembering not only the names but also the favorite drinks and interests of the lounge’s regulars.

BEST FOR: Affordable barbecue. 107 offers free outdoor BBQ on many summer nights.

WORST FOR: The underage and the underdressed. 107 wants to keep its clientele neatly dressed and of legal drinking age, except on its weekly teen night.

INSIDER’S TIP: Stay late enough into the night at the Sho (the bar) and you just might see some Coyote Ugly-style dancing. The women behind the bar downstairs are known to jump up and pour shots to the sound of Def Leppard or the like.

 

The Bayou Restaurant

580 Gramatan Ave

Mount Vernon, (914) 668-2634;

www.bayourestaurantny.com

Just blocks from the Cross County Parkway in Mount Vernon, The Bayou is a New Orleans-themed bar where funky decorations, lip-smacking food, and wicked good music combine to give visitors one of the most complete bar experiences in the county.

Whether it’s the miniature band of KISS action figures, the bevy of bras (yes, real bras) hanging over the bar, or the ultra-sweet piranha tank that sits next to hot sauces, The Bayou takes its eclectic décor seriously. Many of the decorations are Mardi Gras-related, and customers get the sense they are enjoying their house-special Hurricanes and Bloody Marys in the heart of the French Quarter. However, visual entertainment is just part of what makes the Bayou rock. As local resident Vern Cassell puts it, the food is why “everyone knows the place.” The dishes are distinctly Cajun and amazingly good. And The Bayou is a music lover’s paradise. The bar offers karaoke on Mondays and live music most Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Performers include both original acts such as Popa Chubby and Lipbone Redding as well as cover bands.

BEST FOR: Alligator and crawfish!  

WORST FOR: Cheapskates. Weekend cover charges range from $5 to $10 and are a surprise to most county residents who are used to enjoying their bars relatively free from entrance fees.

INSIDER’S TIP: According to Jen May-DeLima, a bartender at The Bayou, food lovers shouldn’t miss Sunday’s Southern-style brunch, which includes spam and eggs and French Quarter sweet-potato pancakes.

 

 

Bars for the Upscale Crowd

 

 

Globe Bar & Grill

1879 Palmer Ave, Larchmont

(914) 833-8600; www.globegrill.com

Don’t be fooled. The closed-for-the-night-looking restaurant that fronts the Globe misleads those who walk past it. In the back of this upscale eatery is a thriving, four-year-old lounge that features two large projection TVs, a rocking DJ, an upscale menu that is available until 1:00 am, and a bar with 18 beers on tap and trendy drinks such as mango Mojitos. Owner Claudio Gottardo devised this combination of music, food, and drink to make the Globe a “one-stop place” for nighttime entertainment that is a “throwback to old times.” BEST FOR: The over 30 and over 40 crowd. WORST FOR: Those seeking bottle service and velvet ropes. Claudio wants The Globe to be a “normal place” and keeps such excesses away. INSIDER’S TIP: The Globe provides special food and cocktail packages to those organizing group outings.

 

Trotters

175 Main St, White Plains (914) 421-5012; www.trottersny.com

For Michael Accocella, a regular occupant of a bar stool at Trotters, it’s the “effort and time” chef Anthony Goncalves puts into every dish he serves that keeps people coming back to Trotters. For his friend and fellow bar patron Anthony Mariani, it’s the feeling that the bar staff’s performance is always “in sync” with the customers’ needs. Whatever the reason, Trotters, along with fun bar Vintage and swanky Italian restaurant Mulino’s, has carved out a portion of the White Plains nightlife scene that is strictly high-class. Trotters cocktail selection includes sangria martinis and a state-of-the art wine dispenser to dispense any of more than 30 wines by the glass. BEST FOR: Stargazing, Westchester style. Local celebs Vanessa Williams and Donald Trump can be sited at Trotters. WORST FOR: Those on a budget. The drinks aren’t cheap (though the $2,950 bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is an extreme example) INSIDER’S TIP: According to bartender Colin Mead, customers should try some of Trotters’s exceptional array of Portuguese wines, which includes one of the finest selections of port wines in the county.

 

121 Restaurant and Bar

2 Dingle Ridge Rd

North Salem (914) 669-0121; www.121restaurant.com

Love is in the air at 121 where north county’s 25-and-up crowd mingles with western Connecticut’s stylish sophisticates over drinks and late-night desserts. As manager Sean Maloney observes, 121 is the place for both trendy singles looking for love and newly linked couples celebrating their “first in-person meeting after finding each other on Match.com.” Sean should know—he met his girlfriend at the bar. What is it that sets the mood for the socially desirable at 121? The gourmet menu doesn’t hurt. The kitchen produces high-end specialties like sesame shrimp with mango salad and Kobe beef cheesesteaks. But it’s the bar scene, where customers can enjoy pomegranate Martinis or blueberry Mojitos, that keep the place comfortably crowded late into the night.

BEST FOR: Trying out some local brews. 121 works with Captain Lawrence Brewery in Pleasantville to supply customers with some great Westchester-made beers.

WORST FOR: Those seeking live music. The bar scene tends to be lively, so not the place to talk to your future soul mate and actually hear a response. INSIDER’S TIP: If you want to mix food and drinks, check out one of the four special wine dinners 121 puts on each year, including its ultra-special Champagne-and- lobster dinner.

 

 

 

Where the College Kids Are

Seeking to re-live your dorm days? Where you go might depend on your Alma Mater.

 

Iona Students 

The Beechmont

750 North Ave, New Rochelle (914) 636-9533

This hangout is located steps away from the home of the Gaels and, according to Iona senior Jess Stillman, mainly attracts the “football crowd” and their groupies. The bar has a large back room and plenty of beer on tap, which makes it the perfect hangout for undergraduates who don’t feel like trekking to White Plains for a fun night out. During “Springstock,” the Iona end-of-year campus celebration, The Beechmont has hosted a special after-party to celebrate the semester’s end.

 

 

Manhattanville Students

Anywhere in White Plains

Anyone who has spent an evening drinking on the White Plains “strip” can attest to the frequent appearance of a seemingly out-of-place big red bus with a picture of Manhattanville’s famous castle on its side. This party wagon is the Manhattanville Valiant Express and chauffeurs students from the nearby college to Mamaroneck Avenue seven nights a week. Though the college actually sets up an on-campus bar known as Club 21 on some weekends, every pub in downtown White Plains can fairly be dubbed the Manhattanville bar.

 

 

Pace Students

Michael’s Tavern

150 Bedford Rd, Pleasantville (914) 769-9849

With beer pong on Wednesdays, $1 draft beers on Thursdays from 11 pm to 1 am, and half-price pints on Fridays for women, Michael’s may just be a college student’s paradise. According to bartender Joe Utschig, you can’t really appreciate the fun that Pace students add to the atmosphere at Michael’s until you’ve stopped by for a “graffiti party.” You’d have to see it to believe it, but let’s just say it involves white shirts and a ton of magic markers!

 

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