The 31 Best Bars in Westchester County
A look at the county's top places to grab a drink.
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There’s always a happening at The Brazen Fox.
175 Mamaroneck Ave
(914) 358-5911; thebrazenfox.com
Whether you go for the boisterous Happy Hour (4 to 8 pm, Monday to Friday); the Wednesday ladies’ night specials (5 to 11 pm); the late-night menu (food served until 2 am); or the dizzying collage of TVs and music (there’s always a game on), The Brazen Fox is a crowd-pleaser with something for everyone. Gal pals gather for green-apple martinis and frozen mudslides, while guys enjoy a cold Heineken or something more creative from the seasonal listings (Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, anyone?). It’s a 20- to 30-something crowd (emphasis on the Millenials), with outdoor seating in warm weather; a dance floor; a large upstairs bar; and a DJ spinning on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, all of which keep the place hopping until the wee hours of the morning. It’s also especially popular on game days, so come early to stake out your real estate.
Hudson Grille, White Plains
165 Mamaroneck Ave
(914) 997-2000; hudsongrilleny.com
This elegant space, with its muted interior and cozy side-room, feels like it’s been here forever, despite the fact that it’s been open just under two years. The tantalizing vibe, welcome spaciousness, and sophisticated mixology make the place attractive, as do the list of addictive nibbles (think mini inside-out burgers, lollipop chicken, wings, and filet mignon kabobs); tempting heavier entrées (steak frites, seafood stew, etc.); and the fact that you’ll find people in here from ages 25 to 65. Another big draw: the outside back patio is available for seating or for mingling at bar number two. The action heats up around 9 pm, making the scene a more sophisticated alternative to the louder bars on the Avenue. Happy Hour from 4 to 7 pm Monday to Friday includes $5 drinks.
Karma Lounge of Westchester, Ossining
175 Main St
(914) 488-5999; karmalounge175.com
Sure, Karma Lounge of Westchester may be off the beaten track—not much seems to be happening in downtown Ossining these days—but that’s even more reason for checking it out. Depending on when you’re reading this, there’s either a DJ, karaoke, or live band. This underrated restaurant—with its Zen décor, inspired New American dishes, and musical talent (generally with no cover)—is all about entertainment. As in fun martinis, gourmet food, and rollicking tunes (Sunday jazz nights in particular will get you up and out of your seats). But let’s backtrack to the bar where owner Alison D’Elia and her staff are kicking some serious cocktail butt with a long list of spectacular libations, like the Mojito Martini and the Karma Cosmo. As much as we love the bar, we also have to say something about the food, a fusion of flavors from Michael DeBride, known as Chef Miguel, who has worked with many a star chef (including Westchester’s own David DiBari of The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry). Though Karma’s not a place you’d just happen upon, it’s nice to find an outpost where the food and drinks are serious, but the atmosphere comfortable and oh-so-unexpected.
Wine lovers enjoy the sophisticated vibe at The Gnarly Vine.
The Gnarly Vine
501 E Main St
(914) 355-2541; thegnarlyvine.com
At The Gnarly Vine, it’s easy to feel a bit intoxicated before you ever have a drink. That’s because the mellow, candle-filled space creates grown-up vibe ideal for drink appreciation and quiet conversation. Though wine is at its heart and soul—there are more than 25 whites and reds by the glass, along with almost 100 bottles from all over the world—we also love it for its food: made-to-order small plates plucked straight out of the farmers’ market. You can come here and drink and talk. Or drink and nosh. Or just drink in all the place has to offer: open mic nights on Mondays starting at 9 pm and occasional live music done casually, like an old-fashioned coffeehouse (no cover).
JT Straw’s Bar & Grill
435 N Main St, (914) 937-9695; jtstraws.com
It’s a dive. There, I said it; damn political correctness. You’ve surely passed JT Straw’s a million times without thinking twice about it. Outside, it looks like a hole-in-the-wall, but inside is like stepping back into Westchester’s past. Expect a bit of a roadhouse décor: basic wooden bar, a pool table front and center, a bunch of high-def screens, and private booths, which easily accommodate six. My friends swear by the wings, though I’m more of a wood-fired pizza fan; they’re surprisingly delish and served with various toppings, including wild mushrooms and truffle oil, clams casino, and an array of meats: sausage, meatballs, chili, and bacon. The sense of camaraderie extends to the daily Happy Hours, when, from 3 to 6 pm, you get $1 off all drinks along with free wings and discounted pizzas, calzones, and stromboli. NFL Sundays and Monday Night Football games are big at the Straw, where it’s easy to get “hoppy” with 50-cent wings in a variety of flavors.
Lazy Boy Saloon
154 Mamaroneck Ave
(914) 761-0272; lazyboysaloon.com
Since 1994, this White Plains-area stalwart has educated and entertained with its deep dedication to suds. New offerings like Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher pour alongside craft classics like Captain Lawrence and Sierra Nevada in this spirits sanctuary where there’s almost nothing you can’t find. It’s the King of the Happy Hours, too, with a free hot-and-cold buffet on Thursday and Friday, along with select craft beer specials and discounted drinks Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 pm. Friday nights, live music starts at 7 pm. Of course folks gravitate here for the saloon’s spicy Buffalo wings: they’re 25 cents on Thursday nights—meaning your bar bill could well be more than your food bill. Because of its cheap goodness, you’ll find different days and nights bring different crowds—from recent college grads to recently retired Baby Boomers. Just be forewarned: it’s often busy here. No one seems to care, though, because the beer’s so darn good and the food hits the spot.