The 31 Best Bars in Westchester County
A look at the county's top places to grab a drink.
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Moderne Barn offers a gorgeous backdrop for a drink.
Moderne Barn, Armonk
430 Bedford Rd, (914) 730-0001; modernebarn.com
Yes, it’s part of a larger restaurant (and yes, we mean larger) but its sheer gorgeousness—as well as its attentive bartenders and creative cocktails (peppered guava margarita, anyone?)—put it on our list. Approaching the restaurant from the road, its lights give off a welcoming hue, and you’ll be instantly warmed by the lively mood indoors, whatever the weather is outdoors. It’s a place where one night you can cheer for your favorite sports team (there are two TVs) and the next have a sophisticated dinner with friends. (I personally love eating at the bar.) The warm farmhouse interior invites you to sip a little more slowly, listen a little more closely, and enjoy a little more thoroughly. Try the Argentinean Malbec by the glass (my fave in the cold of winter) or an inventive cocktail like the Mint-Passion Martini (anisette, vodka, passion fruit, mint, lime). There’s also a thoughtful selection of micro-brewed beers, small-batch American whiskeys, and Italian amaros and digestifs.
Lucy’s always draws a crowd on its dance floor.
446 Bedford Rd
(914) 747-4740; lucys-lounge.com
Miss the Village scene of your pre-suburban days? Head to Lucy’s, known for its generous pours, an inviting dance floor, and excellent live music (often with a cover). The variety of drinks—from seductive martinis and fine wines to draft beers—is so long, you have to see for yourself. After a couple nights of serious research there, I’m too tired to note them all (though I will say I found the espresso martini particularly worthy). Celebrate Hump Day with Lucy’s Wednesday Happy-Hour specials (4 to 6 pm) with half-priced mixed drinks and drafts. Once here, trust me: you will not want to give up your spot. The minute the music gets going—Monday nights are the ever-popular open mic nights, while Tuesdays are the People’s Jam (and the list goes on)—you’ll want to relish the party atmosphere, in which the mood is always buoyant and the invigorating buzz of the crowd (from PTA moms to 30-somethings looking to dance) fills the room until the next set starts. There’s also no food to soak up that alcohol, though all that is changing as we go to press. The lounge is in the midst of a major renovation that will add two more floors, including a mezzanine and a rooftop deck, along with a revamped menu and more of an opportunity for private parties. Big Four-Oh birthday celebration, anyone? Just remember to invite me!
The Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester
3 Renaissance Sq
(914) 946-5500; ritzcarlton.com
Okay, yes: The Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester is a hotel lobby—but a lobby bar with some of the best cocktails and elegant ambience around. Well-trained waitstaff glide from one side of the room to the other, each with the graceful gait of a dancer, delivering appetizers, topping off Chardonnays, and replacing crumpled napkins. The Lounge’s comfortable, living-room demeanor, complete with flickering fireplace, is the perfect escape after a harried day of work, with drinks designed for lingering. Plop yourself on a comfy couch and feed your power-broker self with the LC Cocktail, a mixture of elderflower liqueur, muddled strawberries, Absolut vodka, and fresh lime, topped with Prosecco. (It’s named after local real estate mogul Louis Cappelli, who developed the hotel.) There’s also a super-tasty Superfruit Margarita with VeeV Açaí Spirit, Patrón Reposado, and limejuice. Plus, from now through February 15, you can taste a glass of Dom Pérignon (which normally hotels serve only by the bottle) for $38. Those really lucky can splurge on an overnight so, come the next day, they can do it all over again.
The City Lounge
Radisson Hotel, 1 Radisson Plz, (914) 576-3700
Any place with 50 different—and unique—martinis has us hooked. Connected to NoMa restaurant (formerly City Chow House), City Lounge serves everything from Grass is Always Greener (Ketel One vodka, blue curaçao, and amaretto) to Cake Batter (Stoli Vanil vodka, pineapple juice, and crumbled cookies), plus at least 13 drinks that are under 100 calories. The bar, which previously had been white and Miami-ish in décor is being completely revamped this month (but will not be closing) to be more lounge-y with a sultry, sexy vibe and lots of dark purple colors. That means banquettes, candles, a newly designed tapas menu, and, of course, those famous specialty martinis. After 11 on Friday and Saturday nights, the entire place turns into a nightclub with a DJ and a mostly adult crowd.
14 Marble Ave
(914) 773-0003; pauliesonmarble.com
For those who want to feel like they’re 21 again—and who doesn’t?—check out the action at Paulies, where live music and/or comedy is offered Friday or Saturday night—sometimes both. We like that the place is devoted to local musicians and up-and-comers, as well as tribute and cover bands, including the always-popular Tramps Like Us (if you like “Bruuuuuuce,” this is your place). The menu is simple—which is why we had to put it on our list. It doesn’t try to be what it’s not: expect cold brewskis, lively action (the website promises a “PARTY!”), beer pong tournaments, and ladies’ night specials. Just be warned: you might want to check with your kids so you don’t all go on the same night.
The Peekskill Brewery Peekskill
55 Hudson Ave
(914) 734-2337; thepeekskillbrewery.com
Westchester has its share of corner bars, but The Peekskill Brewery has upped the ante with its genuine, warm vibe, foodie-friendly menu, and adventurous beer list (e.g., regulars like Hop Common, Indian Point Ale, and Vanilla Bourbon Stout; occasionals like Rosemary’s Baby and Beecher’s Barleywine; and seasonals like Hudson Hefeweizen and Ry Guy’s Rye Ale). Food is taken as seriously as beer, with American pub cuisine that relies on local ingredients. But the icing on the cake—or, dare we say, the foamy froth on the proverbial pint—is that this is a working brewery devoted to local hops, meaning that what’s on draft is feisty, fresh, and perfect. That said, the beer list keeps the party going: 16 craft beers on tap along with over 20 varieties of craft bottles and cans. Those of us of a certain age (I’ll let you guess that number) like that the space is clearly divided between a pub (happening) and a dining room (more laid-back), offering the opportunity to choose between the two moods (and even two menus). All of this is elevated by the fact that the staff is happy to help you choose the right flavor profiles to match your munchies. Whichever you pick, the enthusiast in you will enjoy that some of the entrées are made with—you guessed it—beer.
Rory Dolan’s, Yonkers
890 McLean Ave
(914) 776-2946; rorydolans.com
Despite its large size, there’s something comforting and warm about Rory Dolan’s, where the Irish spirit pervades every booth and barstool. Whether it’s the lilt of many of the servers, the extensive menu featuring Irish favorites like shepherd’s pie and sausage and mash, or the Irish flags that define the décor, you’ll leave happy—and potentially tipsy—thanks to a long list of frozen drinks, cocktails, and draft and bottled beers (Guinness, Murphy’s Stout, and Harp are among the faves). Mainly, the place is pure fun; on any given night you’ll find live music (check the website for details), a hopping dance floor (tables are moved away later into the night), 25 plasma-screen TVs blaring every sports show known to man, and late-night eats, available until 3 am. Traditional Irish music and bagpipes are also part of the rotating list of diversions—it just depends on the night. And therein lies the secret to Rory’s: There’s always something going on.
Sofrito, White Plains
175 Main St
(914) 428-5500; sofritonewyork.com
The Latin beat is alive and well at Sofrito, where a cascading waterfall with colorful LED lights illuminates the bar area, setting the tone for a spirited evening of tapas, drinks, and merriment. The vibrant greens, blues, and pinks, along with the mod décor (think shiny white stools that remind us of ’60s go-go boots), are made for celebrating—be it a birthday, a promotion, or simply a night on the town—and it gives the place a South Beach-meets-Westchester-feel. Mojitos are the drink of choice, though there’s a long list of other options. (I have to admit I’m partial to the Sofrito Mojito made with Don Q Cristal rum, Captain Morgan Parrot Bay, passion fruit juice, lime, and mint.) For those into a “clubbier” ambience, there’s another full bar downstairs, with a more dance-the-night-away atmosphere and secluded nooks just right for securing next Saturday night’s date. Happy Hour is held from 4 to 7 pm Monday through Friday, with drink specials and music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Village Social Kitchen & Bar Mount Kisco
251 East Main St
(914) 241-6260; villagesocialkb.com
The mood is drink-up-and-enjoy at the ever-chic Village Social, where a sign behind the bar reads: “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time.” All of which provides the backdrop—and the motto—for a perfect escape: an easy place to meet a business associate, enjoy some sans-kids conversations with your spouse, or catch up with a friend. The crowd is upbeat, the bar hip and industrial, and the thorough drink choices—heavy on the house-created cocktails and craft beers—worth savoring (try the house-specialty Blackberry Cooler). The airiness of the bar, along with the warm color palette and comforting barn wood, makes this a popular spot that consistently attracts a stream of 20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-somethings, including a euphoric post-work crowd. Thanks in part to its convivial, party-like atmosphere, it’s everything rolled into one—a guiding light of neighborly goodness designed for mingling. Cheers to that!
Wining and Dining
Nothing’s cozier than a well-stocked wine bar with food designed to complement the pours. Lucky for us oenophiles, Westchester is in a bit of a wine bar renaissance. Cheers to that!
Batonnage Wine Bar (10 Marble Ave, Pleasantville 914-769-4040; batonnagewine bar.com) is like a slice of Europe, thanks to its exposed brick, assorted antique-y bric-a-brac items, comfortable sectional couches, scattered high-tops, and regular tables. Along with a serious wine list that includes representatives from large and small producers in California, Spain, France, Argentina, Italy, and more, this quiet space features aperitifs, imported beers, sparkling wines, dessert wines, martinis, and regular cocktails, plus panini, gourmet pizzas, salads, cheeses, and desserts. It’s quite simply an ideal place for a pre- or post-Jacob Burns conversation or an adult night out with your spouse.
Pour (241 E Main St, Mount Kisco 914-864-0606; pourmtkisco.com)
The 2007 opening of this Victorian-housed bar helped solidify what we grape-lovers knew all along: Westchester residents like sophisticated wine bars. Being in the twinkly-lighted space, full of low cushions and couches, feels like you’re being entertained in someone’s home—where someone else does the pouring, cooking, and cleaning. Owner Anthony Colasacco is the ultimate host, here most evenings to welcome you and answer any questions. The wine list is impressive—and big on boutique vineyards—while the food menu is full of taste-and-share plates including warm white-bean dip, artisanal cheeses, and a trio of hummus varieties.
Vintage 1891 (2098 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont 914-834-9463; vintage1891.com)
This place started off gangbusters when it opened last year, thanks to it gorgeous, hotel-lobby-like décor (which appeals a bit more to ladies than men) and an interesting mix of wine flights. It had some growing pains (going from a small-bites and quiet-conversation spot for adults to a full-fledged restaurant where children were welcome), but we still like it for a night out with our girlfriends. The décor is just too pretty, though we do wish the truffle-infused popcorn would be served gratis. It’s so delicious!
And watch out for: Crush (1985 Palmer Ave, Larchmont 914-834-6600; crushwinebars.com), a more intimate wine bar, opening just as of press time. Owner Jennifer Deutsch is planning to have 24 wines by the glass, microbrews, and high-end scotches as well as small plates of charcuterie and cheeses, plus desserts.
Salute to Spillane’s
Mickey’s, Molly’s, Maggie’s, or Nelly’s? It’s a tough choice, but luckily all four siblings—the latter of which opened on 33rd Street in Manhattan last February—offer a similar mix of diverse clientele, passion for beer, community spirit, handfuls of TVs, and Irish charm, making it difficult for us to pick just one. For those who hanker for a
true across-the-pond pub experience—albeit on a grand scale—you can’t go wrong with any of the Spillane locations, though of course we’re partial to the Westchester ones. Mickey’s is the oldest, at six years old, Molly’s is three, and Maggie’s a wee girl who just opened last April (don’t worry: she’s still old enough to drink). Whether you crave live music, want to hang with your friends as part of a fantasy football league, are part of an area sports group, or simply want to enjoy the special Happy Hours that are forever drawing a crowd, you’ll find you’re treated the same: like a friend who’s part of the family. Note to those who like to drink alfresco: Maggie’s will open an immense (7,000-square-foot) rooftop deck in April.
Mickey Spillane’s: 431 White Plains Rd, Eastchester
(914) 395-3838; mickeyspillanes.com
Molly Spillane’s: 211 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck
(914) 899-3130; mollyspillanespub.com
Maggie Spillane’s Ale House: 571 Gramatan Ave, Mount Vernon
(914) 699-8900; maggiespillanes.com
Nelly Spillane’s: 18 East 33rd St
(212) 792-9673; nellyspillanes.com
Contributing writer Jeanne Muchnick (jeanne
muchnick.com) admits she got a little dehydrated researching this story, but she enjoyed every minute sipping, slurping, and sampling her way through the county.