Best of Westchester (Editor's Picks)
Our seventh annual guide to the most gratifying way to spend your cash on food and drink, clothing and accessories, home enhancement, health and beauty, kids’ stuff, and entertainment. We chose the best the county has to offer and asked you, our readers, to weigh in with your picks, too. The result: 324 choice winners.
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Who says Westchester rolls up its sidewalks at dusk? We have hot spots with knock-your-socks-off views, places for late-night partying, chilling to classical tunes or N’Awlins blues, even bars to practice your pick-up lines. Let’s party!
Destination for Authentic Irish Bars
A little piece of the Emerald Isle runs for about a mile through
Yonkers. On McLean Avenue, from its intersection with the Bronx River Parkway west to it’s junction with the Major Deegan, Irish bars have taken over southern Westchester. Some of the best bets for a night out on McLean Avenue include J.P. Clarkes
Saloon, where you will enjoy the complete authentic Irish-bar experience including Celtic food and Irish sports on the tube. Indeed, this place is so nice, locals say you have to “fight” your way in (we wouldn’t recommend fighting anyone at an Irish bar though). If you’re looking for great Irish music, spend the evening at Danny Mac’s where songs from U2 or local Irish bands like Shilelagh Law infuse sound into the night. And if you just want to drink as much Guinness at as many different spots as possible, bar hop through Rory Dolan’s, Ned Devine’s, Fitzy’s, and, nearby on Katonah Avenue in the Bronx, The Rambling House. All are authentically awesome.
Relax amid romantic gardens and the lush countryside while sipping a tangerine martini and watching the sunset over the rolling green hills of North Salem at Vox this summer. Yes, it sounds like the start of a television commercial, but it’s true. With 50 outdoor seats, and a bar that holds eight, there’s reason to be excited about your next venture to the northern tip of the county. The French eatery’s outdoor bar is both serene and full of enticing libations and gastronomical delights. Ask for a mint Mojito made with fresh mint from the garden, or for a “bateau,”—a boat filled with seafood and shaved ice, cleverly designed so that melted water drips to the lower deck, sparing your shellfish a soggy fate—and you’ll see why reservations are a must at this summer hotspot.
Bar to Mingle Over Dessert
It’s a well-known fact that those who socialize while eating good food tend to have livelier discussions. Okay, we made that up, but it certainly sounds right. And if it is, then 121 is the place to be for late-night mingling. While there, order some warm pear cobbler with vanilla ice cream while fraternizing with friends, or munch on sticky toffee pudding with dulce de leche ice cream while flirting with a new—or potential—flame, or even ask for some bittersweet chocolate terrine with brandied cherries and pistachio mousse while seeking a seemingly suitable suitor; if the conversation is as scintillating as the desserts, you’ll have a very happy night.
Bar for Late-Night Partying
Options—that’s what 107’s all about. For 107, you see, is the name of the nighttime-fun multi-verse that houses Rouge Lounge, newly reopened Bourbon Alley Bar, and Aura Nightclub all in one building. It’s at Aura, though, where the largest of the parties rages throughout the night. The club can fit 500 revelers and is known to attract that many and more when some of the best local DJs make their way to the White Plains hotspot. Generally, you can follow a trail of suds from Lazy Boy Saloon, Black Bear Saloon, Kelly’s, and James Joyce down the avenue to 107 and Aura starting around 12:30 am. And once you’re there, the bartenders hand out $2 SoCo-and-lime shots, or discount other nighttime intoxicants.
Low-Key Night Out
“Chillin’” at Café Mozart means listening to jazz, folk, and classical music, while sitting on the sidewalk on a warm summer night watching the world pass by. It means smiling, talking to friends, and simply enjoying one of the café’s signature pear salads or some of its delicious homemade pasta. It means drinking good coffee and supporting local musicians. It means not ending up at a place with the word “saloon” or “bar” in its name. It means actually relaxing. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone you’re taking it easy for a change.
Bar for Warm Weather Partying
The Pier View
X2O isn’t the only reason to head down to Yonkers this summer. Peter Kelly’s neighbor, The Pier View, is a fun place to watch a game, soak in some sounds, or grab a bite to eat all throughout the year. But the bar really shines in the warmer months when the 150-seat outdoor patio becomes party central on weekends. Indeed, the place gets so packed, it actually had to stop having so many live music events. They still spring up from time to time though, and when they do, they often play outside on the 2,000-square-foot patio. But even when live music is not playing, sitting on the patio is still a must. The views of the Hudson River capture everything from the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Statue of Liberty. And on a clear day, the sunset is awe-inspiring. Happy Hour runs from 4 to 7 pm every day and, locals tell us, “There’s always something going on at the Pier View” on the weekend.
Old Bar in a New Location
Bob Hyland’s Sports Page Pub
Grab the TVs, unscrew the beer taps, pack up the bar stools—that’s what everyone’s favorite White Plains sports bar was forced to do when they lost their lease on their old Mamaroneck Avenue digs (which, by the way, still are empty). But from misfortune sprang opportunity. The beer-serving, Buffalo wings-dishing sports Mecca has reopened in the White Plains Mall with a slew of flat-screen televisions and a lot of space for its growing crowd. And fear not: the food at the Sports Page still leads the league in taste. A must-start for any meal: the French-onion soup with gooey cheese and big flavor. Combine this with one of the bar’s many frothy beers, delicious wraps, and savory burgers and you’ll be yelling “Touchdown!” in no time.
At Chat 19, you can relax outside on a warm summer night with a cool Chat 19tini (Stoli raspberry, Stoli orange, Triple Sec, cranberry juice, 7up, and peach schnapps) or finish off a delectable meal with a tasty cappuccino martini (Kahlua, Bailey’s, white crème de cacao, Godiva cappuccino, and real espresso). Or, sip one of 19 other exotic blends that loosen up those tense muscles and put a smile on your face. Chat 19’s manager claims the bar just “created martinis that they liked,” but they must have good taste–a table is hard to find at this upscale Larchmont eatery that’s a crowd favorite almost every weekend night.
[ PICK-UP BARS ]
Come here often? You will.
» College Age
We beg you, don’t turn this place into a bar full of 30-somethings on the prowl–but if you’re looking to meet the college girl or guy of your dreams, then there is no better place in the county than Michael’s. Students can’t resist the Tuesday night karaoke or the Friday night ladies’ night discounts. And most of all, local collegians like that Michael’s owner, Doug Crossett, goes out of his way to make the bar a friendly place. Indeed, Crossett insists that bartenders have to be nice to be hired, noting, “We’ll even throw you out nicely if you get out of control.” So, yes, we give you permission to go to this great bar to try to pick up a great guy or girl; just promise us you won’t wear a varsity jacket if the first number in your age is a three (or higher).
James Joyce (the poet, not the bar) once described “a nation” as nothing more than “the same people living in the same place.” If, like a nation, a bar is no more than the same people drinking in the same place, then James Joyce (the bar, not the poet), with its high repeat-visitor rate, is quite a bar. As the most mature of the “big three” bars on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains (the others being Lazy Boy Saloon and Black Bear) the large watering hole attracts a young, yet sophisticated, crowd. Regulars know to have the signature shepherd’s pie and to stop by during Happy Hour from 5 to 7 pm, when $2.50 pints and a free buffet (buffet only on Thursday and Friday) attract a young and upbeat crowd. The kitschy Celtic poetry books in the back add an upscale feel to the place and make it a necessary weekend-night stop for those 20-somethings on their way up the corporate ladder. And since the party inside the Irish-themed bar rocks all the way to the “top o’ the morning” (4 am), singles on the prowl have plenty of opportunities to pick up the perfect lad or lass for their next night out.
(914) 273-4676; www.opus465.com
Though your friends might be confused to hear you’re heading out to Armonk to meet the man or woman of your dreams, they’re sure to be jealous when you return successful. Opus 465 not only gets a host of available singles from the IBM crowd who work nearby, but also attracts eligible socialites from around the county. Why? The bar has 11 beers on tap, including local favorite Captain Lawrence, and has an extensive cocktail list that includes such chic-sounding libations as the Golden Pear (Absolute pear vodka, Triple Sec, pineapple juice, and sour mix). The kitchen at Opus is open until 11 pm Thursday through Saturday, there’s an outdoor patio, and guests can order half-priced cocktails during the bar’s weekday Happy Hour from 4 to 6 pm. It’s no wonder the owners of Opus 465 brag that couples often return for their anniversaries to “Opus—the bar where they first met.”
Globe Bar & Grill
(914) 833-8600; www.globegrill.com
Socialize in the “clubby” yet laid-back atmosphere of the Globe nightclub. When the restaurant that graces Palmer Avenue winds down its dinner service, the surprisingly large nightclub in the back heats up. Forty-somethings are attracted to the “throwback-to-the-good-old-days” concept of dining and dancing all in one place. And both are easy to do at the Globe, as the kitchen in the trendy nightspot stays open until 1 am on weekends, and two large projection TVs augment the spinning sounds played by local DJs until well after that. Since youngin’s rarely patronize the Globe, the club’s music and ambiance stay mature, upscale, relaxed, and quite popular all night long.
Continue reading for our Kids section and the rest of the Best of Westchester 2007