The Definitive Guide on Where to Drink in Westchester

Into the art of elbow-bending? There’s a select county barstool — 25 of ’em, in fact — waiting for you.


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Rye House Bar Manager Sarah Pyles, a CIA grad and former restaurant line cook, brings a chef’s sensibility to her cocktail crafting.

Photograph by Ken Gabrielsen

Westchester’s bar scene includes a diverse group of watering holes, and we sipped and ambled our way through all of them (as many as our collective livers would allow, that is). So, whether you’re looking for clandestine date spots, master drink-slingers, farm-to-glass temples, tequila hangouts, whiskey haunts, hipster beer sanctuaries, lovable dives, or crafty cocktail lounges, the county has your spot. Check out our favorite places to hail a bartender and quench your thirst.

From dry, spicy ryes to tobacco-y bourbons to Japanese and Irish whiskeys, Rye House in Port Chester is a “brown stuff” specialist.

Whiskey Bar

Rye House, Port Chester

I’ll Have a… PC Native, made with local spirits, including StilltheOne Distillery’s Westchester Rye Whiskey and Neversink Spirits’ apple brandy.

Vibe: Much like the sleek leather-and-wood design, the clientele can skew masculine (the scene is more balanced on weekends).

Whiskey — more than 170 types — is the reason to sidle up to the bar at Rye House. Quaff your way through the Highlands, throw back local ryes or compare a few of Kentucky’s finest. The Empire State Whiskey flight ($28) showcases pours from four regional producers. Not into the brown stuff? Cocktails employ creative ingredients, like beet-and-lemongrass water and black-pepper-sage syrup.

Eat This: Fried pickles with buttermilk-ranch dip are only $5 during Happy Hour (weekdays 4 p.m.–7 p.m.). At dinner, don’t miss the outstanding Carolina shrimp and grits.

 

Craft Cocktails, Farm-to-Glass

Restaurant North, Armonk 

I’ll Have a… Vesper Martini, made with Brooklyn’s Greenhook Gin, Long Island Spirits’ Liv vodka, Lillet Blanc, and house-grown lemon thyme.

Vibe: Well-heeled, white-collar types and up-county suburban dwellers.

Summertime mojitos with seasonal peas yield to drinks crafted with Empire State bourbons and ciders for fall at this four-time James Beard-nominated restaurant that offers food with a local pedigree. The locally grown mantra extends to the bar, where heirloom herbs from a “bar garden” are plucked in front of guests, and by-the-glass wine offerings are treated with the same thoughtfulness as the bottle program. Longtime purveyors, like Captain Lawrence and Macari Vineyards, share bar space with other up-and-coming Empire State brewers, such as Black Dirt Distillery.

Trend Alert: The North bar team makes mead from Macari Vineyards honey; try it combined with Hudson Valley bourbon, saffron ice, and citrus in the Saffron Sour. 

 

Craft Cocktails, Vintage

Iron Vine, Peekskill 

I’ll Have a… Cool & Proper, with Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber, lime, mint, and simple syrup, served straight up.

Vibe: This vintage tapas bar — all decked out with locally reclaimed materials — draws lots of townies, including couples on date night and hipsters throwing back a few at the bar.

With its exposed-brick walls and pressed-tin ceilings, the long room channels a modern speakeasy vibe, and cocktails follow suit, with infusions, syrups, and shrubs made in-house. A stiff IV Old Fashioned skews classic, with orange bitters frozen into its large, spherical ice cube, while other cocktails come with a twist — like a caipirinha, with Iron Vine’s own cucumber-apple shrub.

Eat This: The earthy chorizo en cazuela seeps either honey or an organic wine and sherry reduction, just asking for a knob of crusty bread.

 

Craft Cocktails

Gleason’s, Peekskill

I’ll Have a… Lucy, a twist on a Cosmo, with raspberry-flavored vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, and lime juice.

Vibe: No pretentions here — laid-back locals looking to enjoy a delicious and affordable drink at the mahogany bar.

As part of Peekskill’s blossoming arts-and-food scene, the barkeeps are committed to promoting authenticity, working from recipes as chefs do, making most of their syrups, juices, and infusions by hand and barrel-aging as much as possible. Produced in limited batches, the seasonal cocktails include selections such as Green Machine with Effen Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, green tea, herb syrup, and fresh lime.

Trend Alert: Infused everything. They have an infusion jar used to blend spirits with fruit and herbs.

 

Classic Dive

Cellar Bar, Larchmont

I’ll Have a… Beer

Vibe: The opposite of gentrified, this sub-street-level dive bar at the Larchmont train station attracts au pairs, flannel-shirted dart-throwers, aged frat-boys-turned-bankers, and assorted amiable Sound Shore characters.

Don’t expect hand-crafted specialty cocktails at this simply decorated, slightly cramped bar — standard-issue drinks are the way to go. Open until 4 a.m. daily year-round, the owner and bartenders exude an organic friendliness. The bar crowd morphs through numerous incarnations, skewing younger as the night progresses. If you come often enough, you’ll likely make new friends. Find out what’s going on not through their website, Facebook, or Instagram pages (they have none of these) but rather the old-school way, by reading the board posted outside.

Eat This: Complimentary buffet on Mondays or chili dogs on darts-night Thursdays.


Related: Classic vs. Classy​ Drinks 


Irish Pub

Dunne’s Pub, White Plains 

I’ll Have a… Guinness

Vibe: Dunne’s isn’t fancy, nor is it trying to be. This neighborhood spot features regular customers shooting the breeze and grabbing a basic drink. 

Dunne’s is a divey Irish pub. There’s plenty of reasonably priced bar food to nosh on, and Irish staples like a corned beef sandwich or grilled bangers with Irish beans and curried chips. Come here to have a beer, and make it a perfect pint of creamy and frothy-headed Guinness, arguably Westchester’s best pour. Every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m. you can catch a seisiún — or live, traditional Irish music session — if that’s your thing.

Eat This: The Gaelic steak, a grilled 12-oz New York strip, topped by an Irish-whiskey cream sauce, with mushrooms and tomatoes.

 

Yup, that’s a strawberry popsicle, made in-house BTW, in Little Drunken Chef's red sangria.

photo by Stefan Radtke

Party Scene, Mixed Drinks

Little Drunken Chef, Mount Kisco

I’ll Have a… sangria with a strawberry, mango, or pineapple popsicle.

Vibe: Both hipsters and soccer moms getting down to the pounding late-night beats on the makeshift dance floor.   

The cocktails — try the Slumdog Billionaire, with bourbon, fresh lemon juice, grenadine, and bitters — are expertly mixed and sufficiently strong to inspire spontaneous dancing. And while it’s never particularly tranquil, things really ramp up after dinner on weekends, when the DJ cage pounds the latest hits, and the kitchen is still turning out a menu of globally inspired small plates and oysters.

Eat This:  Go with some of the Indian-inspired tapas items, like cocktail samosas, Tibetan momos, and chicken tikka masala sliders.

 

Sake Specialist

KOKU, Armonk

I’ll Have a… Saketini, a mixture of cucumber-infused organic vodka and premium Ozeki sake.

Vibe: A well-heeled crowd of mostly central- and north-county residents dines on sushi in a room sporting a curved walnut overhang above the sushi bar.

You won’t find any sake with a harsh bite on KOKU’s premium list. Within the modern yet cozy space, behind the smooth onyx marble bar, are 16-plus offerings of the unique alcoholic beverage, fermented from rice and full of aromatics. The fragrant SOTO, super-sweet, very mellow, and very smooth, is the sake enthusiast’s choice, according to partner Eric Cheng, while the easy-to-drink Bunraku Junmai Dai-Ginjyo, with a faintly sweet delicate and smooth finish, is for the newbie.  

Eat This: Pair the SOTO with the grilled black cod, marinated for a day in golden-yellow, mildly sweet saikyo miso.

 

Beer Garden, Craft Beer

Bridge View Tavern, Sleepy Hollow

I’ll Have… whatever’s on tap from Hill Farmstead.

Vibe: Beer geeks of all ages, shapes, and sizes

Sure, it’s got a panoramic view of the Gov. Cuomo Bridge and the Hudson, but that’s not what keeps loyal customers coming back to BVT. It’s the cozy pub atmosphere, comforting cheese-topped dishes, like garlicky herb-flecked fries, and most of all, the first-rate draft list. Expect rotating selections from Hill Farmstead (rated the No. 1 brewery in the world by RateBeer.com), Ommegang, and local Hudson Valley brewers, like Sloop and Rushing Duck.

Trend Alert: In the warmer months, an outdoor courtyard turns into one of the county’s few beer gardens.

 

Wine Bar

Boro6, Hastings-on-Hudson

I’ll Have a… glass of wine.

Vibe: The casual-chic clientele runs the gamut, from women gossiping over rosé to commuters sipping solo at the U-shaped marble bar after work.

Inspired by trips to Italy, Jennifer Aaronson and Paul Molakides recently opened this well-dressed European-style wine bar. The wine list features roughly 40 by-the-glass options, from Oregon Pinot Noir to Austrian rosé to funky, pine-laden Greek Retsina. If wine’s not your thing, there’s also a handful of New York State ciders and a growing bottled beer list.

Eat This: The open-face tuna-salad sandwich is better than it has any right to be, but you can’t go wrong with cheese and charcuterie.   

 

Latin Cocktails, Tequila

Sonora, Port Chester

I’ll Have a… Sotol, a tequila-like spirit made from wild agave and fermented with Champagne yeast.

Vibe: Sophisticated 30- and 40-somethings unwinding with a few drinks before dinner.

If you’re looking for shots of Cuervo, don’t come here. The bar area at Rafael Palomino’s pan-Latin spot is for sipping some of the 70-plus tequilas on the menu, many from craft producers. Divided into blanco, añejo, and reposado, each pour comes with handy tasting notes (“Cognac-like flavors,” “hints of grapefruit, pineapple, and black pepper”). Not quite ready to sip your tequila straight? Try one of the margaritas in flavors like spicy ginger.

Trend Alert: Become a devotee of mezcal (there is always a handful available), tequila’s smokier, trendier cousin, also made from the agave plant.

 

Wine List

Crabtree’s Kittle House, Chappaqua

I’ll Have a… glass — okay, bottle — of wine.

Vibe: Expect a sophisticated adult crowd (slightly less formal in the tap room and more buttoned-up in the white-tablecloth dining room).

The wine selection has won just about every award imaginable — including Wine Enthusiast’s Award of Great Distinction multiple times. It’s easy to see why: Tour the cellar with owner John Crabtree, and his enthusiasm for collecting vintages leaps off the carefully labeled racks, to the tune of about 65,000 bottles. Solo drinkers should keep an eye out for premium by-the-glass pours. There are cocktails and beers on tap, too.

Trend Alert: Drink a few cocktails made with kombucha, a fermented tea that imparts a funky, slightly sour taste.

 

Hotel Bar

Lobby Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Westchester, White Plains

I’ll Have an… extra-dry gin martini, straight up, with olives and a twist, rocks on the side.

Vibe: Posh hotel guests, wedding attendees, execs winding down after a day of meetings, young couples on a fancy first date.

The lobby Lounge area oozes contemporary sophistication, while strategically placed oversize chairs invite intimate, hushed exchanges. Channel your inner 007 while swirling a classic cocktail and reclining on seating by the central flickering fireplace, which offer perfect people-watching perches. The drink menu is as erudite as the surrounds, with powerbroker selections such as the rich, complex, and fine-bubbled Baron de Rothschild “Reserve Ritz” Brut Champagne ($30/glass; $110/bottle), and the Westchester Mule made with Tanqueray Number 10 Gin, mint, ginger beer, and lime juice.

The Ritz-Carlton’s Lobby Lounge exudes a classy swag.

Eat This: Pair a handcrafted cocktail with prosciutto fig flatbread with spiced orange marmalade, arugula, and goat cheese.

 

Whiskey Bar, Date Night

Pour, Mount Kisco

I’ll Have a… couple (pricey!) ounces of Pappy Van Winkle

Vibe: Cozy couples in the red-leather-upholstered sitting room and groups having conversations over whiskey and cigars on the Victorian house’s porch.

The list of two-ounce pours (from $10 to $200) spans the globe, including three ages of cultish Pappy Van Winkle (ask owner Anthony Colasacco what other rare whiskies he’s got tucked away). Also worth a quaff: classic Italian aperitivi, including an aperol spritz and negroni sbagliato (above right); three types of absinthe served in the “traditional drip method,” and a short list of interesting wines. Keep an eye out for occasional wine-bingo nights, when winners take home bottles.

Eat This: The crispy chickpea bites are truly addictive.

 

Craft Beer

Growlers Beer Bistro, Tuckahoe

I’ll Have… something off Growlers’ rarer-than-most-bars draft list, something that’s new to you.

Vibe: Early dinner hours, weekends, and brunch are family-friendly at this chill beer-centric lounge, but at night it’s a mid-20s-and-up hangout.

Located across from the Tuckahoe Metro-North station, Growlers is a go-to for your craft-beer fix. Their thoughtful beer list switches up often; you’ll find nothing from macro-breweries and plenty from smaller operations (i.e., those not owned by major beer corporations). If you’re a craft novice, fear not: They’re happy to steer you in the right direction, and you’ll likely leave with some additional beer knowledge. And behold the Wall of Foam, where the names of those who’ve downed 100 beers at Growlers (not on a single visit, silly) are listed.

Eat This: Hot artichoke spread: a mini-cast-iron crock filled with a still-bubbling, browned on top, cheesy mixture that’s served with crunchy bread for dipping and spreading.


Related: The Art of the Drink: 10 Clever Cocktail Names


Craft Cocktails

Harper’s, Dobbs Ferry

I’ll Have a… Mack and Jack. Made with Four Roses bourbon, sage-infused maple syrup, lemon juice, and orange bitters.

Vibe: Artsy couples in their late 30s, alongside empty nesters in a repurposed wood interior.

The bar and dining menus rotate seasonally, but this farm-to-table outpost always offers well-executed drinks that highlight the bounty of the season. The Agua Mezca pairs mezcal and the quinine-laced aperitif wine Cocchi Rosa with fresh watermelon, while the Continental Breakfast has Black Grouse Scotch, local honey, grapefruit, bitters, and an egg white. In-the-know regulars request old standbys, even when they’re off the menu. Those same regs know to imbibe in the beautiful secluded stone patio when the warmer temps hit.

Eat This: Harper’s Burger — a USDA Prime house-beef patty on a brioche bun — always beckons, but on Monday, $20 gets you the patty and a beer.

 

Social Scene, Tequila

bartacoPort Chester

I’ll Have a… margarita

Vibe: Reach to the far depths of your closet for that Abercrombie & Fitch checkered shirt you’ve had since high school to fit in with the 20- and 30-year-olds in bartaco’s casual, Baja beach-inspired digs. It gets jam-packed — and loud — especially on weekends and fair-weather days.

The “bar” in bartaco was always the star of the show, even over the tacos. It’s a premier tequila bar, boasting more than 50 different bottles, including the highly regarded Casa Noble and Siete Leguas brands. If that doesn’t tempt you, their cocktail game is strong, using only the freshest ingredients, including infused syrups and just-squeezed juices for optimum flavor. Also if you’re a fan of Spanish/South American wines, know that bartaco has one of the largest selections of these bottles in the US.

Eat This: Always ask about their not-so-secret “secret taco” that previously included creations like Brazilian churrasco steak and deep-fried avocado.

 

Brewery, Day-drinking

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Elmsford 

I’ll Have… something seasonal — stouts in the winter, sours and low-ABV ales in the summer.

Vibe: The beer hall is usually abuzz with chatty groups and beer geeks clinking glasses, so don’t think “I’m too young” or “I’m too old.” If you like beer, whether 21, 101, or somewhere in-between, you’ll fit in.

One of the originators on the New York craft beer scene more than 11 years ago, founder Scott Vaccaro shows no signs of slowing down. There’s always something going on, like Wednesday trivia and the occasional beer festival. They brought on a chef last year, so now they have a full food menu and still release experimental pilot batches (e.g., Hopsomniac Cold Brew IPA). The brewery adeptly crafts winning brews across styles, whether it’s a sweet-tart sour made with Hudson Valley peaches or a high-ABV dark ale aged in bourbon barrels. On nice days, venture outside to the patio and challenge your pals to a game of bocce or cornhole.

Eat This: An everything-crusted soft pretzel that’s coated with everything-bagel spices; plunge it in their Frost Monster Imperial Stout cheese sauce.

 

Mixed Drinks, Social Scene, Wine List

Moderne Barn, Armonk 

I’ll Have a… Corina, inspired by a favorite summer drink of co-owner Corina Livanos, made with Prosecco, Framboise Liqueur, and fresh raspberry.

Vibe: The farmhouse-chic interior draws well-heeled denizens, many from Armonk, Bedford, and North Greenwich during the week, mixed with more far-flung guests on weekends.

A vaulted level of execution drives the creative-minded drinks behind the bar at Moderne Barn.

photograph by paul johnson

The impressive terroir-driven Moderne Barn wine program, recognized by Wine Spectator with Best of Awards of Excellence from 2012 to 2017, includes 630 wines stored in three separate temperature-controlled cellars. “Our selections range from well-known, well-regarded producers to smaller, more artisanal producers…that have a more natural, hands-off approach to winemaking,” says Edgar Balagot, wine director. The bartenders keep the cocktail offerings fresh with seasonally rotating drinks (the hibiscus margarita with chili-salted rim astounds), some with house-made syrups and locally grown garnishes. On busier nights, the bar can be quite the three-deep social scene — the annual Halloween party is an especially raucous affair!

Trend Alert: There is a rotating collection of 42 wines-by-the-glass offered via the Coravin System, allowing tastes of high-end bottles, such as the Dalla Valle Vineyards 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Irish Pub, Social Scene

Rory Dolan’s, Yonkers 

I’ll Have a… Half & Half, aka Black & Tan (a layered beer cocktail commonly made with a pale ale and a stout)

Vibe: A good mix of McLean Avenue Irish locals, out-of-towners, soccer-match watchers, and some Bronx residents make it over to this boisterous public house.

Rory Dolan’s is the premier Irish pub in Westchester and even a little beyond that. Here, you’ll find all the requisite Irish-pub trappings: a proper Guinness pour; indigeneous food, like lamb stew; an omnipresent and affable owner; a solid beer lineup (45 drafts); and a brunch that includes a genuine Irish breakfast. It’s also where you need to be on St. Patrick’s Day, as it’s packed to the brim with people rocking their holiday greens.

Eat This: Corned beef and cabbage; available as a special on Thursdays and daily in the month of March.

 

Bartender-To-Know, Cocktail Program, Wine List

RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, Tarrytown 

I’ll Have an… Olé! with homemade habañero and jalapeño Slovenia Vodka, vanilla simple syrup, passion fruit, strawberry, and fresh lemon juice.

Vibe: Gourmands eager for sustainable food and drink, business lunchers, and nattily garbed Rivertown denizens in an interior with lots of salvaged wood.

The philosophy behind the beverage program at the understated yet refined RiverMarket is the same as the food program: sustainable and local whenever possible. The 175-bottle wine list features international selections from vineyards that practice biodynamic winemaking or organic farming — no chemicals! There are also another 50 selections, mostly luxury wines (e.g., Raveneau, Leflaive) not on the list yet but developing in the cellar. Artisan cocktails are also a draw here, with lots of heart and soul behind all the potent potables. Beverage Director Emilio Ugarte, with help from mixologist Andrea Morales, offers a cocktail list so original, it’s difficult to select just one. We suggest the Warwick Gin-based Local Gin & Juice to start; one of those, and your second order will come easy.

Beverage Director Emilio Ugarte at RiverMarket uses local spirits and unusual ingredients in many of his cocktails.

Rivermarket photograph by rana faure

Trend Alert: Reinterpreting classic cocktails with a modern pour, e.g., the New Fashioned    — a take on an old fashioned — with Hudson Baby Bourbon, simple syrup, Old Fashion Bitters, orange bitters, and house-made bourbon cherries.

 

Craft Beer, Draft List

Lazy Boy Saloon, White Plains

I’ll Have… one (or more) of their 40-plus draft beers.

Vibe: Craft-beer aficionados, sports enthusiasts, and 9-to-5ers enjoying Happy Hour can be found at this casual but lively bar on busy Mamaroneck Avenue.

We mentioned the 50-plus taps, but Lazy Boy has hundreds of different varieties of beer, including cans and bottles. Their selection has some rarities (e.g., Einstok Icelandic, brewed 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle) but includes the Buds and Millers of the world, as well as Belgians and other international beer. Grab an order of their famed tequila-citrus wings, because every other table is already eating them.

Trend Alert: Lazy Boy Saloon jumped on the crazily garnished milkshake craze, so pay the $12, snap a photo, get Instafamous, and take the two sugary gulps that you can handle.

 

Rooftop, Wine List

WinstonMount Kisco

I’ll Have a… Gentleman Fig cocktail with rye whiskey, Figenza (fig vodka), muddled berries, and a touch of apricot.

Vibe: The diners match the décor: sleek and ambitious.

Enjoy a Gentlemen’s Fig at Winston’ open-air rooftop bar.

photograph by ken gabrielsen

This hip New American bistro offers regular live music and five-course monthly wine dinners with respected vintners. Find diners elegantly quaffing in the first-floor gastropub, second-floor atrium, or the fully stocked third-floor rooftop bar and terrace. The breadth of impressive drink offerings include more than 270 New and Old World wine varietals including rare vintages, 20-plus wines-by-the-glass, handcrafted cocktails (white peach or blood orange margarita, anyone?), and nearly two dozen draught and bottled beers.

Trend Alert: Wine ages slower in bigger bottles, so sampling the same vintage from different-sized bottles yields different tastes. Experience this at Winston with the 3 Liter Project: limited-edition, rare vintages of specialty wine at affordable prices (wines, like Banfi’s Brunello di Montalcino, 2010, go for $25/glass, a steal compared to $75/glass in NYC).

 

Date Night, Whiskey Bar

Bar’Lees, Mamaroneck

I’ll Have a… bourbon old fashioned

Vibe: This loungey whiskey/wine bar is akin to someone’s living room, perfect for unwinding at day’s end.

Aside from chitchat among small groups and duos, the 130-whiskey-option Bar’Lees is relaxation personified. Grab a few ounces of reasonably priced high-end dram or keep it light with a glass of wine from a list of more than 100. The top-shelf cocktails are solid, too, with a section dedicated to brown-liquor mixed drinks. It’s a notorious date-night place, including those initial Tinder-match meetings. Stop by on Tuesdays for tarot-card readings, and there’s typically live music Thursday through Saturday.

Eat This: The creamy burrata atop tiny toast rounds is a good accompaniment to your first drink.


Related: Themed Nights Calendar


Wine Bar, Date Night

Vintage 1891 KitchenLarchmont 

I’ll Have a… wine from the 24 by-the-glass list, such as a creamy, floral 2015 Bernard Defaix Chardonnay.

Vibe: Parents’ night out in the dining room and girls’ night out in the curtained-off, candlelit bar section with plush seating.

General fan favorites, as well as some nice, small-batch producers is how co-owner/manager Amy Negri describes the wine offerings (a couple of thousand by the bottle) at this inviting restaurant/bar serving Contemporary American cuisine. There’s even a temperature-controlled wine vault to store your wine. Though not an official ladies’ night, Thursdays are packed with women dining at the bar and lounging on the white couches, ordering rosé sangria and watermelon Mojitos. Several couples have gotten engaged here, and they’ve even hosted a handful of boutique weddings.

Eat This:  Pair the truffle mac ’n’ cheese and the garlic-crusted rack of Australian lamb with an old, earthy red Burgundy. 

 

 

 

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