Best spring bars – Harlem Edition

Time Out New York (TONY) released its list of the 50 best bars for spring. Three local favorites made the list! I remember not too many years ago when Uptown wasn’t even an afterthought in these types of lists.  See the two bars in Harlem and the one in Inwood that are featured below:

Bier International

Whether the forecast is clear or questionable, Harlem’s first beer garden beckons with its bright, modern interior and a roster of ten impressive drafts and 25 bottled suds ($6–$14). Murky skies call for the rich and toasty Erdinger Dunkel Hefeweizen ($7), while slightly sweet Reissdorf Kölsch ($6) sates palates on days when the floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto the pavement. Come early May, the venue will roll out a sidewalk café with additional seating. 2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave) between 113th and 114th Sts (212-280-0944,

Red Rooster

Marcus Samuelsson’s neighborhood-influenced American spot delivers cocktails that are as worthy of a “hallelujah” as the fluffy corn bread they wash down. The vivid copper bar top, shelves scattered with antique bric-a-brac, warm marquee lights and a lively open dining room all set the scene for the spring menu’s playfully spicy and herbal offerings. Don’t miss Moses Laboy’s Dillio cocktail, a creation that draws on two cuisines Samuelsson knows well, skillfully combining peanut-infused bourbon (an African nod) with muddled dill (Scandinavian), plus lime juice, simple syrup and ginger liqueur ($13). 310 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) between 125th and 126th Sts (212-792-9001,

Indian Road Café

If you can’t escape the city for the weekend, this rustic bar and café at the tip of Manhattan is the right place to spend the day pretending the Adirondacks are right outside the door. A straight-from-the-garden Hudson Valley vibe pervades the locavore-centric food-and-drink menus, featuring specialties like sausages from Vincent’s Meat Market on Arthur Avenue; Kingston, New York’s Keegan Brewery Hurricane Kitty IPA ($6); and Hudson Baby bourbon ($20) from Tuthilltown Spirits. The longer you relax at this earnestly welcoming spot, the harder it becomes to rejoin urban life. 600 W 218th St at Indian Rd (212-942-7451, Mon–Thu, 7am–10:30pm, Fri–Sat 7am–11:30pm, Sun 8am–10pm.

Read the whole list on TONY.


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3 thoughts on “Best spring bars – Harlem Edition

  1. Hi!

    Harlem’s first beer garden? Gee, my mother spoke about a popular beer garden on 127th back in the day; a meeting spot for some of the areas golf and motorcycle clubs. Hmmm. I’ma ask some other old timers (forgive me, this is my research background coming through) for validation and perhaps a photo.

    I guess folks forget that before the 60’s and the advent of its planned destruction, Harlem was a vibrant Black community with upscale restaurants (yes), nice buildings and boutiques. The only difference is that it was more of an African-American community with businesses owned by us.

    While I’m happy about the blossoming, all these “firsts” would make folks think that we weren’t sh*t before. Hey, history plays a part in one’s self esteem.

    • Hi Sahara, you are right. It isn’t technically Harlem’s “first” beer garden. Harlem was a Dutch colony and the Germans also had a time in the area as did the Jews and others before the period most of us associated with black Harlem. If you can dig up a pic of that old spot your remember and share it that would be great!

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