The Upper East Side homes at The Kent are within walking distance of many first-rate ways to spend a summer day. From strolling through the gardens of Central Park to wandering the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the day may fly by before you know it. When it does, and you’re ready to slide into a cozy candlelit booth or pull up a stool at a polished bar, the Upper East Side’s nightlife offerings don’t disappoint. Here are some of our favorite picks for a low-key night of unwinding.
Caledonia Bar | 1609 2nd Avenue
This Scottish pub is as authentic as it gets on this side of the pond. Owned by Michael Ferrie, a true Scotsman, the pub has a menu with an impressive selection of Scottish whisky, along with a few Scottish beers and small (but hearty) plates. And it feels like exactly the sort of place where one should sip fine whisky—dark wood, overstuffed leather chairs, and warm yellow light create an atmosphere that is both sophisticated and cozy, akin to a writer’s den. The whisky selection is delineated by region, so you can taste your way through Scotland. Ask about the “House Rules,” a set of cheeky directives, like the five percent discount to be given to people on Tinder dates. The catch? You have to prove it by showing the bartender your “initial awkward messages.”
Heidi’s House by the Side of the Road | 308 East 78th Street
If you’re in a hurry, you may just miss this tiny, understated white storefront, but that may be the point. Heidi’s House by the Side of the Road, named for a Depression-era poem, is a place that asks you to stop and smell the roses (or the bacon). In this intimate hideout, you can sit at the rustic wooden bar and gaze up at the excellent wine selection, and there’s not a flat screen TV in sight. The food is comforting without being heavy: fresh, hearty dishes that feel like they were made to nourish your spirit as well as your body. Indeed, if you were a weary traveler coming in off the road, you’d be relieved at the sight of Heidi’s paella, a heaping pile of rice, scallops, shrimp, chorizo, lobster, slab bacon, and sweet little onions. The relaxed, warm atmosphere here makes it an ideal setting for both catching up with an old friend or getting to know someone new.
Bemelmans Bar | 35 East 76th Street
If you’re in the mood for a little playful refinement, meet up with friends at Bemelmans Bar. Named for Ludwig Bemelmans, an artist for The New Yorker and famed illustrator of the Madeline children’s books, the bar is an enchanting combination of lavish and playful decor. The walls are adorned with original murals done by Bemelmans himself, and the ceiling is decorated with 24-karat gold. Stepping inside, The Huffington Post noted, is “like taking a trip back in time to old New York, when class was abundant, luxury meant white-glove service, and cocktailing was a way of life.” Indeed, the bartenders here are highly professional, and the drinks are classics. Bonus: there’s usually live music.