For your first meal of the day, you opt for Sable’s. This gourmet Jewish deli is essentially the Russ & Daughters of the UES. They carry easily some of the best smoked products in the city. Today you are going with the classic morning meal: lox and cream cheese on a bagel. Don’t leave Sable’s without a taste of their sturgeon. For coffee and maybe even a pastry, consider Neil’s Coffee Shop or Orwasher’s. Honestly, the morning meals in the UES may just be the neighborhood’s strongest asset.
The lunch scene in the UES is laid back and muted compared to other sprawling NYC neighborhoods. Still, naturally, there’s some great finds for your mid-day meal. There’s the famous Papaya King on 86th, the Flex Mussels and J.G. Melon. But the best all-around spot is the Jones Wood Foundry at 76th Street. The British gastropub’s food and drinks are focused on the motherland. Here, you’ll get a chance to enjoy hard to find British beers paired with early-morning soccer matches. If you’re on a budget, the lunch express option is a perfect choice, sure to satiate with a cup of soup and BBQ pulled pork sandwich. There’s also a 3-course prix fixe meal that includes one appetizer (a choice of tomato bisque, kale salad or house made ricotta), one main dish (shepherd’s pie, grilled chicken salad, or salmon) and finally the desert in the form of chocolate mousse. If you’re more in the mood for a regular menu, sample the bone marrow, scotch egg or chicken foie gras. But don’t leave (this is a British pub after all!) without trying the authentically prepared fish and chips.
The UES has a significant cultural presence in New York City… since well before the 20th Century. Two contemporary landmarks, however, are sure to pique your interest. On 85th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenue, is a building that you feel you’ve seen before. The familiarity comes from the fact it was made famous as the high-rise that “The Jefferson’s” lived in on the hit 1970s television show. Just a little bit south, at 169 East 71st Street, is the townhouse where Holly lived in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
The quality of cocktail joints in the UES will make you giddy. They are truly some of the best in the city and they aren’t as busy as in other parts of NYC. Lexington Bar and Books features an impressive scotch and whiskey collection. There’s also the sleek Arlington Club. But probably in a class entirely of its own is the Bemelmans Bar. The art deco bar is located in the lobby of the famed Carlyle Hotel and was named after the Ludwig Bemelman, the creator of the classic children’s book series Madeline. The walls are the first thing you notice as they’re covered with artwork from the Madeline books. The silence is the next thing your senses will take in. The sound here is the quality of just a slight whisper, making the setting perfect for a romantic cocktail. The chocolate-brown leather banquettes and nickel-trimmed glass tabletops create a dramatic but classy setting, and the drinks are straightforward: classic cocktails abound.
The nights in the UES ooze class. So, if you are looking for your traditional late night, you could be disappointed. There aren’t many great dive bars or even traditional Irish pubs around. The closest has to be the Pony Bar at East 75th Street. The small corner bar features great Belgian beers that rotate weekly. The vibe here is more of a stylized dive, giving you a welcome break from the higher-end cocktail and jazz joints.