We all know the crowded banks of the Hudson River in Manhattan offer a wide range of waterside dining and drinking options, from the indispensable Frying Pan to the sprawling Boat Basin Cafe. But where do you go for a drink and a snack on the edge of the sacred East River, without leaving the isle of Manhattan? There are surprisingly few riverfront bars to choose from, but the two best (and possibly only) options happen to be just a block apart. And we are here to tell you exactly where they are.
Two very good Kips Bay restaurants, Riverpark and The Water Club, have seasonal outdoor bars where one can take refreshment and savor the river breeze. The former is Tom Colicchio's farm-to-table venture that sources some of its ingredients from a large urban farm located just outside. On the opposite side from the gardens, there's a spacious back patio and terrace with expansive river views. Order a cocktail and, if you're hungry, choose from the bar menu or the full dinner from the main dining room.
Here are the Riverpark food and drink menus—the Spring Storm, concocted with white rum, Swedish punsch, rhubarb, Ginger Juice, tarragon and seltzer certainly sounds refreshing, but if you're abstaining from alcohol, there's also an intriguing "Temperence Cooler" drink menu with a variety of refreshing cocktails for just $5.
Riverpark is open until 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays // 450 E 29th Street // (212) 729-9790
The Crow's Nest
A stone's throw north is The Crow's Nest, which is perched right above the East River with stellar views of Brooklyn and Queens. The food can be hit or miss, and costly—their shrimp cocktail costs $17 and comes with just three shrimps. Granted, they're big and fresh, but ouch. (You're better off with the oysters.) The drinks and the location, however, are worth paying for, particularly the frozen margaritas and the refreshing Pomegranate Lime Rickey. You can also get a bucket of six beers for $35, which isn't that bad considering you're paying for the location, which is conveniently located right by the East River Ferry stop at 35th Street.
The Crow's Nest has several different seating areas—an open space on one side is for folks who want to get some sun, and a tented area on the other end has ample seating in the shade. In the middle is the little bar, where you'll find some stools and seats right on the rail. Sit with your back to Bellevue, gaze out across the river at Greenpoint and Long Island City as you sip a watermelon juice spiked with vodka, and feel completely content with your decision to stay in town this summer.
The Crow's Nest is found on a yacht permanently docked at The East River between 28th & 32nd Street. It's open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. - 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m.- midnight, Saturday from 2 p.m.-midnight, and Sunday from 2 p.m.-10 p.m. If you're going there on foot, note that you can't cross the FDR until 34th Street. But the East River Esplanade/bike path will take you right there.