The Upper East Side gets a rep for being stuffy, but I beg to differ. This is the neighborhood of old money, a new Subway stop, Gossip Girl and likely the biggest closets in Manhattan. It’s also home to a few of my favorite places to frequent in New York City.
UES: Secret Bar Behind an Ice Cream Shop
You’ll see the pink storefront as you’re strolling down 2nd Avenue, so adorable that you must go in and try some ice cream. And while the frozen treats are delicious, the real fun is waiting for you behind the wall of ice cream cartons.
Say, “I’d like to see the storage room please” and if you’re lucky, you’ll get whisked away into a a secret bar that’s chic and trendy with bartenders mixing up inventive cocktails. Try the Girls Gossip on the East, which is served on fire.
Head to the bathroom for a selfie (no judgement) and try not to snack on the toppings lining the bar–I learned that they’re garnishes for the cocktails, not light bites for the buzzed guests. Whoops.
There is a dress code and they do enforce it. Also, get some ice cream on the way out like I did. It’s extra delicious when you’re tipsy and want something sweet. A bar behind an ice cream shop? What a brilliant business idea.
1707 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10128
(Open Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m.)
Dress Code: No t-shirts, collarless shirts, torn or baggy jeans, flip flops, sneakers or any athletic wear.
Secret Coffee Shop/Bar
There’s no password and this is not a speakeasy, but it’s a secret for the purposes of this blog because I’m not going to write the name of it here.
It’s my friend’s favorite local coffee shop/bar and if I ruined it for her by telling everyone about it she would buy a plane ticket to Nashville and break my computer.
This coffee shop turns into a bar later in the day and serves drinks until 2 a.m. on the weekends and 12 a.m. on weekdays. It’s spacious, which you don’t see often in NYC. And it’s usually filled (but not overcrowded) with locals who live nearby, like my friend Shannon.
It’s not touristy, so if you want to get a feel for what the locals do, or if you happen to love getting your coffee and sangria served from the same barista/bartender, this is your spot. I spend time here whenever I’m in New York.
Send me a message on the contact page or via Instagram and I’ll tell you where this is. Whoever said secrets are no fun obviously never got their coffee and cocktail from the same establishment.
This last place is maybe the worst kept secret on the Upper East Side, but if you haven’t heard of it, you’re missing out. It’s a rustic and cozy Italian restaurant that’ll make you forget–or not care–that carbs are bad for you.
We started with an appetizer of carbs, UVA’s Cav and Cheese. It was so delicious that I still dream of it all the way from Nashville. After splitting our cheesy carbs as a first course, I ordered a big plate of main course carbs all for myself–Fettuccine Con Gamberi E Zucchine.
Make a reservation ahead of time if you don’t want to be eating your carb dinner at 10 p.m. (which happened to us because we waited until a few days before to book a table). You can sit inside in front of a cozy fireplace or outside on the garden patio.
1486 2nd Avenue, New York, New York 10075
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