Whether we work in a downtown office building or in a converted bedroom, after the day’s closing bell is when we traditionally head to a bar to meet up with friends.
To a certain extent, “We are where we drink,” generally choosing restaurants for the food, but picking our bars for their atmospheres. Sure, they have to make a decent Manhattan, have good artisan beers on tap and hopefully offer some drinkable wines by the glass, but meeting someone for a drink is a social affair that demands the right place. Here are some of my favorites:
Wine Bar & Eatery, Wilmington
I think Hudson is at its best as a transition between work and dinner, a rendezvous where you meet another person or couple, then, somewhere over the second drink, you’re given menus and shown to your table.
Deep Blue Bar and Grill
This is the “everything bar”—good-enough acoustics to have a quiet chat with your stool mate, but large enough to be part of the crowd, spilling over into the away-from-the bar lounge area.
To my mind, even after all the makeovers, the inn remains a smoker’s bar—even though smoking is no longer allowed—with group conversations between regulars pinging around the horseshoe.
The House of William & Merry
A small, cheery bar where the mixed drinks just happen to be excellent, and where it seems there is always someone interesting next chair over. I’d stop by here every night on the way from work—except I work at home.
The Stone Balloon Winehouse
It’s like George Clooney’s head has been grafted onto John Belushi’s body. The beer-stained carpets are gone, and today the Balloon is the most-civilized place to have a drink in Newark.
Harry’s Savoy Grill
Bright and generally bustling, like attending a sit-down cocktail party. For grownups only.
Redfire Grill Steakhouse
Almost my neighborhood bar, with a busy atmosphere and two TV monitors—one cooking channel, one sports—both mercifully mute.
Half Moon Restaurant and Saloon
Kennett Square, Pa.
This is the place you walk into when a few of you want to get together over a beer or two—over 27 different bottles and taps, Belgians a specialty.