New York City is very much a city of neighborhoods. People generally don’t leave a specific ten block radius, and it often seems like each little neighborhood is a world away from the others. I’ve lived in the 60s and the 40s in Midtown East, so these feel like home. That said, anything above the 60s feels like an entirely different world, and I’ll be honest in saying that I had no idea about what treasures were awaiting me uptown.
The Penrose Bar, located at 82nd and 2nd, was introduced to me by a friend who lives in the neighborhood, and I have to say, I’m tempted to make the 40 block trek and become a regular.
With a vibe that would easily look at home in Williamsburg or the West Village, the Penrose calls itself “the Upper East local.” And my autocorrect changed that to “Upper Ease local” and I think that also works — because that’s exactly what this place is. Brick walls are contrasted with plush, tufted leather booths, and timeworn wooden tables fill the center of the space. The lighting is industrial with a dimmed, gentle edge, and there are a variety of tasteful knickknacks which give ample personality and warmth. Even the hand painted sign in the window seems to be a gentle welcoming gesture.
The beer menu is what you would expect from a place like this, with a wide variety on tap at reasonable prices, at about $7 for a draft. I went with an Irish Red Ale from Brooklyn and quite enjoyed it, especially as it was new to me and kindly suggested by the waitress.
The drinks are artisanal without being snobby, and I loved the El Campeon, which features reposado tequila, yellow chartreuse, maraschino, sage, jalapeño, and lime. Tart, sharp, and delicious with a kick. I didn’t get a chance to sample the menu, but my neighborhood friend says everything is delicious — and the burgers look ridiculously good.