's recent evening exploring new bars on the East Side of Manhattan

From time to time, I like to head out for an evening of exploring recently-opened bars.  Sometimes, I will visit multiple neighborhoods (and boroughs) in one evening.  It’s not quite a traditional NYC pub crawl, but is fun nonetheless.  One recent outing had me focused on the East Side of Manhattan.  Starting on the Upper East Side and working my way down to the Lower East Side.

7:30pm – Caledonia Scottish Pub at 1609 2nd Avenue near 84th St.  A Scottish Pub in Manhattan!  There are not too many of these in NYC.  The only other one that comes to mind is St. Andrew’s near Times Square.  Open since January, 2011 (the 1609 Second Avenue address has been a bar for over two years, under different owners), Caledonia is a small, narrow, sort of dark place.  Medium length bar on the right and a small seating area in the back.  Crowd is mostly locals.  The bar has eight tap beers, including two taps for Bellhaven (a fine line of Scottish beers).  A long sword hangs lengthwise over the top center of the bar.

8:15pm – Copia on E. 53rd Street, near 2nd Avenue.  For those who remember Metro 53, Copia’s layout and feel is fairly similar.  Catering to the after work crowd with a couple of private areas in the back of the main room and downstairs, Copia has an L-shaped bar to the right and a small dining area in between the bar and the slightly elevated private areas in the back.  The bar has a total of 16 tap beers, but has some repeats and nothing too hard-to-find.

8:45pm – La Cava on 2nd Avenue near 50th Street.  A solid wine bar amongst a strip of Irish Pubs and Sports Bars, La Cava serves nearly 20 wines by the glass and another three dozen by the bottle.  The bar is on the right side of the room with high-top tables around the front and left side of the room.  The small, open kitchen in the back puts out a variety of chacuterie, cheese plates and other small plates.  Two floor-to-ceiling windows by the front entrance that open up in warm weather add a nice touch to this establishment.  La Cava has Happy Hour from 4 – 7pm and the kitchen is open typically until 1am.

10pm – Little Town NYC on 15th Street, near Irving Place.  In the spot formerly known as Vintage Irving, Little Town NYC has changed the place into a more beer-focused bar than its predecessor (Vintage Irving was a wine bar with a decent beer selection; Little Town NYC has reversed that).  What makes this place remarkable is that it only serves beer brewed in New York State.  From Greenport Harbor in Eastern Long Island to Southern Tier in Jamestown at the far western edge of New York and many in between, Little Town NYC has covered the entire state with 20 taps and dozens of bottled beers.  The three Brooklyn breweries (Brooklyn, Six Point and Kelso) are well represented.  This spot is a must on the Union Square beer bar crawl.

11pm – Lower East Side, Orchard and Rivington.  I had hoped to visit the new spot named APL (pronounced “Apple”), but the spot will not be open until later this month.  Given the small bar in the middle of the room and seating areas with place settings in the front and back of the bar area, it looked a bit more to be a restaurant than a bar, but I need to return to see the place in action.

It was a fun filled evening exploring much of the East Side of Manhattan.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  I will have more of these types of experiences to share.  Please leave a comment!

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