Best Bars in Hell's Kitchen

Published: December 22, 2014

This is a list of the best bars in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan, which spans 34th Street to 59th Street west of 8th Avenue.  Once a low-income area, this neighborhood began transitioning in the 2000s.  This region of Ninth Avenue is now thriving, humming with bars and restaurants.  The 12 bars on this list are just a small sample of what's out there and were chosen based on atmosphere, crowd, price, and quality of products served.

  1. The GAF West

    A classic neighborhood dive bar located on West 48th Street.  Drink specials all week, two dartboards, trivia on Wednesday nights, and great bartenders.  Don't worry about the regulars; they won't bite.  If you're feeling adventurous, ask the bartender about a flabongo.

     

    Note: The owners of The GAF have recently opened a Southwestern-style bar and grill called The Waylon, around the corner up Tenth Avenue.  I have a feeling it will make it's way onto the next edition of this list.

  2. Rudy's

    This hole-in-the-wall dive bar on Ninth Avenue was name-dropped in Steely Dan's classic "Black Cow."  Stop in for a cheap pint of beer and a free hot dog, and make sure you don't butt heads with the grizzled bouncers.

  3. Brickyard Gastropub

    This Irish style pub on Ninth Avenue serves great food and has a lovely waitstaff.  Catch a game on one of the screens and grab a plate of their amazing truffle parmesan fries.

  4. Anejo

    This place on the corner of West 47th Street and Tenth Avenue is the best place in the neighborhood to enjoy a margarita or a tequila flight.  Outdoor seating in warmer weather makes this a good weekend brunch spot.  The Wagyu burger and yucca fries are delicious.  If you want a table during peak hours, your best bet is to call ahead for reservations.

  5. On Tap @ Whole Foods

    Squirreled away in the back corner of the Columbus Circle Whole Foods, this little bar has a massive selection of beers and wines, as well as delicious bar foods like warm pretzels and flatbread pizzas.  You can even skip the massive grocery lines and buy products from the store in the bar while you enjoy a drink and some free popcorn.  The only catch: Last call is much earlier here than the rest of the bars in this neighborhood.

  6. Gotham West Market

    This one isn't really a bar; it's more like the greatest shopping mall food court ever.  There are many places here to grab a drink, most notably Cannibal, which has a giant selection of bottled beers and Negronis and Manhattans on tap.  The perfect choice for when one member of your party wants a cheeseburger, another wants noodles, and another wants to purchase a bicycle (there's a bike shop attached to the Market).

  7. Pony Bar

    Over on Tenth Avenue, Pony Bar serves up a mind-boggling list of tap beers, which rotate regularly.  Waitstaff and patrons tend to be fairly courteous, but it can get very crowded on the weekends.  Very reasonable pint prices.

  8. Blue Ruin

    Venture a little further down 9th Avenue and you'll find this spot, which features a pool table and a cast of hard-drinking regulars.  Although it looks small from the outside, Blue Ruin is bigger than it appears and can handle larger groups.  If you've ever wanted to see a bartender spray someone with a soda gun, then this is the place to be.

  9. Flaming Saddles

    This gay bar features svelte bartenders dancing on the bar to Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks.  The most fun you can have on 9th Avenue.  And there's never a line for the ladies' room!

    Fun Fact: Perez Hilton has been known to have a drink here rrom time to time.

  10. Pocket Bar

    Brand new this year!  This cozy little hideaway on 48th Street serves only beer and wine, both of which are on tap.  The bar features dishes full of Teddy Grahams for the patrons to enjoy, and the bathroom is impeccably clean.  Come for a drink and a chat with the zany bartender.

  11. Valhalla

    Another bar with a great beer selection and a solid menu.  With tons of beers on tap, as well as a full bar, this is a hot happy hour spot.  TVs show sporting events, but most of the patrons aren't here to watch sports.  The quality of the service can be variable, and it can get pretty crowded in here; your best bet is to belly right up to the bar.

  12. Bettibar

    A cozy spot for a romantic date, this unique apartment-turned-bar is nestled on the second floor of a building that contains a restaurant below and another bar above.  Ask for a surprise beer special and get a randomly selected bottle of beer in a paper bag.  This place can only hold about 30 people, so this isn't the best place to come with a large group of people.

Hell's Kitchen is a fun neighborhood with a wide variety of places to eat and drink.  There's something here to suit every mood, and all within walking distance of the subway.  Why not make a day of it and try all 10 spots?  (You may want to take a cab home afterwards, though.)