The UES is the sweetest speakeasy in New York City.
Before I moved to New York City, I had never been to a speakeasy. Lucky for me, NYC is filled with them. My personal favorite has to be the UES. Located on the Upper East Side (hence the name), this bar is an ice cream shop where you can in fact buy ice cream. The ice cream is delicious, but the real treat is what’s behind the ice cream shop storefront.
Walking into the UES you might not think it would be able to fit an entire bar inside the tiny space. That is where New York City magic comes in handy. There is a wall that looks like it is made out of ice cream pints, but really it is a door that takes you to the coatroom section of the bar.
After asking the cashier to see “the storage room”, you will flip a secret switch on the side wall that alerts the host that you are waiting to be seated. Once there is room available, the wall of ice cream will open, and you will be transported back to a bar that would make Jay Gatsby jealous.
The UES is an intimate bar that is perfect for dates and small gatherings. Old music by the greats plays over a sound system, but you feel like it is coming from a record player. Incense is burning to give the bar a sophisticated smell, and the walls are an exposed dark brick in low lighting that gives off a very romantic vibe. Don’t worry, if you are hanging out with your group of friends there is definitely room for you. The UES has plenty of booths to accommodate larger parties.
My favorite thing about the UES is the unique drink menu that is like no other bar in NYC. The server will hand you a book that is filled with drinks that only the most creative and artistic bartenders could create. The UES also frequently creates themed drinks. I took my family to the UES when they were in town around Valentine’s Day, and the themed drinks did not disappoint.
The drinks are delicious, and the presentation is world class. Each drink comes with its own fun twist on what you’re drinking out of. I had a classic martini glass, but my friend’s drink looked like she was drinking out of a candy heart.
The UES is a New York City gem that you do not want to miss. Next time I go, I plan on getting the drink they serve that is set on fire. Now that should be an interesting Instagram story! Hope I see you there; just remember to NOT wear tennis shoes!