Drink a block: Amsterdam Ave., btwn 80th and 84th sts.
Friends hang out at 420 Bar & Lounge. (Marie Claire Andrea)
By Alexis Korman
The Upper West Side has seen a dining renaissance, with NYC favorites such as Fatty Crab and Mermaid Inn opening outposts there. After a good meal, its only appropriate to head to a solid watering hole. While some spots along Amsterdam Avenue are more appropriate for drinkers looking to relive their fraternity-house days, these spots between 80th and 85th streets are laid-back but offer something other than beer pong as a source of entertainment.
420 Amsterdam Ave., at 80th Street, 212-579-8450
You may smirk at the name of this lounge, but theres no smoking of any kind allowed. (420 is just the address). Behind the velvet curtains lies a dim drinking den with two stories, three bars and a long happy hour (drink specials last until 8 p.m.). A DJ also spins hip-hop and top 40 hits most nights.
450 Amsterdam Ave., btwn 81st and 82nd sts., 212-595-5670
Opened by a former English teacher, this Irish pub offers serious beer variety: 16 choices on tap and a dozen by the bottle. True Guinness fans who think they can knock back 100 pints (not in just one night, thank goodness) should consider joining the 100 Pints Club, in which bartenders track the progress of regulars over time. The prize? Having your name inscribed on a plaque above the bar.Freds
476 Amsterdam Ave., at 83rd Street, 212-579-3076
Dog lovers will adore Freds, which was named after a black Labrador Retriever and whose walls are covered with portraits of neighborhood pooches. Looking to learn some new tricks? Pick up one of the bars board games for a little friendly competition. Furthering the animal theme are gratis Goldfish crackers for imbibers. Freds also offers an affordable dinner menu (burgers, mac and cheese, pasta, sandwiches) and a smaller twilight menu, served from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
477 Amsterdam Ave., at 83rd Street, 212-787-7199
Martinis are the name of the game at this retro, eclectically decorated bar, where every night of the week brings a different drink special, such as $5 cosmos on Thursdays and Saturdays and $13.95 pitchers of beer on Mondays and Tuesdays. And if you dont like the bars song selection, head to its 15 Minutes of Fame party on Friday nights, which gives patrons just that 15 minutes each to play whatever tunes they want from an iPod.
489 Amsterdam Ave., btwn 83rd and 84th sts., 212-496-0777
Games including Buck Hunter, Pac-Man and air hockey give the Blue Donkey a retro vibe. Between game rounds, grab low-priced beers (starting at $3) and $1 sliders served on donuts (instead of buns) from the attached Homers World Famous.