Martinis taste best with white tablecloths and someone playing the piano. You’ll get both at Bemelmans Bar, inside the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. Despite the outrageously high drink prices, you should go out of your way for a martini here, because Bemelmans is an iconic NYC experience. And because if you’re lucky, Bill Murray might also be having a martini in the corner while someone plays the piano. You could eat a full meal if you wanted to, but that’s not necessary when the best edible thing here is the free snack mix that’s on every table.
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Le Pain Quotidien, you are officially on notice. Maison Kayser is better, and people can actually pronounce it. Sort of.
A meal at Flora Bar, in the basement of the Met Breuer on the Upper East Side, makes you feel like you’re getting away with something.
Neil's Coffee Shop
The food at Neil's hasn't changed in half a century, but we're okay with that. This Upper East Side diner is a classic.
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We don’t recommend a meal at Arlington Club, but it’s a great spot for a fancy cocktail on the Upper East Side.
Elio’s is an old-school Italian restaurant on the UES that’s great for a birthday party or a night of martinis and veal parm with a friend.
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