Five Lamps Tavern


By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Five Lamps Tavern is a gastropub located on 106th Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The bar and restaurant, situated just east of Riverside Park and just south of the small neighborhood park Straus Park, is a hub for locals, students, and tourists alike.

The food
I went to Five Lamps with someone who had been before and was set on having me try the Asian sweet chili wings and the nachos (house made corn tortilla chips, beer cheese, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream). Both dishes were fantastic. The sauce on the wings was delicious and the wings themselves were meaty and juicy. The nachos were some of the best I’ve had and certainly one of the largest portions I’ve seen.

Because we were making a bee-line for the aforementioned dishes, I didn’t even take a look at the menu. In hindsight, I’m glad I hadn’t looked. I wouldn’t have been able to settle for just the nachos and the wings. Among other items on the menu, the ones that stood out to me most were the crawfish sliders (crawfish in a citrus aioli topped with homemade cumin salt potato chips), the hummus trio (three different kinds of hummus: sweet garlic, preserved lemon, and charred poblano), and the tuna sandwich (seared tuna, avocado, roasted red peppers, arugula, and chipotle aioli).

Five Lamps serves up all kinds of sandwiches, burgers, salads, main courses, and side dishes.

The drinks
What kind of tavern would Five Lamps Tavern be without an insanely expansive bar menu? Well, probably any tavern of yore, but Five Lamps is no dated bar. With nearly 20 beers on tap and over 10 beers by the bottle and can alike, it may be hard to see why anyone would go for something other than beer here.

But Five Lamps Tavern also serves more than 10 cocktails, which are about as reasonably priced as good quality cocktails can be in this city ($10-$12). Oh, and if you’re a wine drinker, fear not. Five Lamps offers 25 wines by the bottle and every single one of those wines is also offered by the glass.

The service/ambience
The wait staff at Five Lamps is quite friendly and attentive. The bar itself is rather dimly lit (almost too dim, I’d say), but the brick walls are lined with televisions, making this space both a sports bar and a gastropub.

I was surprised to find that it wasn’t terribly busy at 9pm on a Friday, but the space is massive and I didn’t venture out to the small beer garden out back. It was fairly chilly during my visit, though, so I assume the majority of patrons were in the main bar area.

Busy or not and dark or not, Five Lamps Tavern is a staple for the 20s-30s crowd in Manhattan. It’s inexpensive, unpretentious, and just plain good.