By Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.
In the heart of the Upper West Side sits E’s Bar (Amsterdam Ave between 84th and 85th), a surprisingly popular water hole considering the fact that it just celebrated its first anniversary last week. Its status is especially impressive because it is situated adjacent to Jacob’s Pickles, one of Manhattan’s hippest spots for both food and drink.
While the novelty of Jacob’s Pickles has not yet worn off, E’s boasts originality all on its own. The place was first described to me as a board game bar next door to Jacob’s Pickles, which meant that if we couldn’t get into Jacob’s we could go to E’s.
Either way, it would have been enough to lure me inside E’s Bar. Open shelves filled with board games and other multiplayer games line the walls and patrons are free to take any game off the shelves to play. Furthermore, if you’re looking for the traditional bar game of darts, E’s has you covered.
But even without the games, E’s Bar is simply a great bar. Each day of the week, E’s offers solid rotating specials that include anything from homemade cocktails and sangria to a $5 shot and can of beer combination. The beer selection is almost overwhelming; imbibers can find anything from local craft brews on tap to basic American classics like Miller High Life or Rolling Rock tallboys.
Wine drinkers can rejoice, too, because, while the selection is acceptable at best, the bartenders are loose with their pours. A glass easily equals 50 percent more at E’s than elsewhere.
Again, with or without the board games, ambience and quality is not lost on E’s Bar. The interior is immaculate and the bar boasts three rooms. The front features a long L-shaped bar with a water station as well as a long community-style table. Up a short flight of stairs sits several half-booths in a narrower area and through that room to the very back is a larger, open space with booths, high tables, and a second water station. Patrons can help themselves to water, which is great for those who are simply ordering drinks at the bar or sitting outside on the patio in the hot summer sun.
Those who are looking for good eats on top of their drinks don’t need to look outside of E’s. The bar menu is well-priced and includes all sorts of bar food from sandwiches and burgers to fried mac and cheese, french fries, and veggie plates. (The french fries are a can’t miss.)
All in all, it’s clear why E’s Bar has become a mainstay in such a short period of time. It draws a variety of patrons because of its ability to appeal to all kinds of bar-goers without losing its personality. The drinks are great and the bartenders are friendly, attentive, and generous. The board games are kept in like-new condition, the food is solid and cheap, and the classic rock playing in the background is conducive to a relaxed, but fun night out.
Those who stumble into E’s because of a long wait next door are consistently pleasantly surprised. This bar isn’t a consolation prize and I’d be more than willing to bet that, like me, many come back to the block for E’s instead as it’s become a destination unto itself.