Recently, I was down in Tribeca spending some time by Piers 25 and 26 with the intention of enjoying late morning kayaking and an afternoon outside at Grand Banks. Grand Banks is a highly rated oyster bar on a schooner located at Pier 25 in New York City.
While I did enjoy some oysters and an incredible lobster roll at Grand Banks (everything was deliciously fresh and the chips that come with the lobster roll are ridiculously addicting), I spent most of my afternoon here enjoying the sights and sipping on cocktails.
Because Grand Banks is entirely on a small ship, the cocktail menu is “nautically inspired,” with a classic spin. Many of the cocktails are rum based with a tropical feel, but others are just perfect summer drinks. The Glass House is vodka, Aperol, lemon, and cucumber, while the Sherman’s Cup is pinot grigio, strawberries, lemon, and lime.
I opted for the Roman Highball: amaro, ginger beer, and lime, to start. This cocktail is layered with both dark and light flavors, making it both refreshing and enjoyable.
Following that, I tried Grand Banks’ version of a negroni. The standard negroni contains gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, but Grand Banks turns this into a “session cocktail,” which means it’s a little less boozy. Instead of gin, Grand Banks’ bartenders opt for sparkling wine. The result is truly delightful as the drink is subtly sweet, just a tad bitter, and bubbly.
For those interested in hanging out on the ship, but don’t like cocktails, Grand Banks offers wine and beer as well.
The bartenders and wait staff are extremely friendly and attentive at Grand Banks. It can get tremendously busy, though, so don’t expect it to be a breeze to order a drink. I mean, it is a bar on a schooner after all, so New Yorkers tend to flock.
With that said, if you want to get onto the deck, go early on a weekend. I went with one other on a hot Saturday and we spent about 45 minutes drinking at the bar area waiting for a table to open up. By the time our table was available and we were seated, we could see that a line of at least 50 people had stretched down the pier waiting to be granted the opportunity to come aboard.
Grand Banks is open only for “the season,” so as the weather turns, expect the oyster bar to close. If you’re looking to check it out, the time is definitely now.
Honestly, I loved my time here. The patrons are generally laid back and in their mid-twenties to early thirties, and somehow because of the nature of the place, people will talk to each other like they’re all good friends. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon outside without having to be parked in the sun as much of the schooner is shaded.
As for the ship itself, it boasts an impressive history worth reading about; the F/V Sherman Zwicker is “the last original saltback fishing vessel in existence,” as well as the “largest wooden vessel” in the city.
So, for cocktail imbibers, oyster lovers, and boat-building enthusiasts alike, Grand Banks is a bar worthy of your time.