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Top Five Bars Where Food Is the Draw

Rarefied pub grub worlds away from the pretzel bowl.

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Spotted Pig  

Brooklyn Ice House
318 Van Brunt St., nr. Pioneer St., Red Hook, Brooklyn; 718-222-1865
Like its previous inhabitant Pioneer Bar-B-Q, the Ice House caters to the needs of the neighborhood’s scruffy artists and nine-to-fivers alike, with excellent barbecue, especially the pulled-pork sandwiches and brisket po’ boys.

Pegu Club
77 W. Houston St., nr. W. Broadway; 212-473-7348
Chef Gavin Citron is behind this enticing, minimal menu. Smoked-trout deviled eggs, coconut shrimp, scallop mini burgers, and other small-plates fare assure that the excellent cocktails aren’t the only draw here.

The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th St., at Greenwich St.; 212-620-0393
The city’s definitive gastropub has a high-celebrity quotient, but more important, a simple, straightforward, and delicious menu. The char-grilled calf's liver with onions or slow-roasted king salmon with organic Italian zucchini are notable highlights.

Tavern on Dean
775 Dean St., at Underhill Ave.; 718-638-3326
Sit at the mahogany bar and watch the game while sampling a mix of New American fare, English pub grub, and a few soul-food dishes, like the crispy country-fried chicken, a perfect complement to any pint.

El Quinto Pinto
401 W. 24th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-206-6900
That rare thing outside of Spain—a true, uncompromised tapas bar. The trick is in the artful editing: The wine list is Iberian-only; the cocktail specials channel quintessential Spanish flavors (tiger nut in the frozen spiked horchata or pomada, a basil-gin lemonade); and the dozen-odd small plates (Spanish cracklings, sizzling shrimp) pack in loads of salty, garlicky flavor.


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