It’s a known fact that adulting makes you crave the sweet release of alcohol from time to time (or a lot of times). Very often, when that feeling arises, we grab the quickest thing we can find in our fridge or liquor cabinet. Or we beg a friend or spouse to take us to the closest restaurant or bar with a wine list.
But once in awhile, it’s nice to hit a bar that takes its drink seriously and serves you the good stuff. Here are a few (in the suburbs!) that I’ve visited recently.
The Red Pony, Rye, NY
Sadly, this location closed Summer 2019.
The Red Pony is a wine bar that opened in late 2017 on the main stretch of Rye, NY. The bar sits right on the corner of Purchase Avenue and Elm Place, directly next to its sister wine store, Wine at Five. The Red Pony space is modern and classy. It sets up perfectly for date nights or small groups of friends.
The drink menu is, as you would expect, mostly wine by the glass and bottle. The wine offerings are vast and for someone like me, overwhelming - it was very busy when we arrived on our visit but the bartender still spent time with us and had us taste a few wines before we settled on our choices.
Despite its name as a wine bar, the Red Pony is definitely not just for wineophiles. The General Manager, Clark Moore, has also put together a list of cocktails, and several friends in my group loved the “Tropical Sangria” off that menu. Moore is a long time mixologist, previously at Harper’s on Main in Dobbs Ferry, NY and the now closed Juniper in Hastings, NY. On our visit to the Red Pony, NYC’s St. Agrestis Negroni was also in the house making (yup, you guessed it) Negronis.
I’m excited to have a good wine and cocktail bar nearby; they exist in droves in big cities but are sadly hard to find in the suburbs. Looking forward to a return visit soon.
Beer Noggin, Bronxville, NY
Beer Noggin is a craft beer specialty store and taproom on Kraft Avenue in Bronxville, NY. It’s part to-go bottle shop and part bar. It’s a small space, but the bottle and can selection in its wall of refrigerators and the rotating selection of 12 beers on tap is the real deal. New York breweries usually feature heavily in the offerings at Beer Noggin. The bartenders/owners are passionate about craft beer and always willing and able to answer questions and provide suggestions.
The space is cozy and hip, with a few high top tables and seating at the bar. The ambiance feels a bit more like a store than a bar, so it’s probably not the best place for folks looking for a romantic date night. It’s a great spot to pick up some cans for home (growlers of most beers on tap also available), or to stop in for a glass or two on your way to dinner. For commuters, it’s also ideally located walking distance from the Bronxville train station.
Beer Noggin has a few board games and goldfish crackers available if the kids have to tag along. If bringing children, afternoon is best since the space is small and evenings will inevitably be adult-centric. For non-beer lovers, they also have Bridge Lane Wine by the can. A small snack menu is available, and this summer, Dobb's Ferry's Campbell Meats has been coming by once a month to offer up a new taco preparation.
Beer Noggin is open 11am to 10pm Monday through Thursday, 11am to 11pm Friday through Saturdays and 12pm to 8pm on Sundays.
Spigot Beer, Norwalk, CT
Up north and on the Atlantic Ocean side of things is South Norwalk’s Spigot Beer. Like Beer Noggin, Spigot is a taproom passionate about quality craft beer. With its Connecticut location and its co-owners originally meeting at the University of Vermont, Spigot has a focus on New England breweries.
The room at Spigot is larger than Beer Noggin and is just a taproom (only a small selection of cans are available to go). The vibe inside is relaxed and welcoming; snowboards hang from the ceiling and the Grateful Dead often plays from the stereo. There’s a large space in the back left with board games and a movie projected on the wall. We were not there with our kids, but the bartender assured us there are often children at Spigot during afternoon hours.
Spigot has a nice list of cheese plates from Murray’s Cheese to pair with your beers. The place makes for a great alternative to the many big box, rowdier bars of South Norwalk. And with so many restaurants nearby, it's a really easy place to hit before or after a meal.
Spigot is open 4pm to midnight Wednesday through Saturday and 2pm to 8pm on Sunday. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Spigot also sells Underwood Wine by the can for those not in the mood for beer.