Grand Central Station, typically known as Grand Central Terminal, is a busy transportation hub in Midtown Manhattan. As the biggest commuter station in all of the Americas, it’s not always ideal to wait on a bench inside the station if you are waiting for your train. Chances are, you won’t find an empty bench, anyway.
A great solution for killing time around Grand Central is to pop into one of the nearby pubs, bars, clubs, and restaurants for a drink. Of course, most places will also serve you a tasty snack or a delightful meal if you want it.
Instead of dragging your bags with you to these places, head to a Grand Central Station luggage storage first. Then you can enjoy a walk around and a few drinks without a care in the world! Here are our best picks for venues to get a drink and even some entertainment near Grand Central:
Located right inside the Grand Central Terminal, The Campbell is a great spot to head for a drink (or two) when you have some time in the area. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about quenching your thirst here is the building’s history. This was once the site of John William Campbell’s (a Jazz Age financier) office and reception hall. The restoration work here is top-notch, and you can choose from three distinct areas to sip a cocktail: the bar, the Palm Court, and the terrace.
The owners of this classy joint pay homage to the location’s roots, and if you’re lucky, you might stop in when they have a live jazz performance. A trip here will take you back in time while you wait for your train.
15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017
A very short walk from the station will get you to the charming Irish tavern that is Annie Moore’s. They’re open Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 2 am, which should accommodate most travel schedules. Aside from the usual menu of cocktails and beers on tap, this Emerald Isle-focused pub has some of the best comfort food around. Head to Annie’s when you need a perfectly seasoned shepherd’s pie, crispy fish and chips, or a chicken pot pie.
The vibe here is a little more upscale than you might normally expect from a traditional Irish pub, so maybe give this one a pass if you just can’t be bothered to freshen up after your day of travel.
22 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017
When you get into town late and need a place for a pint of Guinness and some tasty pub food, Mulligan’s Pub is the spot for you. They’re open most nights (or mornings) until 4 am, but if you’re there earlier, they have a value-filled happy hour from 4 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Friday. You can save some cash here on your drinks, which is a good thing because vacationing or even just traveling in New York City is a pricey affair.
This casual pub is anything but fancy, but what it does have is an uber-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. You don’t need to be dressed to the nines to enjoy a beer here, nor will you feel out of place. This is sometimes rare in New York, so enjoy it while you can!
267 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
For something other than your typical bar or Irish pub, Bookmarks is the place to be. This lovely rooftop bar on top of the Library Hotel is definitely swanky, and the prices will reflect that. But what better way is there to wait for a train than with an amazing view of New York on their glass-enclosed patio?
It’ll only take you about three minutes to walk one block over to the hotel. Bookmarks is ideal when you don’t have too much time to kill since it’s very close to Grand Central, and with the higher prices, you wouldn’t want to spend hours in this lounge (unless you have deep pockets).
You won’t find full meals here as they focus on cocktails and appetizers, which seems appropriate in the elegant penthouse-like setting. If it’s a cold day, opt for the Cider House Rules cocktail, it has apple cider and apple butter with a kick from apple cinnamon brandy. They also have a great wine list, mocktails, and spirits.
299 Madison Ave #14, New York, NY 10017
For anyone wanting a quintessential American experience for a drink near Grand Central, Pershing Square is ideal. It’s located across the street from the terminal with an American bistro atmosphere with an elevated diner-inspired menu. When you’re looking for a spot that’s down-to-earth and welcoming, this is the one to try. Plus, although they serve cocktails, they are also open early for breakfast in case you find yourself here in the early hours.
They claim to have the best breakfast in NYC, which is saying a lot, and while we can’t confirm that, we do know that their pancakes and weekend brunch are worth traveling for.
When you just need a drink to get some energy back and loosen up, their cocktail menu is full of tempting options. You can’t go wrong with the Vanderbilt – it has a gin base with strawberries, rosemary, and ginger beer.
On weekdays, Pershing Square opens at 7 am, with a more leisurely start of 8 am on the weekends, and they’re open daily until 9 pm. While this isn’t a late-night haunt, it’s still a great spot for drinks and dinner if you want it.
90 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Midtown Manhattan and the area around Grand Central Station are absolutely jam-packed with spots for a quick (or drawn-out) drink when you’re waiting for a train. The list of great pubs and cocktails bars could go on and on, but these five should be enough to get you started. If you’re wandering around the area and see a spot you think you’ll like, just pop in. If it’s not to your taste, you can leave and find another enticing location less than a block away.