Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 28 June 2013
The Whiskey Ward- Lower East Side: Drink Here Now correspondent Link Cromwell vowed to have a drink at every bar in Hoboken before running the 2011 New York City Marathon. With every bar visit in the “Sixth Borough” now completed along with a successful race now finished, it’s time to reel our reporting back toward the City. And as such, every single Friday we’ll be taking over where Link left off, showing you distinctive bars in each borough perhaps for the very first time, perhaps to refresh your memory of a fun place you’ve ducked into, or perhaps to suggest a new spot for you to check out. You can follow our travels as we approach each weekend on Friday mornings with’s “Drink Here Now.”

The Whiskey Ward
121 Essex St, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Getting There: F to Delancey Street

Trips to the watering holes of the Lower East Side have been too few and far between for the, “The Drink Here Now” crew. But now that is all about to change. The L.E.S’s Essex Street features a mix of old school markets, hot restaurants and of course bars of all shapes and sizes. On a recent weeknight we decided to beat the early evening heat by ducking inside a joint we have passed by hundreds of times but never patronized. It’s “The Whiskey Ward,” and since 1999 this bar has been holding down the block with basically no outdoor signage to promote themselves but tons of word of mouth love to keep this place chugging along.

We aren’t mincing words when we say that there is no sign. Tiny stenciled letters are the only way to know this place exists, as the front windows are blacked out as well. Passers by cant pier through the windows and have to just take the leap and head inside. Once through the door we were happily pleased to enter into a warm, wooden laden space with a long bar, plenty of surrounding seating and they got a pool table too! On this, our first visit we opted to sit front and center at the bar to grab brews and scope out their Whiskey and Bourbon selection for future visits. A few minutes after sitting down, the bartender in full rock n’ roll regalia with skull ring and all came over to welcome us and take our order. We decided to go with pints of Blue Point, “Summer Ale” and domestic favorite, “Budweiser” to have a nice mix of craft and down home Americana beers. The bars namesake, whiskey populates most of the liquor self. From Bushmills ($8) Mitchter’s ($10) to Whistle Pig ($12) and back again they seriously have it all. Fans of this brown gold will have a seemingly endless selection to choose to wet their whistles with.

As we kicked back with our brews we saw folks playing causal to competitive games of pool. The billiard area is set apart from the rest of the bar to provide room for everyone. So fear not, you won’t get jabbed in the side by a pool cue or get into a fight with a biker for bumping into the table. The music at Whiskey Ward captures the spirits of the place. Rockabilly and classic rock was played at a medium volume but we would have been totally happy if they cranked it up to eleven! We aren’t just whistling Dixie here, this place is a great time partner!



Bar Type - A Whiskey lovers paradise with a rustic appeal.

When to Visit – Weekends are when you’ll find the, “Ward” jammed with a great mix of hard drinking folks looking to let their hair down.

Value – Beer prices are pretty much on par with the rest of the neighborhood and won’t break the bank. But, if you want to dip into their impressive catalog of whiskey be prepared to shell out some dough. But in the end, hey that’s why you’re there!

The Lowdown – A chilled out rockabilly vibe, pool table a mature drink menu makes, “The Whiskey Ward” a choice spot in the ever bustling and changing Lower East Side.

-Alex Corrine

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