The forgotten borough sure gets a bad rap. Sure, abandoned buildings still litter the island, wild turkeys roam around causing damage and taking down power lines, and the borough voted to secede from New York City in 1993. However, Staten Island is also the city’s greenest borough, with 170 parks in total; the 24-hour ferry service is free; and George RR Martin modeled the map of Westeros after Staten Island.
Waterfront luxury high rises are beginning to emerge along the North Shore, complete with commercial spaces designed for shiny new restaurants and shops. If Brooklyn’s recent history is any indication of what’s to come, “the Rock” could soon become the place to drink and to be seen drinking in, in all of the five boroughs.
Best Place to Grab a Pint: Flagship Brewery
Standouts among recent releases from this brewery include HawkCity Pale Ale, a pilsner produced exclusively for the American League of Professional Baseball’s (ALPB) FerryHawks, and now available at their home stadium. The Chocolate Crumb Cake Stout is made with real cake from Holterman’s, Staten Island’s oldest bakery, and Flagship has even released hard seltzers in collaboration with Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices. Located steps from the ferry terminal and the Tompkinsville train station, Flagship Brewery is the perfect spot to buy a frozen drink for the boat ride or pick up some brews on your way home.
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Tip Jar: On Tuesday nights, $20 buys you access to an open bar and all you can eat pizza — just don’t do a de Blasio!
Address: 40 Minthorne St., Staten Island, N.Y. 10301
Best Place to Order a Custom Cocktail: The Coupe
Amid a sea of corporate cocktail lists, The Coupe stands alone. Owner Roy Pulickal is a veteran of local watering hole Bootleg Mannings, and opened this elevated cocktail bar in 2017. Expect a diverse collection of craft spirits, fresh-pressed juices, homemade syrups, and tinctures; hand carved ice cubes; and even an absinthe fountain. The dark walls are lined with vintage posters with a disco ball hanging at the end of the long marble bar. The best part of all might be the prices, with classic cocktails starting at just $12 each.
Tip Jar: Order the Bartender’s Choice for a custom creation based on your mood.
Address: 379 Van Duzer St., Staten Island, N.Y. 10304
Best Place for Boilermakers With a Side of History: Liedy’s North Shore Tavern
Founded in 1898, Liedy’s North Shore Tavern is one of New York City’s oldest bars, and currently in the hands of local celebrity and fourth-generation owner Larry Liedy. The bar has featured in movies, “Law & Order,” and — most famously — Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” video. Liedy’s phone booth, which the world’s biggest pop star used in the video, remains a tourist attraction to this day. History buffs will also appreciate that the original location at 802 Richmond Terrace, known as the Knickerbocker Hotel, hosted George Washington during the Revolutionary War before moving in 1898 and obtaining one of the city’s original liquor licenses. Visit Friday and Saturday nights for live music performed by local bands and order a shot of whiskey with a beer.
Tip Jar: The bar is currently for sale, so be sure to visit this piece of NYC history before it inevitably becomes a Buffalo Wild Wings.
Address: 748 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, N.Y. 10301
Website: No website, Facebook page seems to be operated by someone not affiliated with the bar
Best Place to Join a Wine Club: Vinum
Chef and former baker Massimo Felici has revolutionized the restaurant scene in Staten Island since opening his first restaurant in 2017. Felici has since expanded his empire with three other restaurants, including popular brunch destination The Richmond, which is located across the street. At Vinum, sommelier Roberto Hernandez has helped build a vast international wine list covering every price point and including some rare and collectible bottles. Meanwhile, the cocktail program features modern interpretations on classics, all made with quality spirits.
Tip Jar: Rub elbows with local wine aficionados at Vinum’s monthly Tuscan wine dinners.
Address: 704 Bay St., Staten Island, N.Y. 10304
Best Place to Drink on the Water: Pastavino
Pastavino is located at the former Stapleton homeport in Urby, a massive residential complex poised to become the island’s hottest dining destination. Chef Victor Rallo’s latest venture features sprawling outdoor seating along the waterfront and a regional Italian wine list that includes private-label wines created by renowned Italian wineries like Chianti’s Tolaini, and more than 40 bottles of amari. One of Barolo’s preeminent wineries. Oddero, even created a limited-production Nebbiolo rosé for the restaurant, with proceeds going to United Vines to combat climate change.
Tip Jar: Make a reservation or arrive early; it’s not unusual to see lines at the front door before it opens
Address: 44 Navy Pier Court, Staten Island, N.Y. 10304