Ohmigosh, it’s official. I’m obsessed with Penrose in the Upper East Side. The food, drink, staff and décor are just on it. This new gastropub only has one major downfall. The majority of the customers I saw were that typical Upper East Side crowd that you always kind of want to avoid. They’re a bit annoying, but you aren’t quite sure why. They’re a bit awkward when dealing with people they didn’t grow up with or who didn’t grow up in the same type of environment they did, but they don’t realize they are. They don’t quite fit in other neighborhoods. The girls all have straightened hair and somehow the boys all have the same button-up shirt in their closet. Does that sound kind of pretentious of me to write that? It does, I’ll admit that. And I feel bad for writing, but because I don’t usually frequent bars or restaurants or write about restaurants with that type of crowd, I felt that I needed to put that out there to let you guys know before you headed there. The funny part is I’m always hanging out in the Upper East Side, but purposely at places where this crowd doesn’t hang. It’s all going to change now.
I headed to Penrose with a girlfriend around 6pm and it had people, but there were definitely seats available. The front bar was full, but luckily there was one in the back as well, where we settled in to only have one or two cocktails. We started off the night with pickle back shots and then an amazing cocktail called Old Pal Spencer. This bourbon based drink is strong, flavorful and not too sweet, just the way I like it. Actually, I like it even better when it’s not sweet at all, but the sweet in this cocktail didn’t bother me. It was like a fresh take on an Old Fashioned. The Irish bartender was friendly, beautiful and extremely attentive, even when it got packed later on in the night.
A pickle back and bourbon cocktail then turned into a Dirty Pickle Martini, which tasted like delicious pickle juice and therefore went down way too fast. Cocktails then turned into us ordering the
Mac ‘n’ Cheese,
Oyster Sliders and
The best part of the Mac ‘n’ Cheese? More cheese than pasta which I love! And there are chopped up green onions that provide crunch. The oyster sliders were great, hot and tasty. I know The Dutch is famous for theirs, but I might actually like these better. I’ll have to go back to The Dutch and try them again. The fries were good fries. Nothing to write home about, but for $8, they give you a nice healthy portion. Penrose does not offer dessert, so I finished the experience here with another Old Pal Spencer and then headed down the block to Caledonia where I usually grab a nightcap on the way home and bumped into my fellow regulars and we sang “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” and swayed.
We actually didn’t sing, but it could’ve happened.
Definitely make it to the Penrose when you can. My friends and I ended up loving the food and drink so much that we booked a birthday party right there on the spot. I definitely want to stop by before the party again, there are some other dishes that I can’t wait to try. They even have fried chicken that was marinated in Valentina hot sauce. I LOVE VALENTINA HOT SAUCE. The environment is pretty chill and relaxed so I wouldn’t be surprised if it became one of my regular places to stop in for a bite or cocktail.
9 out of 10