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So you’re not quite a marathon runner. That’s okay. We’re not here to evaluate you on your fitness standards. However, we are here to help you find a great seat to grab something to eat and/or drink while cheering the runners on. Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best bars and restaurants along the NYC marathon route.
Narrows Coffee Shop in Bay Ridge
Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood is the first neighborhood where spectators can line up and watch the runners in the morning. So, we’re looking for a solid coffee and breakfast spot to get you situated. Insert Narrows. A no-frills hearty diner, Narrows will set you up with a good cup of coffee, some pancakes and some turkey bacon the side. Remember, November mornings in New York can be chilly so a hot breakfast is a must. Other Bay Ridge favorites include Pegasus, a Greek spot that has a traditional American brekky and brunch, and Cocoa Grinder, now a successful NYC chain that has the look expected of a Brooklyn coffee joint.
Tacos El Bronco in Sunset Park
If you’re looking for a late breakfast/brunch option, we highly recommend Tacos El Bronco. Just a few miles up from Narrows, this spot is a great place to get some huevos rancheros and Mexican sausage as the runners settle in for the long haul. Its homestyle cooking is known throughout the city and is widely recognized as one of the best taco spots around.
Pies and Thighs in Williamsburg
A southern food spot in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, Pies and Thighs will happily serve you up some chicken and waffles while you wait to cheer on your favorite runner. The fish and grits should also be considered. Oh, and if you’re a good friend, buy your runner friend some apple pie or peach cobbler for them to enjoy post-race.
Lobster Joint in Greenpoint
Lobster rolls at the halfway point — that’s what the Lobster Joint offers. And if you’re not a lobster rolls person, check out the clam strips. By this time the runners will be in full form and a little extra support from their fans could mean a lot going into the second 13 miles. Fuel up on lobster, grab a couple of beers and cheer them on as they prepare to cross over into Manhattan.
The Jeffrey Craft Beers and Bites on the Upper East Side
The first true bar on the list, The Jeffrey can’t be skipped. The dozens of craft beers on tap and a solid menu of snacks and sandwiches make this the perfect spot to greet the runners as they make their way north up the island. This a well-known place so get there early and reserve a spot. We recommend the house-made teriyaki beef jerky.
Cuchifritos in East Harlem
The runners are making their way through Uptown and you’re craving some Puerto Rican food. For stuffed plantains and coconut juice, it’s tough to beat Cuchifritos. Grab some to go and get back to offering support on the street. Another Harlem go-to that is slightly more upscale is Red Rooster. Red Rooster is the brainchild of celeb chef Marcus Samuelsson, known for his multi-cultural story of being Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised, which led to a love affair with New York City.
Serafina Fabulous Pizza on the Upper East Side
Relax, we have a pizza spot on the list. Serafina is actually on Madison, so you have to walk a block over to Fifth Ave after sampling the pizza and pasta. Nonetheless, the thin crust pizza and homemade pasta are excellent and do more than fit the bill for the folks from out of town who feel like they need to sample some authentic New York Italian food.
PJ Carney’s Pub in Central Park South
The runners finish up in Central Park and depending on how your runner feels, PJ Carney’s is a great place to raise a celebratory pint. Once you’ve found your runner (or got your fill of the finish line if you’re not cheering anyone on), head South through the park and you’ll find PJ’s just two blocks down Seventh Ave.
Santa Fe on the Upper West Side
If you’re looking for a little more than a bar, we highly recommend Santa Fe. Southwestern food and a great list of strong margaritas might be the perfect way to wrap up the day. It’s just a quick walk from the finish line so a tired runner might be inclined to go this route.
Tavern on the Green
Partially known because it is at the finish line of the NYC Marathon, Tavern on the Green, is one of the more historical restaurants in the city regardless of the race. With a cool indoor-outdoor garden setting the dining hall takes full advantage of its location at Central Park. It does have an upscale vibe, but we have to assume that on race day they expect limping, sweaty patrons.