Baylander Steel Beach

The Baylander opened last summer (yup, during a pandemic) to provide an oasis to New Yorkers. It began its life as a utility craft in the Vietnam War and now serves as a fabulous bar and restaurant. I firmly believe that eating and drinking on a boat is better than eating and drinking not on a boat. If you feel the same, make this your next summertime destination.

The Baylander is currently (and for the foreseeable future) docked at Harlem Piers at 125th Street (aka on the Hudson River at 125th). It just opened for the season and if you get there early enough, you should breeze right in, but I’m sure it’ll get packed as the summer heats up. They encourage walkups but you can also make a reservation, which you may want to do if you’re considering peak times.

We arrived early and immediately ordered bloody marys because they included a chili lime shrimp and were clearly not made from a basic mix. From there we ordered basic drinks (beer & wine) because we weren’t ready to truly turn up. When that moment, comes, however, the Steel Beach Margarita is a must because it comes in it’s own personal Patron bottle that’s highly Instagrammable against the Hudson River/skyline backdrop. Another nice thing to note is that their bucket deals aren’t just limited to beers – I think they have a deal on spiked seltzers.

You’re going to most places like this for the atmosphere so I had low expectations for the food and was, frankly, skeptical when I saw The Infatuation just named The Baylander’s cheeseburger one of the best new burgers in the city. Turns out the food is top notch. We got a giant soft pretzel, and order of cajun fries, and the burger – all delicious.

It’s basically a smaller, uptown version of the Frying Pan (a rite of passage for 20-something New Yorkers)…but it’s better. At the Frying Pan, you don’t care what you’re drinking as long as you’re getting wasted and you’ll figure out food later. Here, the food and cocktails are actually great. That means you get stunning views, a salty breeze, and you don’t have to sacrifice your lunch. This is going to become my go-to summer spot – I can feel it.