Sea Witch Tavern
703 5th Ave (21st & 22nd)
What is it: Another in the freshman class of South Slope bars opening within the past year or so, Sea Witch stands alone in its unique seafaring décor and a maritime-tinged food menu that specializes in fried clams.
Why we love it: Sea Witch gains major points for its mythical name alone. But the bar manages to pull off a theme without buckling under its own kitsch. Highlights include a behind-the-bar saltwater aquarium and a large backyard featuring other sea souvenirs. Add to that a thoughtful menu and a kitchen with its own dedicated window, and you’ve got the kind of place that we could imagine Captain Ahab taking a comely wench for, like, the third or fourth date.
Who to bring: This bar is great for dates and groups of friends alike. It maintains a relaxed atmosphere, but the food offerings and great beer scream at you to bring a group and work on a few plates together. Obviously those who appreciate seafood will enjoy Sea Witch but their landlubber fare (especially the hamburgers) has been developing a stellar reputation.
What to order: The fried clam belly sandwich is probably the way to go here, though they may also have specials that grab your eye. We once tried something like buffalo friend oysters with bleu cheese that was pretty decadent and amazing.
Sea Witch fun fact: The original Sea Witch was known as the fastest clipper ship to leave from NYC for China during the tea trade. It set a round trip record to Hong Kong of 74 days. So this bar really has fast food.