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Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Guide: Bars, Restaurants & Things to Do

Hell’s Kitchen is a top destination in New York City for many reasons!

There’s a vast array of bars, restaurants, and things to do in this bustling neighborhood.

In this Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about exploring this famous section of Manhattan.

Here’s what we will cover:

Let’s get right to it. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Note: This article was written by a real live human being, NOT artificial intelligence. ๐Ÿฅธ

Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Guide Podcast

Want to hear more podcasts like this? Head here.

Where is Hell’s Kitchen in NYC?

Hell’s Kitchen ranges from 8th Ave on the East to the Hudson River on the West, all the way from 58th Street to roughly 34th Street.

Although once you’re below 40th Street you’re getting into the Hudson Yards, Garment District, and Midtown West areas generally.

Neighborhood boundaries are always a bit up for debate, but 34th to 58th Street between 8th Ave and the Hudson River is considered Hell’s Kitchen.

Why Is It Called Hell’s Kitchen?

There are many theories… One says it was the original name of a tenement building in the area, another theory claims it was due to a park bearing the name that later became the name of a local gang and neighborhood.

And even another says it was given the nickname due to how rough, dangerous, and unsafe the area was in the 1800s and early 1900s. Like, “It’s so scary it’s worse than hell, it’s hell’s kitchen”.

If you want a deep dive into this, go to this Reddit thread.

Is Hell’s Kitchen Safe?

While each neighborhood often has some unsafe areas, Hell’s Kitchen in NYC is generally safe.

While the areas near Port Authority should be avoided at night, we’ve generally felt safe exploring Hell’s Kitchen at most times.

Of course, you should brush up on NYC safety tips, as any area can be dangerous at any time… That’s just the nature of almost any big city!

PS- Be sure to listen to the full podcast to hear my “dangerous” donut story.

Hell’s Kitchen Bars

fresh beer sign at as is bar one of the best bars in hell's kitchen | Better Together Here

Hell’s Kitchen boasts some amazing bars with unique vibes, tasty drinks, and memorable experiences.

Here are some of our favorite & top-rated bars in Hell’s Kitchen:

  • As Is NYC
  • Mickey Spillane’s
  • Valhalla
  • Craft & Carry
  • The Waylon
  • The Gaf West
  • Mercury Bar
  • Flaming Saddles Saloon
  • Gossip

Let’s look quickly at each one we’ve personally been to below.

As Is NYC Bar

As Is NYC is a cozy bar focused mostly on craft beers and unique cocktails.

They also offer tasty food options in a low-lit, exposed-brick environment.

We’ve always had a good time at As Is, and the beers are phenomenal!

Check out As Is NYC here.

Mickey Spillane’s – Cheap Drinks in Hell’s Kitchen

the cheapest drinks in hells kitchen are at mickey spillanes | Better Together Here

Mickey Spillane’s may have the cheapest drinks in all of Manhattan, and certainly in the Hell’s Kitchen area.

The vibes are sometimes not our cup of tea, but it’s essentially happy hour all day.

  • $4 well drinks, shots and beers
  • $5 frozen margaritas
  • $6 wine

Truly unbeatable prices.

Check out Mickey Spillane’s here.

Valhalla – Also This Episode’s “You’ll Have to Check It Out” Segment

bratwurst fries and beer at valhalla | Better Together Here

Valhalla is arguably our favorite bar in Hell’s Kitchen.

Dozens of draft beers, surprisingly amazing food, and some of the friendliest staff you’ll find.

Check out our full write-up & review of Valhalla here.

Craft & Carry Hell’s Kitchen

Craft & Carry is a chain store/beer bar that boasts hundreds of beer options. Most are available in cans, but they also offer some draft options.

The beauty of Craft & Carry is that you can drink in, but you can also take beers to go. It’s almost a beer “store” in that sense!

Prices vary widely but range slightly higher as most beers are craft-style.

Check out Craft & Carry Hell’s Kitchen here.

The Waylon

The Waylon touts itself as a “laid-back tavern with a Western motif” and that sums it up with complete accuracy.

The drinks are average prices, the food is solid, and there is live music on most weekends.

I will say, we’re pretty young and frequent concerts but when we went the band was deafening. We had to move outside! ๐Ÿ˜…

Check out The Waylon here.

The Gaf West

The Gaf West is a small sports bar in Hell’s Kitchen (Buffalo Bills supporter’s bar, actually) that also hosts trivia every Wednesday night!

Drink prices are average, there are dart boards and the staff is welcoming.

Check out The Gaf West here.

And that leads us to the main draw of Hell’s Kitchen… the restaurants! ๐Ÿคค

Hell’s Kitchen Restaurants

chinese food from the best restaurants in hells kitchen | Better Together Here

When most people think of Hell’s Kitchen, they think of the immense number of delicious restaurants.

Here are some of our favorite & highly-rated restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen:

  • Aqua Boil
  • Nelore Grill
  • Pure Thai Cookhouse
  • Soup Kitchen
  • Istanbul Kebab House
  • Viv
  • Kashkaval Garden
  • B-Side Pizza
  • Fresh From Hell
  • Empanada Mama
  • Meatball Shop
  • Chai Thai
  • Briciola
  • Tradisyon NYC
  • Ippudo Westside
  • Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles II
  • Don Antonio
  • Schmakary’s
  • Ollie’s Sichuan
  • Little Pie Company
  • Gotham West Market
  • Kings of Kobe
  • El Centro

Let’s briefly look over each one below. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Aqua Boil

Aqua Boil in Hell’s Kitchen is just what you’d guess… A seafood boil joint!

Choose what you want in your boil and in a short time, you’ll be hand-delivered a tasty seafood boil in a bag.

The prices are slightly higher than expected, but it is seafood after all. But the portions are hearty and everything is delectable!

Oh, and be sure to ask your waiter or waitress about how to score a free drink!

Check out Aqua Boil here.

Nelore Grill

Tabua de Carnes with Yucca Fries & Rice and Beans at Nelore Grill in Hell's Kitchen NYC | Better Together Here

Nelore Grill is a very intimate Brazilian restaurant with portions and flavors you will not want to miss.

Every single dish and cocktail we’ve consumed has exceeded expectations. And the staff is extremely hospitable, always full of the best recommendations.

Check out our full write-up and review of Nelore Grill here.

Pure Thai Cookhouse

If you want authentic, bursting-with-flavor Thai food in Hell’s Kitchen, go to Pure Thai Cookhouse.

While the restaurant itself is small, the flavors are huge.

Try the Ratchaburi Crab & Pork Dry Noodles, it will change your life!

Check out Pure Thai Cookhouse here.

Soup Kitchen

Yes, this is the Soup Kitchen from Seinfeld. And let us tell you, it lives up to the hype.

While it’s technically not in Hell’s Kitchen, it’s close enough for us to include. We’ve tried a handful of soups there and loved every single one.

We recommend getting 2-3 of the smaller sizes so you can sample a variety of flavors.

Check out the Soup Kitchen here.

Istanbul Kebab House

istanbul kebab house is a delicious restaurant in hells kitchen | Better Together Here

When it comes to authentic Turkish food, Istanbul Kebab House is what you’re looking for!

And the portions are massive!

Don’t be turned away by the interior or lack of background music or noise (oddly eerie), the food is top-notch.

Try the meat platter!

Check out Istanbul Kebab House here.

Viv or V{IV}

In the words of our friend & Hell’s Kitchen local, Adam, Viv is a whole-ass vibe!

There’s usually house music playing (Like house music? Check out my mixes on Soundcloud), bright neon lights, and an energy that tricks you into thinking you’re at a club.

But you’re actually at a spot that’s about to transport you to Thai food heaven.

Their Tom Kha soup is phenomenal!

Check out Viv here.

Kashkaval Garden

Wine bar, melted cheese & Mediterranean food, what else needs to be said?!

Check out Kashkaval Garden here.

B Side Pizza Bar

B Side Pizza Bar has some of our favorite pizza and Italian eats in Hell’s Kitchen!

When you top it off with friendly staff and fast service, you can’t go wrong.

You’ve gotta try the Killer Bee!

Check out B Side Pizza Bar here.

Fresh From Hell

Fresh From Hell is a compact spot serving delicious aรงaรญ bowls, smoothies, and other healthier choices.

Service here is quick, prices are average (plan to spend $8-$15), and everything we’ve tried has been fresh and tasty.

Check out Fresh from Hell here.

Empanada Mama Hell’s Kitchen

Empanada Mama, as it sounds, boasts an extremely wide array of tasty empanadas plus other similar dishes.

It’s a great option for a quick bite, something to eat while walking to your next destination, or even enjoying with a group of friends.

Plus, most of the empanadas are under $5! Definitely check it out!

Check out Empanada Mama in Hell’s Kitchen here.

The Meatball Shop

What’s not to love about a restaurant devoted to tasty meatballs?!

The staff is attentive, prices are relatively fair, and every dish we’ve tried has exceeded expectations.

We usually opt for the Balls + Sauce!

Check out The Meatball Shop in Hell’s Kitchen here.

Chai Thai

Chai Thai is a cozy spot with delicious Thai dishes, certainly worth checking out if you’re in this area!

Service can be a bit slow, probably the main drawback.

Check out Chai Thai here.

Briciola

We first tried out Briciola on accident… we thought we were walking into B Side Pizza! ๐Ÿ˜…

It ended up being a delicious mistake!

Briciola is an intimate Italian spot with a wide selection of wines and small bites. Certainly worth a try!

The Maccheroni al Tartufo will change your life.

Check out Briciola here.

Tradisyon

tradisyon filipino food in hells kitchen | Better Together Here

I lived in the Philippines for two years and confidently say that Tradisyon is phenomenal Filipino food!

It’s a small spot that serves up Filipino classics like Adobo, Lechon, and Sinigang. Plus, the staff is extremely friendly and attentive.

If you’re up for something new, try the Squid Adobo!

Check out Tradisyon here.

Ippudo Westside

Search online for the best ramen in NYC and Ippudo will be on it.

With that being said, there are no reservations and you should plan on waiting for a table. Sometimes up to an hour.

Do I personally think it’s worth waiting an hour for? Nope.

BUT, if the line is short it’s some damn good ramen.

Check out Ippudo Westside here.

PS- Line too long? Check out Kin Ramen!

Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles II

tasty hand pulled noodle dish is a cheap chinese food option in hells kitchen | Better Together Here

We can put our “we’ve been here at least 5 times” stamp of approval on Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles.

We’ve never waited for a table, the staff is friendly and attentive, and the food comes out quickly!

And oh my, the food is delicious and the portions are plentiful. Not to mention the prices are low…

Any of the noodles, dumplings, or soup dishes are a great choice. LOVE this place!

Check out Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles II here.

Don Antonio

If you’re looking for some high-quality Neopolitan-style pizza in Hell’s Kitchen, Don Antonio is the spot.

They also have tasty Italian beers, plenty of wine options, and pizza that’ll make you think you’re in Italy.

It’s a hit, always! And, they can make all their pizzas gluten-free.

Plus, the interior is cozy as hell with friendly staff. This place is truly a fantastic pizza option in Hell’s Kitchen!

Check out Don Antonio here.

PS- Check out our full write-up of the best NYC pizza here.

Schmackary’s

45+ cookie options, cakes, ice creams… Enough said.

If you want dessert in Hell’s Kitchen, go to Schmackary’s!

Check out Schmackary’s here.

Ollie’s Sichuan

While we’ve never been here in person, it’s our go-to Chinese delivery option in the area.

They’ve got all the takeout-style Chinese dishes and prices are fair.

Check out Ollie’s Sichuan here.

Little Pie Company

Pie > cake (don’t @ me).

And Little Pie Company has pie down to a delicious science. Their pumpkin pie is our favorite!

Check out Little Pie Company here.

Gotham West Market

pizza at gotham west market a place to eat in hells kitchen | Better Together Here

We stumbled upon Gotham West Market after visiting the Intrepid (more on that later) and we were pleasantly surprised.

This small-ish market has 6-8 different food options including delicious pizza, tacos, and even a wine bar.

We love a market-style option for large groups as everyone can choose their own meal and enjoy it together!

Check out Gotham West Market here.

Kings of Kobe

Kings of Kobe boasts some of the most unique and delicious burgers in the area.

Plus, it’s a great spot for outdoor seating (weather permitting) and to catch some sports as there are plenty of TVs.

The Duke of Lux burger was absolutely mouthwatering!

Check out Kings of Kobe here.

El Centro

El Centro is truly a fantastic option for tasty Mexican food in Hell’s Kitchen!

It’s an upbeat vibe with friendly staff, fair prices, and really good drink options.

Check out El Centro here.

Hell’s Kitchen Coffee Shops

Exploring NYC can be exhausting, coffee helps! โ˜•๏ธ

Here are some of the best coffee shops in Hell’s Kitchen:

  • Frisson Espresso
  • Bird & Branch
  • Vanilla Gorilla Cafe

Let’s check out each one below. โฌ

Frisson Espresso

Wifi that actually works, delicious coffee with fair prices, and a hip atmosphere. Truly it checks all the boxes of a good coffee spot in the city!

Check out Frisson Espresso here.

Bird & Branch

bird and branch coffee shop in hells kitchen | Better Together Here

Bird & Branch might be our favorite coffee shop in the city.

The interior is cozy, clean and well-decorated! And their coffee is top-notch.

They even have in-house-made macadamia nut milk. Delicious!

Check out Bird & Branch here.

Vanilla Gorilla Cafe

This spot not only has tasty coffee but plenty of sandwiches, salads, and other light-fare options.

Check out Vanilla Gorilla Cafe here.

Things to Do in Hell’s Kitchen

view from pier 84 near hells kitchen also a great thing to do for free | Better Together Here

While most people head to Hell’s Kitchen for food, there is a surprising amount of things to do here!

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Hell’s Kitchen:

  • Terminal 5
  • Get a haircut at HK Best Barbers
  • Intrepid museum
  • Circle Line sightseeing cruises
  • Hudson River Park – Pier 84
  • Birdland Jazz Club
  • Spyscape

Let’s look at each below. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Terminal 5

Terminal 5 is a club-style, multi-level music venue hosting shows ranging from DJs to Hip Hop artists and everything in between!

We’ve seen Fred Again…, JID, and others and have always enjoyed our experience here. The main complaint is the floor area gets extremely crowded and the upper levels can have less than ideal views, depending on where you’re standing.

So, get there early if you care about being close!

Check out Terminal 5 here.

Get a Haircut at HK Best Barbers

I love trying out new barbershops when I travel, it’s a fun way to explore a city’s culture.

HK Best Barbers is truly an amazing barbershop. Upbeat staff, top-notch cuts, and fair prices for NYC ($40).

If you go, choose David (the owner). He delivers the best haircut every single time.

Check out HK Best Barbers here.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

planes on intrepid sea air and space museum in hell's kitchen | Better Together Here

It took us a few years to finally check out the Intrepid Museum, but we’re glad we did!

Biggest drawback: The lines for certain attractions are ONLY long because they want to take your picture so they can try to sell it to you. A poor experience, but besides that, an amazing museum.

This former Navy carrier ship has been converted into an insightful museum. It dives into the history of this specific vessel and also surrounding events related to the Intrepid.

We highly recommend the Intrepid if you have kids, history buffs, or veterans in your group!

Check out & book tickets to the Intrepid Museum here.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Circle Line Cruises offers a relatively inexpensive path to getting on the water in NYC.

There’s truly something magical about the New York skyline from out on a boat.

new york city skyline from a boat | Better Together Here

Check out & book a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise here.

Hudson River Park – Pier 84

The Hudson River Park is an underrated part of New York City. Plenty of parks, beautiful views, and activities throughout the year.

Pier 84 is in Hell’s Kitchen and has some perfect grassy areas and seating right near the water.

Check out the Hudson River Park events calendar here.

And check out the location for Pier 84 here.

Birdland Jazz Club

If you’re looking for a jazz club that’s not downtown, Birdland is a go-to spot.

Check out Birdland Jazz Club here.

Spyscape Museum

beginning of the spyscape museum in new york | Better Together Here

Spyscape Museum is equal parts museum and entertainment.

You can learn about historical and current spy methods, and then play fun interactive spy-esque games in the next room.

Truly worth the money in our experience!

Check out & get tickets for Spyscape Museum here.

PS- See our in-depth review of Spyscape as part of our 10+ Unique Date Ideas article.

Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Guide Recap

Whether you live in NYC or are visiting for the weekend, the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood boasts an endless amount of restaurants, bars, and enjoyable activities.

If we had to recommend just one spot for drinks, we’d choose Valhalla.

And our two favorite restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen, as hard as it is to choose, would have to be Viv and Nelore Grill.

Be sure to click here to follow our Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Guide list on Google Maps!

Have other Hell’s Kitchen questions or need more recommendations? Ask in the comments!

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