The ground floor bar space at 1629 Second Avenue on the Upper East Side has had a tumultuous life in the past decade, swinging from the douchy Waterloo Tavern to more chilled out neighborhood spot Swig and now Wild Horse Tavern, a classic rock-skewed restaurant, bar and live music spot. Between its previous two incarnations, the space got some minor structural tweaks and a new coat of paint, but the new proprietors have implemented some more dramatic changes for this go-around, including uncovering the brick facade, adding booths and banquettes and decking out the walls with concert shots of Janis Joplin, The Doors and The Rolling Stones, of course.
The food menu's got a kind of global approach to bar food, like the Bitterballen ($10) appetizer, a Dutch speciality of beef and cheese croquettes and a Vietnamese Dip ($14) play on a classic French Dip with a cup of beef pho for dunking. Instead of a pulled pork sandwich you'll get a BBQ Tete de Cochon ($11)—literally yummy bits of pig's head—with homemade slaw and the Beer Mussels ($17) with smoked bacon come topped with a whole pretzel from Sigmund's for sopping up the broth.
But Executive Chef Max Renny (Fatty Cue, Fatty Crab) is keeping the inspiration local as well, especially with the Eastside Burger, with ingredients sourced from all over the Upper East Side. There's the house blended patty from Ottomanelli Bros. Butcher Shoppe, double smoked bacon from Germantown holdout Schaller & Weber—which is nearly across the street—and an aged cheddar and potato bun from nearby Orwasher’s Bakery. To wash it all down: 12 tap beers of the craft variety and "Rock 'n' Roll-themed cocktails" like the Zepp-derived "10 Years Gone."
1629 Second Avenue, 212-300-4132; website