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The 10 Best Spots to Celebrate National Watermelon Day in NYC

Category General

|by Mikey Miller |

Sip a watermelon cocktail at one of these Manhattan hotspots

This Saturday, August 3, it’s time to celebrate National Watermelon Day! As you most definitely already know, this fruit is a great way to cool down on a hot summer’s day. To ensure that you can enjoy this refreshing fruit while also experiencing some incredible New York restaurants, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places in New York for you to enjoy watermelon-inspired cocktails.

Don’t miss these fresh fruity cocktails, just in time for National Watermelon Day (August 3rd) (Photo: iStock)

Don’t miss these fresh fruity cocktails, just in time for National Watermelon Day (August 3rd) (Photo: iStock)

Pocha 32
Located in the heart of Koreatown, Pocha 32 is a second-floor Korean dive adorned with fishnets, soju bottle caps and soju-filled watermelons and pineapples. Pocha 32 is the perfect place to go with a group of friends looking for a fun meal on a weekend, and it features classic Korean dishes, such as bibimbap and kimchi stew. For National Watermelon Day, be sure you get a glass of the watermelon soju, one of Pocha 32’s flavored versions of the traditional Korean beverage. This fruity incarnation of the drink is made of pureed watermelon, soju and Sprite.

Situated in the East Village, Rosie’s is an ode to Mexican food run by the restaurateurs behind New York’s Cookshop, Hundred Acres and Vic’s. Aiming to create “bright, straightforward dishes...using traditional techniques,” Rosie’s menu features Mexican favorites like tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. Along those lines, Rosie’s offers its own twists on the margarita, and one of those options is the watermelon margarita. You can order either a glass or pitcher, and the cocktail contains, in addition to its watermelon flavoring, El Velo Blanco, black pepper, lime and a salt and pepper rim.

The Happiest Hour
Also featured in our guide to celebrating National Daiquiri Day, the Happiest Hour is somewhere you can return to and enjoy an ice-cold watermelon drink on National Watermelon Day. The Happiest Hour, located in the West Village, is decorated to resemble Floridian and Californian beach resorts of decades past, and it features a menu full of classic American dishes, salads, sandwiches and burgers. For your watermelon fix, you are going to want to try out the Surfer Girl, a drink consisting of watermelon, aloe, basil and honey, plus your choice of pisco, tequila or gin.

The Dead Poet
This bar has nothing to do with the 1989 film starring Robin Williams, but it does feature a collection of cocktails as noble and scholarly as the authors and pieces of writing after which they are named. This Upper West Side joint was founded in 2000 by former high school English teacher Drew Dvorkin, who wanted to combine his two passions: literature and Irish pubs. At The Dead Poet, you can kick back and enjoy a Dorothy Parker, a Langston Hughes or an Edgar Allan Poe, or even a Gone with the Wind, Angela’s Ashes or a To Kill a Mockingbird. This weekend, though, you’re going to want to enjoy the George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones) inspired A Song of Fire and Ice: Exotico Blanco, housemade watermelon simple syrup, hellfire bitters, lime juice, triple sec and jalapeños.

The Beach
The Beach, a new poolside eatery located at the Dream Downtown, a boutique luxury hotel located only a few blocks from the High Line, is celebrating National Watermelon Day on its own accord, serving Double Watermelon Kegs for $200 this Saturday. A fruitier and arguably more refreshing take on the classic beer keg, the Double Watermelon Keg is comprised of two hollowed-out watermelons stacked on top of each other, which are then tapped and filled with Herradura Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice and watermelon chunks.

Koreatown is rife with wonderful places to get watermelon-based cocktails! Bangia is a late-night eatery that opens at 5 p.m. every day and closes at 3 or 4 a.m., depending on the night. Punnily branding itself on having “authentic, delicious and Seoul-ful” fare, Bangia also features a menu full of classic Korean dishes. For National Watermelon Day, you’re going to want to make sure you try the Joeun Day Watermelon, Bangia’s version of the watermelon soju. And if you’re not feeling alcohol but still want to celebrate, Bangia does have a watermelon punch on its regular menu.

Babu Ji
Located in Greenwich Village, about a block and a half from Union Square Park, Babu Ji is an Indian joint that has been featured in the past year in publications such as Forbes and Mr Porter. A Hindi term, a Babu Ji is a person in an Indian village who pretty much appoints themselves mayor of their neighborhood and knows everybody and everything that goes on, and the restaurant aims to indulge itself in food and hospitality the way a Babu Ji would. This weekend, make sure you try Babu Ji’s Chaat Cobbler, a cocktail consisting of Belvedere vodka, amontillado sherry, blackberry, raspberry and watermelon.

Employees Only
Employees Only, situated right in the West Village, is a unique speakeasy that has called New York home since 2004. Employees Only has become notable for its inimitable ambiance and a menu that combines the flavors of America and Eastern Europe. At Employees Only, you can find yourself feasting on delicacies such as braised Spanish octopus with squid ink risotto, spinach tagliatelle and a pan-seared duck breast. The bar features the Waterloo, a drink that would impress even ABBA: muddled watermelon shaken with Fords gin, fresh lemon juice and a splash of Campari.

You can find this contemporary Indian restaurant right in the heart of Chelsea. aRoqa aims to “merg(e) Indian flavors for a global palate” in order to bring Indian cuisine to people with all different tastes. In India, a roka is essentially an engagement party, and aRoqa wants to cultivate that same joyful, festive energy. The eatery also offers a drink called the Waterloo, and aRoqa’s version of it contains vodka, St. Germain, lime juice, Aperol, fresh watermelon and a rim of salt and paprika.

Another Koreatown restaurant, Mui is a fifth-floor establishment that serves a combination of traditional and Americanized Korean food. Mui is absolutely the place for you to go during happy hour (Sunday to Wednesday from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and Thursday to Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.), when everything on its menu is 20% off if you pay by credit card and a whopping 30% off if you pay by cash. In order to get your watermelon fix at Mui, you are going to want to try its version of the Korean watermelon soju.

For more of the best of the city this season, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in August 2019

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