Lemon peels grown in on-site gardens are used as a garnish for whimsical drinks and composted when the night is finished. Melted ice water is reused to clean the floors. Welcome to the age of zero-waste after hours and eco-friendly bars in New York. This is a new ethos that sees the food displayed on our plates traveling a few feet away from on-site gardens.
This movement of hyper-local produce is known as farm-to-table or farm-to-fork. The ethos being that food doesn’t have to travel far from unknown sources and middle men. Instead, restauranters can also be farmers and grow a hefty portion of what goes onto their clientle’s plate. Or, they can form direct relationships with the local farmers that they support. Knowing where your food comes from is a new form of traceablity on the sustainable scene. And, the conscious decisions don’t simply end when food is grown and prepared. The best eco-freindly bars in New York also find other ways to reduce waste, conserve water and involve patrons in their single-use plastic-free lifestyles.
Small businesses are the hidden heroes of our food systems, managing at least half of our food economies and keeping food on our plates. We must understand the challenges they face and work together to ensure they remain at the heart of efforts to improve the future of food.Dr Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit
There are several reasons to support these bars. According to the United Nations, sustainable food systems help to support all of the Sustainable Developemnt Goals. Several of those include ‘No Poverty’ and ‘Zero Hunger’. When an eco-friendly bar in New York adopts sustainable solutions such as supporting local organic farms or replace single-use packaging for bio-based materials, these choices have a domino effect that supports the sustainable purveyors of our food systems.
The Wellness Feed has rounded up several of these establishments to support. While you might notice that some of their sustainable initiatives overlap, several focus on one or two particular areas to reduce waste or support the organic farmers that we need to help heal our food systems. In our opinion, these are the eco-friendly bars in New York where all the cool kids hang out at.
This organic plant-based juice bar has a location in Nolita, West Village and Williamsburg. Self-dubbed a ‘vegetable slaughterhouse’, they treat fruits and vegetables the way a butcher treats meat. Winter greens are chopped and blended with adaptogens like maca root and turmeric for frothy drink creations. Yuzu, a vitamin C powerhouse fruit is fused with mezcal for cocktails that go off the beaten path.
Environmental Impact: This woman-owned business carefully designs their menus to highlight the season’s star produce. Through partneships with local farms like Alma Backyard, Ocean Mist and Weiser Family, the menu changes with the seasons to support local produce and sustainability. Furthering this ethos all drinks are poured into reusable glasses and chefs are trained to minimize food waste.
Williamsburg: 271 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn NY 1211
Catalyzing a shift towards more plant-rich diets, is also a powerful climate mitigation tool.Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme
Cilantro, basil and spearmint are a few of the herbs grown on this lush West Village rooftop garden. Below sits the spacious bar where wellness ingredients like charcoal are shaken with vodka and garnished with herbs in drinks aptly named ‘thank me tomorrow’. These fresh drinks are paired with oysters and a rotating menu that focuses on fresh food items sourced from local farms.
Environmental Impact: As the first rooftop-to-table farm restaurant in the U.S, BBC builds their menu around seasonal produce. More than 50% of the ingredients featured in the restaurant are grown 6 floors above in the aeroponic rooftop garden. What’s unique about the garden is that produce is ‘fed’ a nutrient solution without the need of soil. This minimizes pests, conserves water and inspires zero waste solutions like preserving produce that isn’t used right way.
West Village: 141 West 10th Street New York, NY 10014
Each year, an estimated 1/3 of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes… – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
More of a quiet Lower East Side den than a bar, this cozy spot offers a wide selection of natural wines. All wines are made from natural, organic and biodynamic grapes. For those who are unfamiliar with natural wines, they are made without additives from grapes grown without pesticides. Palates accustomed to ‘regular’ wines might find the taste of their natural counterparts to be too ‘fresh’ or even a little too ‘gritty’ for their palette. A powerhouse of flavors are allowed to naturally ferment instead of being tamed by sugars and preservatives. Yet, if you’re open to eco-friendly bars in New York you will be greeted with an expansive list and down-to-earth bar-tenders ready to pluck out the best selection for you.
Environmental Impact: Dubbed a ‘natural wine’ bar, Ten Bells offers a delightful selection of wine crafted from grapes grown without chemicals. Sip on a bottle of Cremant De Bourgogne, Extra Brut, whose grapes are almost exclusively harvested by hand.
Lower East Side: 247 Broome Street, New York, NY 10002
Brooklyn: 65 Irving Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Often, the residues of these hazardous pesticides are found in the food that we consume and this impedes individual’s right to access safe healthy food.Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substance and waste
This Fort Greene wine bar opened its doors as a zero-waste establishment. Originally, it was Mettā before the highs and lows of what it means to be a restaurant in New York saw Mettā come and go. In its place is Rhodora which serves sardines in aluminum tins that can be recycled and only chooses goods sourced from suppliers who deliver in plastic-free packaging.
Environmental Impact: Single-use plastic is banned. Vegetable scraps are composted. Only natural wines are poured into glasses. And guests are requested to abide by the trash-free policy. So, expect to have a little eco-friendly discussion before you sip one of their flavorful wines.
Fort Greene: 197 Adelphi Street, Brooklyn, NY 11205
Sustainable consumption and production can also contribute substantially to poverty alleviation and the transition towards low-carbon and green economies.United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; #12