The 5 Best Wings in NYC

bar goto miso wings
Bar Goto's Miso Wings | Daniel Krieger
Bar Goto's Miso Wings | Daniel Krieger

March is over, but the madness sure isn’t. Whether you’ve been obsessing over your bracket or have no idea who Zion Williamson is, you the final week of the NCAA tournament spotlights the best bar food NYC has to offer. And chicken wings shine the brightest.

Sure, there’s the classic basket -- with celery, ranch, and that nostalgic, slightly-soggy bite -- but the city has worlds of wings beyond Buffalo. This week, I’ve rounded up my five favorite wings to eat in front of a sports bar’s gigantic TV, bring around to your friend’s place, or even order while remaining blissfully unaware of the ins-and-outs of college basketball.

pelicana chicken
Courtesy of Pelicana Chicken

Pelicana Chicken

Multiple Locations

Pelicana, a Korean fried chicken chain import, serves crispy, sticky chicken as satisfying as the Colonel’s. Pelicana’s Signature Sauce is gochujang-based, and the fermented chili paste lends a sweet and slightly-sour tang to the deep-fried wings. If you’re feeding a team, order a few baskets for takeout: Each comes with ten wings, onion rings, cheese sticks, and fries. You’ll be the most popular person at the watch party (or the happiest person at home alone).

Brooklyn Wing House

Crown Heights

With eighteen flavors -- including Mango Ciroc-Infused Habanero, Tamarind, and Jerk -- the Brooklyn Wing House is the right way to feed a crowd. If you’re looking for a classic Buffalo or BBQ wing, they do those right, too. The wings are plump, cooked golden, and they travel pretty well (that is, if you can manage not to eat them before the game begins). Heads up: They’re well-sauced, so you might want to order some waffle fries to soak up whatever’s left.

lansdowne road
Lansdowne Road

Lansdowne Road

Hell’s Kitchen

Apocryphally, the original recipe for Lansdowne Road’s “Scruffy Duffy’s” Buffalo wings was a corrective after an early customer exclaimed, “These wings suck!” These wings, in fact, don’t suck at all: Available in hot, medium, mild, BBQ, or garlic parmesan, they’re exactly the wings you want from a neighborhood sports bar. Crispy, messy, and served with celery and ranch, they’re best eaten while drunkenly screaming at the ref on TV through a mouthful of beer.


Bar Goto

Lower East Side

Bar Goto, a Japanese cocktail bar from the proprietors of Pegu Club, serves up garlicky wings drenched in salty, earthy miso and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Crispy enough as to make a real noise when you bite them, and just spicy enough to give your lips a low, slow burn, they’re certainly no sports bar wings. Eat an order (or two....they’re small, and I’m not here to judge), then wash them down with some beer in whatever watering hole is nearest to your home.

toro loco chicken wings
Courtesy of Toro Loco

Toro Loco


Don’t give a shit about college basketball, but still want to get rowdy? Toro Loco’s colorful cocktails and bottomless drag brunches are about as far as you can get from a sports bar. Pick a drink heavy on tequila, order the Toro Loco wings -- they’re sweet, saucy, and ideal for soaking up a championship level of liquor -- and make a bracket on a napkin to see which of your friends is going to go home with the bartender.

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Rachel Pelz is a Thrillist contributor.