Midtown Happy Hour: 57 Napoli Pizza e Vino

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so every Friday afternoon our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.

57 Napoli Pizza e Vino made some news as the novel “speakeasy” pizzeria from chef Salvatore Olivella, formerly of L’asso and No. 28. ML was eager to check out their wallet friendly $6 personal pizza during lunch, but due to opening week hiccups that slice didn’t go over so well. Yet, 57 Napoli hasn’t been reviewed for their new happy hour so this intrepid reporter went out to have a post-work tipple and bite the bullet by buying the –a bit pricey- brick oven pizza with hand pulled mozzarella on the dinner menu.

57 Napoli resides above C’est Bon Café. The term speakeasy is far from what I’d call 57 Napoli. There’s a semi-open floor plan that looks down on the inside entrance and seating of the café below allowing you to observe the folks coming in and out buying coffee and florescent-lit pastries. You don’t feel quite detached from the noise and ‘fitness club’ music wafting up from C’est Bon plus there’s a couple of large flat screen TV’s perched on the walls upstairs and downstairs tuned on to ESPN. Between the TV sound and music you get a discordant noise that was difficult to ignore and certainly not romantic nor discrete.

There is no bar and seating consists of mostly tables for two. When I arrived at 6pm there were plenty of open tables and the service was quick and impressively polite.

Happy hour is 3 to 7pm with a choice of house Cabernet or chardonnay at two glasses for $5. Sadly the only other option is two for one Bud or Bud Lite beers. A real disappointment from an establishment that is claiming to be an authentic upscale pizzeria. I chose the red wine, naturally, and it was perfectly acceptable especially when considering that each generous pour of wine was $2.50 and we were not sipping box o’ wine or 2 Buck Chuck here!

The margarita pie is $12 for the 12 inch round. It makes for a satisfying, sharable snack between two people or a meal for one person. The sauce was mild and tart, the motz was good.

The crust had a nice char but lacked any crunch. The big disappointment was how little basil there was, it seemed to be only a couple of torn leaves scattered about.

The 10 inch margarita pie is a great deal during the lunch special that runs until 3pm. As commenters have already noted if you get there just before the lunch special ends you can take advantage of the start of happy hour too. There are better deals out there. Beacon bar is close by and has a delectable brick oven pizza with tons more toppings available then 57 Napoli plus it includes cocktails and good draft beer. However, if you love wine then 57 Napoli is an ideal way to avoid the disaster that is the Lexington Avenue subway at rush hour.

The + (What someone who likes this place would say)

  • I’m a wine drinker and this is the best wino deal in town!
  • I love Napoli style pizza and fresh hand pulled mozzarella
  • Convenience wise, the late happy hour is perfect for sipping a drink after a long workday

The – (What someone who dislikes this place would say)

  • The pizzas can range from $12 to $16, out of the ML price point and sharing one will leave you hungry
  • Budweiser is the ugly red headed stepchild of beers and an upscale pizzeria should not be serving it
  • The Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and techno hip hop music makes me feel like I’m at the gym not at dinner

57 Napoli Pizza e Vino, 120 East 57th St. btw Park/Lexington, 212-750-4586


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