Happy Hour! That fleeting window dedicated to talking shit with your co-workers, catching up with that friend you’ve been texting excuses to for seven months, or checking out that Bumble guy who’s almost definitely lying about being 6’2.” As far as I’m concerned -- and I’m an expert, according to the SEO algorithm that brought you here -- a good happy hour has to have three things. One: Cheap booze. Two: A fun venue. And three: The promise of being home on the couch by 9 o’clock sharp.
Whether you’re looking for a fancy-ish date or a grody dive where you can get drunk for 10 bucks, New York’s got every happy hour imaginable. Get ready to Slack your co-workers, DM your college friend who’s in town, consider dating a guy who’s 5’8,” and belly up to the bar at these spots while the sun is still shining.
This Bubble Tea Is Set on Fire
Madam Marie’s Mon-Fri, 4-8pm Sat-Sun, 2-8pm Drink like The Boss at this campy, cozy tribute to Jersey’s Asbury Park. If $5 drafts, well drinks, and house wine aren’t enough to convince you, a free hot dog with every drink should put it over the top. Make sure to snarf down a few of those dogs, or the $6 Narragansett-and-a-shot specials will make you drunk enough to warble about your Glory Days. A big backyard and plenty of seating makes it good for groups.
The Thirsty Koala Mon-Thur, 5-9pm Friday, 5-8pm $5 wines, $5 house cocktails (including the “Dingo,” a bourbon-chambord concoction, and the lavender-scented “Budgie Smuggler”), and $4 house brew “Koala Lager” put this Astorian Australian bar on the best-of list. “Bush tucker” (translation: Australian food) beef pies with fries and house-made pickles are on hand to soak up all that discounted liquor. Most of the menu is gluten free, making it the ideal destination for down-under celiacs and the people who love them.
El Vez Mon–Fri, 4–7pm Sometimes, you just need a shot of tequila before you get on that long train ride home. El Vez’s $10 beer-and-a-shot happy hour specials pair Tecate or Modelo Especial with Olmeca Altos Blanco and Pueblo Viejo Blanco, respectively. To soak up all that agave, spring for the $7 bacon-wrapped Chihuahua dog or the $14 carne asada fries with jalapeno cheese sauce; they’ll give you just enough carbs get home, brush your teeth, and get up to do it all again tomorrow.
LunÀtico Daily, 4:30-7pm $7 daiquiris, Old Fashioneds, and margaritas and $1 off snacks make this intimate bar and restaurant worth a visit. It’s not the cheapest date here, but the drinks are strong and the food’s delicious. Live music usually starts around 9, so if you’re looking for a quiet night you’ll want to head home when happy hour ends. Then again, if you’re up for full-priced drinks, simply stay put and get a good spot for the show.
Clinton Hall Daily, 4-7pm This huge Bronx beer hall features a rotating list of craft brews. During happy hour, the first five beers on the menu are knocked down to $5, as are orders of buffalo cauliflower, giant pretzels, and fries. Bring a friend or two, pick your favorite from their collection of games (including giant Jenga and Connect Four), or just watch people order “WTF Waffles,” which are Instagram-ready waffle stacks in the vein of a Black Tap milkshake.
Heavy Woods Mon-Fri, 3-8pm Mon-Thurs, 12am-4am This Cajun spot stands out from the Bushwick dive bar scene. $4 well drinks, $1 off drafts, and a $6 beer-and-a-shot combo are best served with pork belly cracklin’ and crawfish mac & cheese. And if you work second shift -- or you just think the happiest hours happen at night -- they offer a late-night happy hour from midnight to four, when all wells and drafts are 2-for-1. The rustic-chic vibe is the perfect place for a date (as long as you can convince her that BOGOs are romantic).
Jungle Bird Mon–Fri, 3–7pm Named for the signature cocktail of the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, this tiki-esque bar lets you pretend you’re on a tropical vacation -- even when you’re only a few blocks from your office. At happy hour, you can snag a $6 beer or $8 glass of wine, but the real draw is the $10 specialty cocktail. For 33% off, you can try a Moon River with rum, calamansi lime, and Sichuan peppercorn, or a Smoke Gets in Your Eyes with mezcal, habanero tequila, and lime. If you’re really in need of vacation vibes, order the bar’s namesake: The “Jungle Bird” is served on the rocks with rum, Campari, Contratto aperitif, pineapple, and lime.
June Mon-Fri, 5-7pm This gorgeous, nook-filled wine bar offers select $7 wines, including a sparkling Cava and a Côtes du Rhône, as well as $7 seasonal punch. The antidote to divey happy hours, June’s designed for the Rachel-Comey-clog-wearing, activated-charcoal-drinking Brooklyn set. (Not for nothing, I’ve spotted a few Brooklyn celebs sitting with their kids here.) Fittingly, the $6 bar snacks include radishes with ricotta and roasted spicy carrots, which is to say that you’re definitely going to get drunk.
The Gray Mare Mon-Fri, 4-8pm Ah, those three little words: Six dollar Negronis. For the uninitiated, a Negroni’s one part gin, one part vermouth, and one part Campari, making this old-school Irish pub’s happy hour all killer, no filler. It’s dark and cozy enough for romance, or grab a spot by the window if you’re catching up with a friend. Nightly food specials including $2 sliders and $7 fish tacos are on hand if all that gin gets your head spinning.
Sagaponack Bar & Grill Daily, 4–7pm When you want to pretend you’re in Southampton -- even if the closest you’ll get all summer is gazing into the water that pools on the subway tracks -- head to Sagaponack in the very un-Hamptons-like Flatiron district. Pair $5 draft beer and wine with $1 oysters, $1 little neck clams, $5 fried lobster ravioli, and $9 mussels in white wine. Sure, your boss just took a Blade to the actual beach, but aren’t you having just as much fun here, with your friends? No?
Mad for Chicken Mon-Fri, 4-6pm With four wings for $4 and a BOGO on bottled beers, Mad for Chicken’s happy hour gets you tipsy and fed. The Korean wings are satisfyingly crispy, with a real heat if that’s what you want -- all the better to wash them down with a cold beer, then repeat the whole process. Happy hour only runs for two hours, so you might need to invent a dentist appointment to get there before the stroke of six.
Lavender Lake All day Monday Tue-Fri, 4-7pm With an Instagrammable interior and a just-gritty-enough location to make it a Manhattanite destination, this bougie bar’s been a hot spot since it opened. Happy hour’s the perfect time to enjoy the ambiance without spending your rent money on drinks; a can of ‘Gansett is $3, and cocktails are marked down to $12 from $14. Snack on crispy chickpeas and almond-crusted goat cheese and pull off an impressive date for under $50 (not counting the Lyft back home).
The Watering Hole Mon-Fri, 12-8pm The standard $5 drafts, well drinks, and wine at this post-work, well, watering hole, are best layered in your belly with $2 sliders, popcorn chicken, and hot dogs. With TVs on every wall, ample seating, and a crowd that’s 90% suit-and-tie guys, it’s a good choice for kicking back with your co-workers. Be sure to make like a sloppy Cinderella and duck out when the clock strikes eight; you don’t want to be there when the crowd crosses over into weekday karaoke and speed dating.
Broken Land Mon-Fri, 4-8pm Broken Land’s got a year-round backyard for ride-or-die vapers, and an extremely eclectic happy hour. $7 Old Fashioneds, $6 wells, $5 draft rosé, and $4 cans of Modelo (Samantha, Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda, respectively, don’t fight me) are sure to please everyone in your actual friend group. Happy hour lasts until 8, giving you just enough time to meet a fellow G-train riding pal for a drink before heading home.
Mess Hall Daily, 4-8pm Mon-Wed, 12am-close $6 picklebacks, $6 PBR-and-bourbon-shot combos, and $20 jugs of beer make for a happy hour with a very high risk of getting messy. While this casual bar also offers the finer things -- like a $30 bourbon tasting and craft brews -- it really shines when you just need to drink away the day. Bring your friends early or late, since there’s a second shift happy hour that starts at midnight and goes until your workweek woes are a fuzzy memory.
Hill and Bay Thurs, 4-close Halfway between the bro poles of Kips Bay and Murray Hill, this bar has a different happy hour special every night of the week. “Thirsty Thursday” offers BOGO specialty cocktails, filling the place with vodka and whiskey bargain shoppers. Don’t eat the food (which includes such disparate items as smoothies and a NY Strip), but do drink your 2-for-1s until you come to the terrifying realization that Friday is, in fact, a work day.
Lower East Side
Last Light Mon-Fri, 3-6pm Perched on the 11th floor of the Sister City hotel, Last Light features sweeping city views from its indoor and outdoor seating. Classic cocktails -- including mint juleps, Negronis, and Hemingway daiquiris (with half the sugar and twice the booze) -- are only $10 during happy hour, so you can get that downtown hotel-bar vibe without the downtown hotel-bar prices. Bar snacks include $7 popcorn and a $10 pretzel, so you might want to grab a slice on the street before you make your way up to that big happy hour in the sky.
169 Bar Mon-Fri, 12-7:30pm Is your intention is to get absolutely wrecked? See you at 169 Bar! With $3 beer and a shot happy hour specials, you’ll be texting your ex within 90 minutes. It’s the kind of place that makes people groan at the memory of the hangovers past, so proceed with caution. Then again, with more than 100 years of history as a New York dive bar, drunk you will just be joining a storied tradition.
Mexicue Every day, 4-7pm When tequila’s the only thing that can drown your post-work sorrows, head to Mexicue, where the house margaritas are only $6. Tecates are $3, and there’s nothing stopping you from pouring one of those bad boys right into your marg. After two homemade beergaritas, you might just have a whole new attitude about that meeting with your CMO. Add some queso -- cheese being another effective sorrow-drowner -- and things will definitely start to look up.
Troquet Daily, 4-7pm In French, “happy hour” translates to...well, happy hour. That’s a bit of a letdown, but then again, happy hour is uniquely American. Troquet manages to put a Parisian spin on the tradition with $8 glasses of wine -- including Saumur from the Loire Valley and sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux -- along with $6 french fries and a cheese and charcuterie board. If you’re not feeling very French-y, order a $5 beer or a $9 Manhattan: This is America, after all.
South Street Seaport
Fresh Salt Daily, 4-7pm At Fresh Salt, the rotating happy hour specials include $6 glasses of wine, $5 draft beers, and $8 cocktails. During happy hour, you have to order at the bar, but would it kill you to schlep your own drink to a table? It’s the perfect choice for a summer night -- there’s plenty of outdoor seating, so if you manage to get out of work while it’s still light out you might just get a glimpse of the sunset.
Beso Mon-Fri, 3-6pm This beloved tapas spot starts getting busy around 5, when the local crowd shows up for the $5 margaritas and sangria. Happy hour is only at the bar, so get there as early as you can to nab a stool; once you’re seated at a table, you’re out of luck. If you’re not a Staten Islander, order a few snacks off the extensive appetizer menu to steel yourself for the ferry ride home.
Dave & Busters Mon-Fri, 3-7:30pm OK, hear me out. Sure, Dave & Buster’s rainbow-colored drinks are named things like “Adult Snow Cone” and “X-Rated Passion Fruit Mega Mojito,” but during happy hour, they’re all discounted to as little as $5. You’ll have to pay for a game card, but there’s no better way to blow off steam with your co-workers than racing cars or whacking moles in a noisy arcade. You can drink while you play and shout as loud as you want -- and you might even win a stuffed animal to give to your work crush.
The Pony Bar Every day, 4:20-5:20pm This happy hour starts and ends early, so it’s best for freelancers, hooky-players, and those, um, laid-back types whose alarms are already set for 4:20. All their draft brews are $6 for the hour, which gives you the chance to try at least a couple from their curated, rotating collection of American-made beers. LCD screens at the bar show you the pour size, alcohol content, and brewery location, so you can plan your night accordingly.
Upper West Side
Jake’s Dilemma Mon–Fri, 3–8pm, 8pm–close Sat, 11:30–8pm Sun, 11:30–8pm, 8pm–close With grad-student-priced drinks and a foosball table, this dive is a favorite among the college crowd. The happy hours are long, the bar is very sticky, and the specials change daily. With $4 you-call-its, $15 buckets of beer, and $10 pitchers, this is not the thinking man’s happy hour. And what’s there to think about? You want to catch a buzz, and you want to do it on the cheap. Selections from the bar are half-price on weekdays, and all beer is half-off on weekends.
Baker & Co. Mon-Fri, 5-6:30pm The happy hour at this rustic Italian restaurant is oh-so-short but very sweet. For 90 minutes, you can get $5 house wines, $5 Moretti drafts, and -- most importantly -- free olives and flatbread bites. You have to sit at the bar to get the deal, but that’s better than eating olives out of the jar by yourself at home, right? Sure, you’ll have to drink quickly, but we’re not here to argue with free snacks.
Skinny Dennis Mon–Fri, 12–7pm A honky-tonk bar bringing the yeehaw agenda to Brooklyn, Skinny Dennis serves up bourbon mint sweet tea and a Willie’s Frozen Coffee (a bourbon-and-coffee slushie with a bourbon floater, named for Willie Nelson). Expect a crowd, live country music, and a vodka-focused happy hour on Tito’s Tuesdays: $4 Tito’s lemonades and $2 Tito’s shots. The rest of the week, you get $1 off beers and $3 wells; not bad, but a shot of vodka’s more likely to make you giddy-up.
Fresh Kills Daily, 5–7pm Fresh Kills -- brought to you by the brains behind Dutch Kills in Long Island City -- has the same classic cocktail sensibility. For the bargain price of $10, you can choose from ten cocktails including the gimlet (lime and sugar with your choice of vodka or gin) and the Shake (lemon and sugar with your choice of rye whiskey or bourbon). Sure, the drinks are simple, but they’re perfectly made -- and after a long day, you don’t always want to wait for something fussy.
Full Circle Bar Thurs, 5-8pm This Skee-Ball-themed bar has happy hours every day, but Thursday is the time to visit. Well cocktails are $5, you get $1 off drafts and frozen drinks, and -- I can’t stress this enough -- Skee-Ball is totally free. You can’t spit in Williamsburg without hitting a dive bar with a happy hour, but Full Circle gives you something to do with your hands that isn’t scrolling through your phone. Plus, now that Cuomo has shadily cancelled the L train shutdown, you won’t have to take a shuttle bus to get there.
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