You've Been Waiting Your Whole Life to Face San Diego's The Kraken Burger
Sure, you could take the time to fill a watermelon with Jell-O shots, OR you could head to Flatiron for a watermelon-infused upgrade on a classic frozen margarita. The Gander’s Watermelon El Jimador Slushie, made with house-squeezed watermelon juice, El Jimador Blanco tequila, lime juice, Aperol, and mint garnish is the perfect boozy watermelon treat, minus the whole DIY aspect.
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Adding booze to a childhood dessert is kind of like finding sexual innuendoes in Disney movies, and the boozy sno-cone selection at Nolita favorite Pearl & Ash is the perfect way to feel like adult-you just discovered something 13-year-old-you never dreamed of. Though they're served in traditional paper cones, these gourmet sno-cones get enhanced with classy aperitifs. Flavors include grapefruit honey with Bonal; raspberry thyme with Byrrh; papaya ginger with Cocchi Rosa; and Cappelletti, which is similar to Campari.
Spiked with soju, a popular Korean spirit that goes down shockingly easy, Momofuku’s sweet Strawberry Rhubarb Slushie ($6) is as about as slurpable as its noodles. For a slightly less boozy option, opt for the Spicy Lychee Slushie ($6), made with white wine.
Offering the perfect two-for-one, the Lotus Eater ($12) at East Village mainstay Boilermaker does the trick of both cooling you down and energizing you. It's a caffeinated frozen concoction made with cognac, cachaça, fresh lime & orange juice, cold brew, coffee, and cinnamon, and it's best enjoyed alongside one of the bar's perfect burgers.
Now that Mother's Ruin features everyday brunch, there’s really no reason not to ditch work and spend a day drinking your way through its iconic, ever-rotating boozy slushy menu ($13). Expect flavors like the Spring in Your Pants Slushy, made with gin, lemon, and mint leaves; The Banana Hammock, which blends dark and light rum along with banana and coffee; and the OG: tequila with a sweet chili molasses swirl.
You could trek all the way out to the beach, or you could grab a day pass ($60) to relax by the pool at The Beach at Dream Downtown. Wintertime drinks get a summertime twist, like the frozen Moscow mule, made with ginger slush, Absolut Elyx, and lime juice, and served by the glass ($16) or by the pitcher ($68).
The sister restaurant to David Chang’s fried chicken concept has a new spiked 163 Iced Tea Slushie ($10-20), a frozen take on a Long Island iced tea that replaces Coke with Dr. Pepper, nixes the sour mix altogether, and uses top-shelf liquor for optimum booziness. It's basically everything you could want in one Tiki mug (also available in a smaller size at Fuku for $6), and may or may not make you feel like you're drinking at a college frat party... in the best way.
This upscale Midtown Italian steakhouse is doing a full sgroppino bar (sorbet topped with alcohol) this summer, upgrading your standard dessert offerings with homemade boozy sorbet in flavors ranging from cucumber mint to strawberry black pepper and more, for $12 a pop.
Perennial hipster hangout Skinny Dennis still serves one of the best frozen drinks in all of NYC: the Uncle Willie’s Frozen Coffee ($7). Dispensed from a slushy machine behind the bar, the ode to Willie Nelson is an ice-cold caffeinated drink made with coffee, coffee liqueur, milk, vanilla, and plenty of bourbon. Best of all, it's served in a classic diner to-go coffee cup (though you're still gonna have to drink it indoors...).
Upper West Side
While margaritas are a nice accompaniment to California-style tacos and queso, a beachy boozy slushy goes a long way when you're sweating through your clothes. The Frozen Paloma ($12) from Upper West Side Cali-Mex haven Playa Betty’s is made with tequila, grapefruit juice, and a pink peppercorn-salted rim -- and it's just strong enough to make you forget you're on Amsterdam Ave and not at the beach.
This Chinese-Spanish restaurant in Williamsburg is an unexpected purveyor of strong, boozy slushies, all of which you should get to know ASAP. Start with the rainbow-hued Suicide Colada ($12) which, despite the rather depressing name, will certainly give you life.
If you're stuck on the classics but still want to cool down, The High Line Hotel’s outdoor bar/restaurant is serving a refreshingly boozy Frozen Negroni ($15) made with Campari, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, and Greenhook Ginsmiths gin. For a slightly less spiked option, go with the traditional Italian Sgroppino ($15) made with lemon sorbet, limoncello, vodka, and Prosecco.
The rooftop at this Columbia student hangout is known for its frozen slushy margaritas ($8) customizable with fruity mix-and-match flavored syrups including mango, passion fruit, raspberry, strawberry, hurricane, banana, and peach. The best time to get them? After 11pm for $5 late-night happy hour.
Frozémonade – frozen lemonade blended with rosé, naturally -- offers the ultimate summer cooldown, ideally enjoyed in this Williamsburg hangout’s brand-new backyard (alongside some seafood dishes like ceviche and fish & chips).
Alongside an impressive list of large-format drinks served in buckets, this new Thai spot inside Baby’s All Right is doing the Pink Baby ($8), the perfect tart summer treat, made with frozen grapefruit lemonade, mate, and vodka. Visit for happy hour from 6-8pm when it's only $3 -- significantly better than actual airport bar prices.
For the perfect summer combo, chase down a healthy serving of late-night buffalo shrimp with a frozen Disco Lemonade Slush ($10) spiked with vodka and triple sec at this beloved Park Slope comfort food spot.
This McCarren Park-adjacent dive is known for its frozen margarita ($7), which is sweet, with just a little bit of tartness, thanks to an ample pour of tequila and absinthe. The only downside? Since they started cracking down on letting people take them to go (park drinking!), you’ll sadly have to settle for drinking indoors.
Sangria will always be a staple summer drink, but you'll forget all about the standard kind once you've tried the frozen variety at this Chelsea tapas bar. Choose from red, white, and rosé and pair it with some tortilla Española.
This popular Bushwick dive is serving up a seasonal Hibiscus Watermelon Slush ($10) topped with a plastic palm tree for good measure. Made with hibiscus flowers, house-made cucumber-infused vodka, silver nettle tea, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and puréed watermelon, this is the epitome of a vacation-worthy frozen cocktail.
Stop at the bar at this Harlem soul food go-to and order the Frozen Dark & Stormy ($12), a frozen take on the classic, made with Blackwell Rum, ginger, and Kelvin’s all-natural citrus. Then take down half a bird with some potatoes, collards, and cornbread.
Bushwick Country Club encourages you to skip the polo shirts and get dirty playing recycled-PBR-can mini golf. While you play, opt for one of the spiked slushies, including Sweet Tea Vodka and Jim Beam & Coke ($7). They're all poured right from the machine, movie theater-style. Don't miss the complementary cheese puffs, either.
Alongside dishes like bake & shark, Pearl's, Williamsburg’s new Trinidadian spot, serves a resort-worthy frozen slushy named The Frozen Rude Boy ($12), made with frozen lime juice, ginger slush, and a generous pour of dark rum.
The Gansevoort’s new signature frozen cocktail, Frosé ($15 on Fridays, $19 not on Fridays), is sure to be the most overly Instagrammed drink of the summer. Rosé sorbet is topped with sparkling rosé and garnished with fresh berries. It’s available poolside and on the surf-themed rooftop, Drift.
This rock 'n' roll BBQ bar offers a trifecta of boozy slushies ($8) including a stellar frozen whiskey sour -- available as a flight for $12, with a side of bourbon (obviously).
Bridging the gap between boozy milkshake and spiked slushy is 67 Burger’s beer milkshake ($6.50), which blends vanilla ice cream with Kelso beer. Should the combo scare you off, frozen piña coladas and mango daiquiris are also here to help you cool down.
This Crown Heights Caribbean spot turns the Caribbean Dark & Stormy into an arctic Dark ‘N Slushie ($6), made with black rum, ginger, and lime. Another frozen option, the Greenwich Sour Slush ($7), made with bourbon, spiced orange syrup, and a red wine float, is a wine cooler/cocktail mash-up that'll swiftly erase everything you thought you knew about wine coolers.
This Tex-Mex restaurant in Astoria is home to one of New York’s best mash-ups: the Sangrita ($5 at happy hour). Part frozen sangria, part margarita, it's an unlikely (and most importantly, cheap) boozy slushy combo that somehow totally works -- and is also available during weekend bottomless brunch, should you require multiple.
Astoria (& Upper East Side)
While indulging in some seriously good Thai food at this Astoria/Upper East Side spot, be sure to grab a frozen lychee slush ($10) packed with syrup, vodka, and triple sec. It’s a sweet treat that pairs well with spicy noodles.
1. The Gander15 W 18th St, New York
2. Pearl & Ash220 Bowery, New York
3. Momofuku Noodle Bar171 1st Ave, New York
4. Boilermaker13 1st Ave, New York
5. Mother's Ruin18 Spring St, New York
6. The Beach at Dream Downtown355 W 16th St, New York
7. Fuku+15 W 56th St Fl 1, New York
8. Quality Italian57 W 57th St, New York
9. Skinny Dennis152 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
10. Playa Betty's320 Amsterdam Ave, New York
11. New Apolo Restaurant502 Grand St, Brooklyn
12. Alta Linea180 10th Ave, New York
13. The Heights Bar & Grill2867 Broadway, New York
14. Extra Fancy302 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
15. Don Muang Airport146 Broadway, Brooklyn
16. Pork Slope247 5th Ave, Brooklyn
17. The Turkey's Nest94 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
18. Toro85 10th Ave, New York
19. Pearl's Social & Billy Club40 Saint Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn
20. Streetbird Rotisserie2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York
21. Bushwick Country Club618 Grand St, Brooklyn
22. Pearl's178 N 8th St, Brooklyn
23. Gansevoort Park Rooftop420 Park Ave S, New York
24. Beast of Bourbon710 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn
25. 67 Burger67 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn
26. Glady's788 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn
27. Mojave22-36 31st St, Astoria
28. Pye Boat Noodle35-13 Broadway, Astoria
From Jesse Schenker (of recette in the West Village), The Gander is a refined restaurant in the Flatiron District that highlights seasonal comfort food and -- unsurprising given it's named after a male goose -- meats. The lofty space is split between a dining room that serves nightly prix fixe and chef's tasting menus, and a bar room with all-day à la carte service. The Gander has a standout wine program with over 650 selections and seasonably-minded cocktails.
From the street, Pearl & Ash doesn't amount to much more than another nondescript storefront on the Bowery. But the unassuming black facade is all part of the appeal of this swanky small plates restaurant. Chef Trae Basore doesn't adhere to a specific cuisine, instead, he uses obscure ingredients to craft plates like sweetbreads with bacon, avocado, and crawfish mousse, and chicken liver and foie gras torchon. Adventurous, communal food is the name of the game here, all served by a highly trained and attentive waitstaff.
Momofuku has the OG pork bun that spurred a million copycats, and it’s surprisingly simple: steamed bao, roasted belly, cucumbers, and scallions. By now, most people are familiar with David Chang's culinary empire. The chef's Midas touch has blessed diners with a slew of Momofuku-associated venues offering cocktails, pastries, and fine-dining -- but above all is his ramen. Chang worked in Japanese shops way back in the early aughts before jump-starting the NYC ramen craze in 2004, and the varieties here are loaded with pork belly and pork shoulder, smoked chicken, and veggie options with chickpea and kale.
On the cusp of the East Village and Lower East Side, Boilermaker takes its namesake drink very seriously with multiple variations of the beer and shot combo. The drink menu also includes a rotating selection of draft beer, most of which are regional craft brews. Aside from offerings like burgers and wings, the bar's food appeal is its midnight breakfast: from midnight to close, the kitchen whips up pancake stacks in flavors like red velvet and apple pie, as well as egg sandwiches with bacon or house-made sausage.
Mother's Ruin offers a variety of inventive, ever-revolving cocktail slushies (especially during the warmer months). Past creations have included peanut butter and jelly with rye whiskey, dragonfruit, bourbon chocolate milk, and cucumber and honeydew. This comfortable, neighborhood bar/lounge also offers a number of standard libations, which must be paired with the Old Bay-seasoned waffle fries.
On the second floor of the Meatpacking District's Dream Hotel is its outdoor pool and grill, The Beach. Aside from the glass-bottom pool, the deck lounge includes a full-service bar, two private cabanas, and chaise lounges. The indoor/outdoor restaurant serves upscale snack bar food all day long. Luckily, you don't have to be a hotel guest to hit up The Beach -- all-day pool passes are available for purchase, and the restaurant is open to the public.
Situated in the Chambers Hotel, this sister restaurant to David Chang's popular chicken sandwich concept, Fuku, doles out his famed spicy fried chicken sandwiches alongside an expanded menu of bites like chicken fingers (a collab with Mission Chinese), flatbreads, and nachos -- which can be paired with a cocktail or boozy slushie.
The sister restaurant to neighboring Quality Meats, this Midtown steakhouse focuses on modern and upscale Italian-American food, like a show-stopping chicken parm served like a pizza. The bi-level space has a swagger that appeals to the business dinner crowd and a rustic vibe that plays into the Italian theme. The classic wine list is predictably heavy on Italian varieties, and you'll find familiar drinks, like a Moscow mule and aperol spritz, on the cocktail menu.
On the corner of Metropolitan and Berry, Skinny Dennis is a straight-up honky tonk bar in Williamsburg. The divey spot has 18 draft beers (most of which are domestic), a variety of whiskey, and a very addicting bourbon-and-brandy frozen coffee creation. Old-school country jams play from a jukebox all night long, and there are often live performances from local bluegrass and country musicians.
This beachy restaurant on the Upper West Side serves coastal Californian fare with a Mexican slant. The menu is heavy on tacos, which include traditional fish and al pastor varieties and non-traditional jerk chicken and fried oyster ones. The large space is reminiscent of a beachside surfing hangout with plenty of tables, a wraparound bar, and a take-out window.
One of New York's underrated culinary traditions is the hybrid Chinese and Spanish restaurant, like New Apolo in East Williamsburg. The cheap diner serves an extensive (to say the least) menu of Cantonese and Szechuan food, as well as Spanish beef, pork, chicken, and seafood dishes served with your choice of french fries, fried plantains, or white rice. As if the sheer variety of dishes weren't enough, New Apolo serves wildly potent boozy slushies and tropical cocktails. Everything on the menu is an absolute steal.
From the team behind L’Apicio and dell’anima, Alta Linea takes al fresco dining to the next-level in the garden courtyard of the High Line Hotel. The emphasis is on Italian aperitivi, aka pre-dinner cocktails and appetizers, so expect an all-Italian wine list, negronis, and aperol spritz. The food menu revolves around small bites like bruschetta, burrata, and grilled vegetables, but there are also a few entrées.
Right above a deli on Broadway, The Heights is a hit among the Columbia student crowd for its pint-size frozen margaritas and huge platters of buffalo wings. It's slightly fratty, either because it's practically on the Columbia campus or because it has killer happy hour and late-night specials. Plus, it has a rooftop that stays open most months out of the year thanks to some powerful heaters.
Williamsburg's Extra Fancy serves fried, grilled, and raw seafood, like fish & chips and lobster bisque fries, plus a notable secret sauce-topped burger. It's open late -- until 2am every night -- and its special late-night menu will have you covered should you ever get a midnight lobster roll craving. The brick-and-wood interior is reminiscent of a New England seafood shack, albeit a hipster one.
Named after Bangkok's airport, this restaurant inside Williamsburg music venue Baby's All Right serves classic Thai dishes like tamarind ribs and green curry fried rice alongside fusion bar-food bites, like spicy wings and a burger. The drinks are trendy and serious, especially the "Bucket List" section of the cocktail menu full of drinks served in buckets. Long Thaisland Iced Tea, anyone?
This whiskey-centric bar in Park Slope serves classic all-American food like fried chicken sandwiches with iceburg lettuce and ranch, cheeseburgers on potato rolls, and baked mac & cheese. Inspired by the movie Road House, the space has a honky-tonk-meets-roadside diner vibe thanks to kitschy antiques collected by the bar's crew over the years. The kitchen closes at 2am daily, so it's great for any late-night greasy food cravings.
Right across from McCarren Park, Turkey's Nest is a dive bar in Williamsburg known for serving drinks in huge styrofoam cups. It has all the fixins of an actual dive: cheap drinks, pool tables, a few TVs, and a jukebox.
After establishing the first Toro in Boston, chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette brought their tapas operation to New York. Set in a warehouse-like space on the western edge of Chelsea, Toro serves shareable Spanish plates that revolve around meat and seafood. To experience the full menu, start with a house cocktail and a few pinchos before moving on to hot and cold tapas, like chorizo chickpea stew and Galician octopus with potatoes. Be sure to save room for the paella, made the traditional Valencia way with shrimp, mussels, clams, chorizo, and chicken.
Pearl's Social & Billy Club was one of the first bars to open in Bushwick when the neighborhood was undergoing its first wave of hipster-led gentrification. Still going strong, it's an unfussy and low-key place for cheap beer and cocktails served in Mason jars. A long wooden bar, warm lighting, and candles give it a mature vibe that sits well with the thirty-something crowd.
Marcus Samuelsson's poultry-focused restaurant in Harlem revolves around chicken, both rotisserie and fried. The "Bird & Three" speciality is a full dinner that includes a whole roasted chicken with a side of mashed potatoes, collard greens, and cornbread. The menu includes flavors from all over the world, so expect dishes like chicken, rice noodles, and vegetables in coconut curry broth or wings tossed in a honey-citrus sauce. The space is decorated with a sensibility to Harlem street culture: a boom box art installation covers the walls and there are chairs made out of skateboards. When the weather is warm, the garage door windows open out onto the street.
It’s not quite in Bushwick, and it’s definitely not a country club. This Williamsburg tavern has super-cheap drink specials and a huge backyard. Its off-kilter atmosphere is decked out with pinup art, red-velour airplane seats, a Jim Beam-and-Coke slushie machine, and an old-school photo booth. To its credit, Bushwick Country Club actually does have a mini golf course (and the windmill is made of PBR boxes). BCC’s greatest claim to fame is the pickleback shot, born and raised at this joint (and undoubtably the catalyst for many-a-time 3am make-outs in the photo booth).
The Sweet Chick team is behind Pearl's, a casual Caribbean spot right near the Bedford Ave stop in Williamsburg. The speciality is Trinidadian bake and shark, a street-style sandwich made of fried shark meat, garlic sauce, mango chutney, and pickled slaw in sweet, deep-fried pita-like bread. The restaurant has an open kitchen and is decked out with graffiti art and boom-box wall hangings.
The rooftop of Gansevoort Park Avenue is a massive, tri-level space with views of the city from all sides. At the center is the Main Bar, an atrium-like space with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the New York skyline. Then there's the year-round pool, split into indoor and outdoor portions by a collapsible garage door. Previously called the Sun Deck, the top floor of the roof is home to Drift, a beach-themed cocktail lounge.
Beast of Bourbon is a bar and barbecue restaurant set in a massive, industrial building in Bed-Stuy. The hallmark of the multi-room, 5,500sqft space is the horseshoe-shaped bar that boasts over 40 draft beers and more than 200 whiskeys. The barbecue options include brisket, pork belly, pulled pork, and chicken wings by the pound, ribs by the rack, and a variety of sides like collard greens, French fries, and potato salad. There's usually live music to round out the programming.
This cafeteria-style burger joint in Fort Greene is all about customization. You start by choosing your patty from a list that includes grass-fed beef, ground turkey, and flame-grilled tofu. Then, you dress it up with either one of the house combos, like the eponymous 67 Burger with blue cheese and bacon, or create your own from the extensive list of toppings, dressings, and cheeses. The menu also includes customizable salads and drinks like beer, wine, and spiked milkshakes.
Glady's in Crown Heights spent its first year as an American sandwich shop before it transitioned into what it is now, a funky Caribbean restaurant. The menu is heavy on jerk, whether it's chicken, pork, seitan, or lobster. There's a huge rum selection, and you can savor the different varieties through one of the flights or go big with the Dark & Stormy slushie.
Mojave is a Southwestern-meets-Mexican restaurant and tequila bar in Astoria with a colorful outdoor patio that's too good to pass up in the summer. The food is both traditional and modern, with a menu full of fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. It's the perfect place to order freshly-made guacamole and margaritas at happy hour. If you're looking for a bottomless brunch deal, Mojave's got you covered.
The colorful, narrow noodle shop in Astoria serves up dishes like brothy crab meat and crispy pork rinds with traditional Thai condiments like peppers in vinegar and cane sugar. It's like eating street food in a sit-down restaurant surrounded by antique Thai tchotchkes. A full bar also serves booze-filled slushies, and there's a patio out back for dining in the warmer months.