Andrew Zimmer 
Mehanata
flickr/amlamster
Mercury Lounge
Loreley Restaurant
flickr/allkindsofnew
Ten Bells
flickr/roeyahram
Top Hops
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1. Seoul Chicken 71 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This Korean fried chicken spot (serving SEVEN different types!) is one of the hottest spots in the LES for quick and delicious grub. Coming from Chaz Brown of Top Chef, Around the World in 80 Plates, and Fatty Crab fame, sip on some coconut-laden 'tails and some watermelon covered in lard, as well.

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2. Welcome to The Johnson's 123 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Welcome to The Johnson's is a classic dive on the Lower East Side where you can play pool, listen to great music, and actually talk to your friends. Though it's on the quieter side, it's got all the grungy dive bar charm you could want with questionable couches, a bathroom full of graffiti, and very cheap beers.

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3. Mehanata's Ice Cage & Party Bus 113 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Finally packaging their two most unique offerings, 50 bones'll gain you entrance to Mehanata's legendary Ice Cage (a frozen chamber you enter dressed like a comrade for 15min of all-you-can-drink vodka out of glasses made from ice), followed immediately by a ride on the DJ-havin', previously-for-charter-only Gypsy Party Bus, though even Cher can tell you it's not a party without some Tramps. And apparently Thieves.

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4. No Fun 161 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Rock 'n roll and Mediterranean-Moroccan cuisine are a pretty unlikely duo, but here it's a match made in (tapas) heaven. Small plates, including bacon and mozzarella and seafood-packed paella, supply the menu, while DJs and copious liters of sangria keep you going all night.

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5. Marshall Stack 66 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The beer, tots, and grilled cheeses here might be tasty, but don’t say we didn’t warn you that the quaint kitchen is also called “a toaster”. Turning things up to eleven (ZING!) is all the eponymous amp-friendly decor.

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6. Home Sweet Home NYC 131 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This subterranean dance dive with taxidermy aplenty (and a disco ball!) is an LES favorite. Be warned, however, that this dive tends to get a bit crowded on the weekends, for good reason: with cheap drinks, impressive whiskey offerings, and DJs who respect '90s music just as much as you, Home Sweet Home very much lives up to its name.

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7. Mercury Lounge 217 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The Mercury Lounge is an intimate Lower East Side venue with a storied history: the Houston street space was originally part of the legendary NYC Astor family's pied-a-terre and was used to house servants, who reached the main house through a network of underground tunnels. While not quite so mysteriously extravagant these days, Mercury Lounge is one of the city's best spots to check out local and national touring bands up close and personal; it's no-frills (rather than divey) surroundings and quality sound system rightfully put the music center stage.

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8. The Whiskey Ward 121 Essex St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The Whiskey Ward is a no-frills LES bar with an extensive collection of ryes, bourbons, and single malts. If beer's more your thing, or you'd like a lighter beverage to even out your drinking, there's plenty of that too.

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9. Loreley 7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

A German beer garden and restaurant inspired by traditional biergartens of Cologne, Lorely serves 12 brews on tap in either liter or half-liter steins, plus eats like schnitzel, bratwurst, and Gegrilltes HĂĽhnchensandwich (trying saying that... one time fast!).

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10. Nurse Bettie 106 Norfolk, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This beloved LES cocktail haunt serves classic libations with a twist. Inspired by glamorous 1950s pin-up girls and the rockabilly music scene, this diner-esque dive doles out speciality drinks named after famous vixens of the day and regularly hosts burlesque performances. While the retro ambiance may or may not be your thing, solid happy hour deals and a lively clientele make this spot worth stopping by.

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11. Spitzer's Corner 101 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This Lower East Side gastropub is good for a first date, but even better if you’re single and on the hunt for an attractive stranger. There are more than 40 craft beers on tap, many of which are brewed in New York state, and the food menu includes fancy bar food like truffle mac & cheese, kobe beef sliders, and sweet potato fries. The long, communal tables and industrial decor give it a casual, beer hall vibe.

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12. Black Crescent 76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

A fire in 2015 couldn't keep Black Crescent down -- the Lower East Side raw and cocktail bar came back with a thirst for sating yours. Notable on the corner of Rivington and Clinton for the serpentine mural that covers the building's edifice, the spot is low-key on the interior, with simple wood and chrome accents. Oyster happy hours are made happier by strong riffs on classics, like a take on the Negroni called the Hempen Halter, with hickory-smoked Italian vermouth, sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin.

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13. The Ten Bells 247 Broome St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

A small, intimate space offering up oysters and 20+ tapas alongside an impressive wine list, Ten Bells was practically made for a first date. Come at happy hour, when oysters are a dollar and carafes of wine are $15.

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14. 169 Bar 169 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Drenched in colored light and decked out in palm trees,169 Bar may read a tad tacky, but that’s because it is. It’s earned that right after being around since 1916 (when its original name was the “Bloody Bucket”). Strip­tease dancers perform on a tiny platform alongside worn red booths as a fun­loving crowd guzzles cheap beer, frozen cocktails, and oyster Bloody Mary shooters (yes, they have a raw bar, but expect to be served on paper plates). A leopard­ print billiards table lives in the small back room, just don’t be shy about asking patrons to move for that winning shot.

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15. Local 138 138 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This is the bar equivalent of “pre-gaming at a friend’s place,” except it’s likely even cheaper. Every day from 4-9pm, they’re pouring $3 wells, wines, and drafts that are far better than the Miller High Life your friend Dan always brings over.

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16. Leave Rochelle Out of It 205 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This bodega-turned-bar offers over 150 types of whiskey, no-nonsense cocktails, and above-average bar food. It's decorated with subway tiles and funky mirrors, and you can expect loud music and movies playing from the TV screens. The best part? The sign in the bathroom politely asking you to fornicate somewhere other than the restroom...

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17. Top Hops 94 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This LES beer haven's massive freezer stocks more than 700 heavily Euro bottles to go, while the undulating, growler-friendly custom bar's lined with seasonally rotating taps from the likes of Kelso and Capt Lawrence, with each ale dissected on a nearby slate board loaded with deets from keg tap date to how bitter the brew is, a metric that with people, is often related to the date of their last tapping.

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18. Attaboy 134 Eldridge St, New York City, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Founded by former Milk & Honey mixologists Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, Attaboy is an intimate, semi-hidden craft cocktail bar and lounge on the Lower East Side. Operating out of Milk & Honey's old digs, Attaboy builds on the personalized cocktail experience M&H made popular with a menu changes nightly and encouraging guests to ditch the menu altogether; simply tell Sam or Michael what you're into and they'll craft you a bespoke libation worthy of hall of fame status.