You don't need a fancy environment to enjoy life's more elevated pleasures -- for instance, the Havana Club's fine, but an Opus X smokes just as sweetly in a subway car full of children. To get legit cocktails in a pretension-free spot, check out just-opened SB3 (a.k.a. Sexy B*).
Created by Spice Market/Gin Lane mixologist Marty Vaz, SB3's drinks range from expertly mixed staples (the Dark and Stormy) to rye-loaded innovations (the Mental Ward) to the Laird's Applejack-based Caramel Candy Apple (shockingly good despite a name that evokes vomiting on the Tilt-A-Whirl). But while the hooch matches any upscale cocktail den's, the setup's casual East Village, with bar-height tables and French doors opened to the sidewalk -- so as you sip your "FDR Dirty Martini" you'll have excellent views of panhandlers hoping you'll hire them to build a dam. Accordingly, the menu's dirt-cheap: almost nothing tops $10, including the monstrously fat burger and the White Mac & Cheese Lasagna -- the "liger" of pasta dishes.
If even the above's too formal for you, hit SB3's subterranean lounge, a bomb shelter version of LES dive Welcome To The Johnsons -- where you can hide from angry mothers whose children now smell like butt-chomping captains of industry. *The original name (rhymes with "Mexi Rich") was dropped out of consideration for community decency standards.
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