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The Best Summer Happy Hours in NYC (NYC Blog)

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Best Summer Happy Hours in New York City

Bogota Latin BistroThe most beautiful thing about strolling around the city in the summertime isn’t wandering onto pretty tree-lined blocks. It isn’t getting up early to do something, anything, in Central Park. Nor is it going to the countless outdoor events happening wherever there is an open space. The best thing about summer is seeing a chalkboard of specials, looking over wearily to your companion and asking,

“Should we try it?”

To which the usual response is,

“Sure. Whatever. I’m too hot to think right now.” A few hours later you leave, astonished that the temperature is still the same as you contemplate walking home over entering the [wrath of the] subway. Acknowledging there are at least two dozen per block, here are some of the city’s best happy hours:

Lower East Side

Crocodile Lounge (325 E 14th Street) is a delightful little dive bar that is usually full to the brim, but it has ample seating and a backyard. Happy hour runs from 12pm-7pm everyday and it includes $3 Yuenglings, $4 well cocktails and $1 off all draughts. The best part is the free personal, steaming hot, pizza with almost every drink you buy. It is almost impossible to get too drunk here. For a more grown up crowd I always love the atmosphere at Dempsey’s Pub (61 2nd Avenue). Here you can have a decent conversation with friends, inside or in the ample front patio seating area, before you realize you probably should have left a little earlier. The specials here tend to change but there is always a two for one on bottled beer and well drinks tend to be under $5, Monday through Friday from 4pm to 7:45pm, precisely. Also, they do some mean fries here with several of their own sauces which are beyond delicious and great to share.

Midtown West

This one is a little bit addictive. Brazil Brazil Grill ( 328 W 46th Street, Restaurant Row) will indulge you with $4 champagne, caipirinhas, sangria and Portuguese beer every night. Usually happy hour ends early in the night, but from time to time it is extended until midnight. With a very nice outdoor seating area, it is never too full or too dead and the bartenders themselves are brimming with infectious personalities, they always seem to know when your drink needs topping up. From the two wonderful live bossa nova singers, that usually play on their guitars in a corner, to the DVD’s of Brazilian music sensations—this place is just too good for Midtown.

Upper West Side

Sugar Bar (254 W 72nd Street), I have no idea what is going on with the décor here, but who could care less when Tuesday through Friday, 5:30pm-7:30pm you can get buy one get one free drinks and an under $10 food menu? The music has always been pleasant, there is outdoor seating and just a nice little touch of soul food.

Upper East Side

If you’re lucky enough to get a day off or leave work early, head to Za Za (1207 1st Avenue) for $5 well drinks and $8 martinis. Also, bruschetta is $6 and their moreish spinach is $5 on weekdays from 3:30pm-6:30pm–I think this one is a definite for the ladies. Whilst I will admit there are some very good deals in this part of town, happy hour hunting is a no go during summertime. Students are still on vacation and still learning how to pace themselves (not enough carding). But come October I’m sure the numerous Irish bars will still have something fun to offer. Also, usually there are higher instances of food and drink happy hours in this neighborhood which always makes for a happy drinker.


Superfine (126 Front Street, DUMBO) is a cool little spot where they do a well thought out, mostly organically sourced, menu. The bartenders are pretty great and every now and then you can play celeb spotting: Busta Rhymes lives round the corner and Jeremy Irons was drinking by himself here not too long ago—nice guy. Happy hour is Tuesday until Friday from 4pm-7pm and well drinks are $3.50 and Lonestar is always $3. Even though this place won’t dazzle you it can be pretty cool given that there’s little to do in DUMBO at night. A frequent favorite of mine is Bogota Latin Bistro (141 5th Avenue, Park Slope) which never fails to cheer me up. Especially since there are happy hour specials from 12pm every day of the week. The best of Latin cocktails (mojitios, magaritas and caipirinhas) all cost $7 and under. Plus there are lots of strangers, including the wait staff, who are more than happy to be new friends. If you want to take it easy, order plantain chips with a $3 bottled beer and watch some sports, which is usually playing at the bar.

Nikkita Flavius-Gottschalk is a Contributor to The Free George

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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