Cheap. Clean. Good. Pick two. With the cost of literally everything in New York, it can feel impossible to find somewhere to have drinks in the city that satisfies all three requirements for a quality after-work drink. We scoured Manhattan for the best happy hour experiences we could find and narrowed it down to our top 5. Happy FriYAY!
Upright Brew House
Where? West Village
When? 4 pm – 7 pm every day, then again for the last two hours of the evening
What’s the Deal? $2 off all draft beer, wine, and appetizers, plus daily specials
Nestled between a juice bar and an artist’s studio on Hudson Street, Upright Brew House boasts an expansive draft and bottle list from the wide world of craft beer. The bar staff, who are extremely knowledgeable, will happily guide you through your options, should you have trouble choosing. The downstairs hangout has pinball machines; the bar stools are made from the reclaimed wood of old bleachers; and several little nooks are dotted around, perfect for sequestering with a beer during the quieter hours. If you’re here for a more sociable time, tables can be reserved during happy hour if you have a party of six or more. The feel of the place is chill and relaxed, an ideal spot for buffalo wings and beer! Alternatively, the jar of beer cheese and enormous handmade pretzels are truly excellent.
547 Hudson St, 10015
Monday to Thursday 2 pm – 12 am / Friday 2 pm – 2 am / Saturday 12 pm – 2 am
Sunday 12 pm – 12 am
When? Every day from 4 pm – 8 pm, plus midnight til close from Monday to Wednesday
What’s The Deal? If $6 wells and regular can & shot specials don’t tempt you, Mess Hall makes the ‘adult happy meal’: a beer, a shot, and a hot dog for just $10.
Dark green paneling, eclectic landscape paintings, and a few taxidermied animals give this small craft beer & bourbon outfit a strangely comforting outdoors vibe. A projector in the back screens old movies; trivia, bingo, and Drag Race nights run each week. Cheerful, attentive staff and free cheese balls are the cherries on top.
Where? Lower East Side
When? Every day from 11:30 am – 7:30 pm
What’s The Deal? $3 beer and shot combo. In New York.
This New Orleans-themed dive bar is upfront, unpretentious, and, most importantly for NYC, cheap. In the haze of rainbow lightbulbs, the leopard-print pool table and menu constructed on MS Word (with considerable abuse of the drop-shadow feature) make 169 Bar feel like walking into the middle of a protracted battle between the 1970s and the early 2000s. The Southern comfort food and regular soul & funk nights, plus the novelty of texting your order to the barkeep the place balanced between absolute kitsch and genuinely good Nola fare. It’s absolutely rammed at night so it’s worth coming for lunch or in the early evening. Whenever you go, it’s a guaranteed good and weird time!
169 E Broadway, 10002
Monday to Sunday 11:30 am – 4 am
When? Every day until 8 pm
What’s The Deal? $3 drafts, $4 wells and $5 select wines
The happy midpoint between a genuine dive bar and a slightly more upscale lounge, Botanica’s hipster-meets-thrift-store vibe is an eclectic mix of neon mood lighting, mismatched furniture, and music you’ve probably never heard of. With a menu ranging from basic brews (there are eight on tap to choose from) to house cocktails (the popular Ginger Yum Yum is definitely not overhyped), and a different DJ every night of the week, there’s something here for just about everyone. The bartenders are attentive, the toilets are gender-neutral, the music is loud, and the drinks are strong. Get here before it packs out around 7 pm.
47 E Houston St, 10012
Sunday to Thursday 5 pm – 4 am
Friday & Saturday 4 pm – 4 am
Where? Upper East Side
When? The everyday happy hour is 4 pm until close, but the real steal is on weekends from 10:30 am to 4 pm…
What’s The Deal? There’s two here: regular happy hour, with $7 Mexican beers, $8 wines, and cocktails, and a $6 tapas menu; and then there’s the bottomless brunch. Oh, the bottomless brunch. For $49 you get unlimited small plates and unlimited cocktails for two hours. Two words: BOTTOMLESS. MARGHERITAS. The words “bottomless margheritas” really should have sold you on this upscale Mexican restaurant in the UES, but if you prefer cervezas, Maya stocks a variety of Mexican brews including Corona and Dos Equis. The happy hour takes place at the restaurant bar in the front while the back area is reserved for dining.
1191 First Avenue, 10065
Monday to Thursday 4 pm – 10 pm / Friday 4 pm – 11 pm
Saturday 10 am – 11 pm / Sunday 10 am – 10 pm