New York City is known as being one of the most exciting, diverse, and cosmopolitan urban centers in the world, with a legendary food and drink scene to match. From Italian wine bars to the thriving craft cocktail scene, there are as many reasons to visit Manhattan for its drinks as for its world-famous foods.
Manhattan isn’t usually known for being affordable. Want to know an insider secret? It’s absolutely possible to find cheap drinks in NYC, particularly in this borough. If you find yourself wondering, “Where can I bar hop in NYC?” You’ve come to the right place. Check out our tips for finding the cheapest bars in Manhattan.
Verlaine’s happy hour is hard to beat, both for its length—five hours a night, seven days a week—and its affordability. Lychee martinis, red or white sangria, mixed drinks, and house wines are all just $7 between 5 and 10 p.m. For a cheap happy hour in NYC, you’d be hard pressed to find a more satisfying deal.
2. Bonnie Vee
Bonnie Vee has all the rustic charm you’d expect from a Lower East Side pub, with a sophisticated edge. Dark wood paneling, hardwood floors, and candlelit tables serve as the perfect backdrop for drinks and conversation. During happy hour, from 5 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, you can get a beer for $5; wine for $2 off; and even a specialty boozy slushie for $11. Plus, accompanying comfort foods like a grilled cheese sandwich or warm pretzel are discounted, too.
3. Botanica Bar
Botanica Bar is relaxed, unpretentious, and home to some of the most delicious and affordable cocktails NYC has to offer. Even at full price, an intriguing drink like the Ginger Yum Yum, made with rosemary-infused vodka and minced ginger, is only $9. But happy hour goes from opening until 8 p.m. every day, ensuring you’ll never pay too much at Botanica Bar.
4. The Hard Swallow
The Hard Swallow is a classic dive bar. It’s a lively rock ’n’ roll tavern, where the motto is “Cheap Beer & Booze.” As you’d expect from one of the best cheap bars in the East Village, the Hard Swallow has a buy-one-get-one happy hour from noon to 8 p.m. They also have a sizable draft beer menu and incredibly low-priced appetizers. You might even be tempted to get the canned beer and well shot special for $7, available from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
5. Amelie Wine Bar
You don’t have to hit up a dive bar to get inexpensive alcohol in Manhattan—there are a number of cheap wine bars in NYC, too. Amelie, which has two Manhattan locations, is a French bistro and wine bar with an extensive by-the-glass wine list, including many for around $10 a pop. Amelie also serves brunch, lunch, and dinner, and its brunch menu includes $9 mimosas and $10 Bloody Mary’s.
Wine bars aren’t the only place to get a delicious glass of vino in NYC. Manhattan’s Italian eateries are world-famous, and many of them stock imported Italian wine at reasonable prices. Trapizzino, a Roman street food-style eatery in a rustic corner building, serves a daily selection of Italian reds, whites, and bubbles. It sells them by the glass, quartino, and bottle. Trapizzino also stocks draft and bottled beer.
7. Jimmy’s Corner
If you’re looking for cheap bars near Times Square, you don’t have to look far. In fact, Jimmy’s Corner is just a stone’s throw away. The familiar dive-bar charm transcends its urbane locale. Year-round Christmas lights decorate the interior, a smattering of photos are tacked up around the bar, and a TV plays sports games in the small space. You can’t beat the prices—beer and liquor are under $10.
8. Radio Star Karaoke
If you came to New York to party, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of cheap bars in Midtown Manhattan. And what better way to let off steam than ducking into a karaoke bar? At Radio Star Karaoke, you and your friends can chill out in the bar and lounge, shine bright on the stage, or even rent a private karaoke room to share. Drinks and shareable foods are inexpensive, so go ahead and take a shot of liquid courage before hitting the stage.
9. Henry’s Rooftop Bar
You might expect the best cocktails with a view in Manhattan to be pretty pricey, but just a little looking around will reveal a number of cheap rooftop bars in Manhattan. Henry’s Rooftop Bar, perched atop the Roger Smith Hotel, has lovely views of the bright city lights and an affordable drink menu. Beer and cider are around $10, with wine just a couple dollars more. Grab your sweetheart, get up on that roof, and share a romantic New York evening without breaking the bank.
10. McSorley’s Old Ale House
There’s something about a classic Manhattan pub that seems to transcend time, putting you right back into NYC’s old days. McSorley’s Old Ale House was established in 1854 and it’s one of the city’s oldest taverns. Among the antique touches, like sawdust on the floor and an old-fashioned cash register, you’ll also find old-timey prices on the hand-written menu. Draft beer is the only alcohol served at this pub, and you’ll find it plentiful and inexpensive.
There are more things to do in Manhattan than you could accomplish in a lifetime—but here are a few of the best ways to get to know the city as you’re pub crawling your way from the Battery to Uptown:
- So many of Manhattan’s beer and wine traditions come from the Old World. Learn more about the immigrant history of NYC and America with a Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Tour.
- Broadway shows make for great conversation during after-show drinks. Go see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and discuss it later over a cocktail.
- There’s no better way to see the city lights than on a New York Harbor Lights Evening Cruise—you can even have a glass of wine onboard.
- Done drinking for the night? Laugh at people who aren’t when you attend a performance of Drunk Shakespeare.
Ready to explore Manhattan on a budget? This borough, known worldwide for its unparalleled dining scene, is home to plenty of inexpensive bars and pubs—and once you know where to find them, you’ll be saving money in a New York minute.
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