Happy Hour(s) in New York City Revealed

05 March 2015 / By travel4foodfun@gmail.com

Tom makes fun of my obsession with happy hour, but I don’t care! It’s a great way to sample food and drinks at a reasonable price. There is also an added bonus of sharing the experience with friends, new and old.

New York City has a plethora of restaurants offering Happy Hour specials. At many establishments in the City, the “usual” happy hour time of a few hours after the traditional work day is extended by several hours and sometimes offered on the weekend. The crazy competition of restaurants in the City is of benefit to customers searching for great deals! Tom and I have enjoyed Happy Hour at many bars and restaurants in Manhattan and are highlighting some of our favorites.

DSC_0231Cull and Pistol Oyster Bar is our must visit place whenever we are in New York City. We fortuitously stumbled upon this gem last year after a stroll on the Highline and always make it a point to dine here. Located in the famed Chelsea Market, Cull and Pistol is a seafood lover’s dream. Especially during happy hour! Weekdays between 4-6 PM, be sure to stop by for $1 oysters. That’s right, any oyster on the menu is only $1! There is always a great selection of east and west coast oysters. On our most recent visit, we sampled Calm Cove, Hood Canal, WA; Cookes’ Cocktail, Malpeque Bay, PEI; and Pemaquid, Damariscotta River, ME. We always enjoy bar seating and asked Tim, our favorite server and bartender, for a dark beer recommendation to pair with the oysters for Tom. The American Porter, Beast Mode, went extremely well. I selected the happy hour white wine, which happened to be a sauvignon blanc out of South Africa. In addition to oysters, there is a happy hour menu with specials ranging from housemade salmon rillettes to lobster sliders to a honeycrisp apple salad. We sampled broiled east coast oysters which were rich and delicious. And, of course, we had to get the live uni that is off of the regular menu. Even during happy hour, sometimes you have to splurge! Tom and I love this place for the amazing food and drink selection as well as for the incredibly helpful and friendly staff. By the way, this place is popular and will usually involve a wait. However, you don’t have to jockey for a seat. Put yourself on the waitlist and they’ll call out your name when seats become available. When in Manhattan, be sure to stop by this amazing restaurant. We always feel welcome here and know that you will too!

DSC_0263Speakeasy lounges, with their housemade and fresh, organic ingredients for craft cocktails and intimate setting are all the rage. However, do yourself a favor and skip the throngs of people and high priced drinks at the “well known” establishments and head over to Alphabet City. Here you will find incredible (and reasonably priced for NYC) cocktails without the fuss and lines.

It has been years since I visited Alphabet City and Tom has never been to this amazing “up and coming” eclectic neighborhood. So, it was a delight to discover The Wayland  on Avenue C. The Wayland is a cozy establishment, decorated with beautiful woodwork and wrought iron. There’s even a roaring fireplace to cut the winter evening chill. Happy hour runs weekdays from 5-7PM. Although there are $1 oysters, we decided to kick our happy hour night off with some oyster shooters instead. Ummm….Yum! We followed with a couple of happy hour cocktails. Tom ordered a traditional margarita, made with fresh ingredients and not the crappy bottled mixer. Lora sampled an old fashioned. Both were very well crafted cocktails. And at $7, it is definitely a deal in NYC! We stayed after happy hour and selected drinks from the full menu, which are reasonably priced for NYC at $11-12. Tom had the “Smoked and Roasted”, a mezcal based concoction. Lora went for the “I Hear Banjos-encore!” complete with a glass of Applewood-cinnamon bark smoke to inhale. Our server, Angela, helped us with our selections and we appreciated all of her knowledgeable suggestions! Once again, speakeasy vibe without the speakeasy pretentiousness and price!

DSC_0266If you happen to be in Alphabet City and want to enjoy a lovely happy hour experience from 5:30-7:30PM any day of the week, we highly recommend The Summit Bar. With $6 cocktails and half priced oysters, you can’t go wrong. This place, located across the street from The Wayland, also has a very cool vibe. The exposed brick wall and long bar makes you feel like you are in a cool speakeasy, but with less people and chaos. My favorite cocktail is the French 75. The Summit Bar has a twist on this and is named The Last Cocktail. Yum. Tom sipped on the Ground Glass which was also tasty. Alphabet City surely is an unexpected neighborhood that is full of surprises like The Summit Bar. Do yourself a favor and go!

DSC_0288Reunion is a surf/tiki inspired bar located in Hells Kitchen. Tom and I were in Manhattan for a meeting in late February and the weather was brutally cold. There’s no better way to combat the frigid temperatures than to sip on happy hour cocktails amidst a bar decked out in tropical décor! Once again, this is a place we recommend showing up as close to opening as possible in order to secure a seat at the bar. This bar gets slammed with the after work crowd. And rightly so! Happy hour runs from 5:30-8 PM during weekdays and all day Sunday. I recommend looking at their website as there are numerous specials. I sipped on their specialty: the Mermaid, which is a frozen Mojito. Priced at $6 during happy hour, it was a great escape to paradise. Tom veered off the happy hour menu and asked our bartender to concoct a unique cocktail, which he obliged. Tom tried two drinks, one tequila based and another was rum based. Both were absolutely delicious. We also snacked on a $5 dodo dog, which is a hotdog topped with crisp coleslaw, salsa, and pork belly. Yum!

DSC_0285If you are in Midtown and have a hankering for vodka, you must try Russian Vodka Room. Happy hour runs from 4-7 PM everyday. For $6, you can sip on a flavored martini and for $4, you can sample house made vodka infusion shots. We love the vibe of this place. Its’ old school décor and laid back atmosphere feels perfect for this establishment. As I sip on vodka, I enjoy practicing the few phrases of Russian I remember from my days as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkmenistan with the bartenders. This place should come with a warning sign. The vodka is seriously real and will sneak up on you. Do not shoot these drinks. Sip on the shots! Enjoy the different flavors. The martinis are terrific, but we prefer the house made infusions. Over the course of our many visits, I think we tried every infusion. Hands down, our favorite is strawberry. I also enjoyed ginger as well as garlic pepper and dill (kind of like a dirty martini in a shot glass). Be sure to ask if there are any special infusions as the proprietors use seasonal ingredients! We have never eaten here, so we cannot comment on the food. However, this place has delicious vodka infusions and is a must visit stop if you enjoy this spirit!

DSC_0272Our favorite spot in the West Village for happy hour, but especially weekend brunch, is Yerba Buena Perry. Happy hour features $7 cocktails from 5-7PM Sunday-Friday. However, brunch is where this place shines for us! Along with Cull and Pistol Oyster Bar, this is another must-visit place for us. Whenever we come here for brunch, we always sit at the bar to chat with fellow diners and the amazing bartenders. We enjoy the unlimited cocktails for $17. I love the Brazilian Bellini and Tom enjoys the Michelada. The tuna ceviche is superb! There are also delicious Latin inspired brunch dishes. Although the place is always packed, stick around even if there is a wait. You won’t be disappointed!

There are so many restaurants and bars that offer amazing happy hour specials (and brunch). I just highlighted a few of our favorites. We enjoy wandering around and discovering new places. It’s so easy to do in Manhattan. If you have any favorites, let us know! We are always looking for new bars and restaurants to try!

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