From happy hour to late night, East Village is a popular drinking destination. It’s home to some of the top, legitimately grungy dive bars in the city but also to swankier cocktail joints. On this map, find bars for every vibe and price point.Read More
22 Bars for Every Vibe in the East Village
From dive bars to cocktail lounges, this neighborhood knows how to drink
Sake Bar Decibel
Alongside its small plates, this Japanese izakaya specializes in sake, offering one of the lengthiest lists of the fermented rice wine in the city. There’s also a long list of shochus, which can be enjoyed straight or in cocktails like a take on a bloody mary made with shochu and tomato juice.
Mona’s frequently hosts live music events and has that grungy dive vibe of old-school East Village, with cheap drink prices to match (drafts are typically around $5 or $6). Catch bluegrass and jazz performances nightly.
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This cocktail bar provides a useful scale for its drinks, rating them on a spectrum of refreshing to spiritous, as well as one from comforting to adventurous. The “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which ranks high for spiritous and adventurous, combines three kinds of gin, contratto bianco, cranberry liqueur, and yellow chartreuse. Colorful drinks are served in a den-esque space with lots of wood.
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Mace is a stylish but low-key cocktail bar that experiments with ingredients like scotch infused with shiitake mushrooms, basil seeds, and bee pollen. Its signature, namesake cocktail blends Aperol, aquavit, beet juice, orange acid, a Thai coconut cordial, and spicy mace mist.
McSorley's Old Ale House
NYC icon McSorley’s has been around since the 19th century and was a men’s only establishment until the ’70s. It’s known for its cheap bar food and two beers: light and dark, which come in pairs of small mugs. Know the deal before going — which is that ordering one beer actually means getting two — because it’s the kind of place where newcomers will get made fun of if they don’t know the rules. But specific ordering traditions aside, it’s a laid back place where some regulars have been drinking for decades.
Burp Castle was one of the few bars to boast a long beer list when it opened in 1992, and now, it’s still a solid place to grab a Belgian beer in New York. It’s got a monastery theme, but it’s perhaps best known for being a quiet bar — meaning patrons are required to whisper. Bartenders enforce the rule by shooshing loud talkers; going with a group is a bad idea, but it’s an alluring set-up for an intimate conversation with a date.
Holiday Cocktail Lounge
Holiday Cocktail Lounge used to be a bastion of old East Village, but the dive bar closed in 2012 and was revamped into a more modern cocktail bar a few years later. It maintained a lo-fi look but serves legit cocktails. Happy hour runs every day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., except Saturday, and features half-priced beers, wine, and well drinks.
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Big Bar is, despite the name, a tiny spot that’s ideal for a quick beer or a simple but well-executed cocktail. It’s low-lit and often crowded, especially at happy hour (Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), when draft beers and margaritas are $5. Cash only.
This corner dive gets rowdy and is a dependable place to go in the neighborhood for a pitcher of beer. As with any solid diver, there’s a pool table and a juke box. Signs posted along the back of the bar declare that no PBR is served here and include several sassy reminders to tip well.
Please Don't Tell
As far as speakeasies go, PDT was an early adopter of the format’s resurgence. It’s located behind a phone booth in Crif Dogs, has notoriously long wait times, and has been a huge influence on NYC’s cocktail scene. It’s a must-visit icon and serves classics alongside inventive house cocktails.
One of East Village’s dive bar relics, Lucy’s used to be called Blanche’s but was renamed in honor of its longtime bartender Ludwika Mickevicius who took over as the bar’s owner in 1997. PBR is the drink of choice here, and there’s also two pool tables. It’s cash only, so come prepared. Open until 4 a.m., it’s a reliable choice for the last stop of the night.
Augurs Well Bar
Craft beer geeks get into the draft list at Augurs Well, which regularly switches up its selection and highlights lots of local options. But the tiny room is also a favorite in the area for its unpretentious vibes, meaning beer newbies will feel welcomed, too. Lots of bottles and cans, plus some bar snacks, burgers, and sandwiches, are available as well. Happy hour goes from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., when all drafts, well liquors, and house wines receive a $2 discount.
Bua has happy hour every day (Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on the weekends from noon to 4 p.m.), serving draft beers for $2 off, $18 wine carafes, and select cocktails for $8. It also has cheese curds to cater to the Midwestern transplants, plus a killer fried chicken sandwich. The bar has a casual vibe, especially on its sidewalk patio, but the cocktails aren’t afraid to experiment, as with the margarita that has cocchi americano and mezcal for a touch of smoke and bitterness.
Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster Bar
It’s not uncommon to see people start milling about outside of Upstate before its 5 p.m. opening time. They’re trying to snag a seat for the daily happy hour, which runs until 7 p.m. and features six oysters plus a beer for $12.
The Gray Mare
There aren’t many places in NYC that offer $5 negronis, so Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., that’s exactly the reason to go to the Gray Mare. There’s a killer nitro espresso martini, too, and it goes for $10 at happy hour.
Death & Company
Open since 2007, Death & Company remains one of the top destinations for cocktails in the neighborhood, with a gorgeous bar and attention to detail in all of its drinks. There’s wine and beer, too, but it’s really all about the cocktails, which are displayed in colorful illustrations on its elaborate menus.
For a night of dancing and a raucous vibe, Niagara is the spot to go. Live DJs provide the tunes regularly, and there’s a happy hour daily that features $4 drafts and wine. On weekdays, its from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on weekends, it runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This bar with a year-round garden is most known for its burgers, but it also has a solid happy hour with $3 drafts Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s a relaxed neighborhood spot, perfect for groups.
Amor y Amargo
Amor y Amargo serves up cocktails created by big names in mixology, like Max Green and Sother Teague. The menu organizes the cocktails on a scale of bitterness, and all run for $15. A cozy spot with a tiled bar, it seats less than 20.
The Summit Bar
The East Coast oysters at dim, brick-walled Summit Bar are $1 round the clock, though there’s a minimum order requirement of six. There’s also a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring $8 pulled pork sliders, $4 cans of beer, $7 wine selections, and a list of seven different cocktails for $8, including a dark and stormy and a Moscow mule. There’s also a covered patio.
Baar Baar is an Indian restaurant doing really interesting things with cocktails, as demonstrated by its boozy lassi, made with gin, cashew, almond milk, egg white, cream, and orange oil. The drinks pay homage to different regions and spices of India and pair well with the upscale food menu of mostly small plates.
Whiskey and beer are the things to drink here, and dogs are even welcome at this bar that has over 100 brews on hand. Monday through Friday until 9 p.m., there are $5 draft beers, well drinks, and glasses of wine. A late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. features $6 beer and shot specials.