Gone are the days of just stale popcorn and pretzels for free at a bar — these New York City places offer everything from buffalo wings to a full bagel spread at no additional cost. Just make sure to pay for the drinks and, of course, tip well.Read More
13 NYC Bars with the Most Legit Free Food
Old Bay popcorn, slathered wings, and Murray’s cheese — gratis
1. The Dead Poet
The literary-themed sister bar to George Keeley, which is across the street, has drawn Upper West Siders since 2000 with its smartly curated, affordable brews and gastropub-style dishes. But whether on a date or catching up with a friend, the reliably hot and buttery free popcorn is an ideal accompaniment.
This dive dating back to the 1930s, widely known for its pig statue welcoming customers at the front door, has remained a stronghold while still keeping its gruff regulars. That’s in part because it continues to serve free hot dogs alongside cheap drinks. Served straight off the gas station-style grill, the occasionally Hebrew National weiner is more satisfying than it has any right to be. Plus, the backyard is a hidden Hell’s Kitchen oasis. Cash only.
3. Mad Donkey Beer Bar & Grill
Five Guys turned free peanuts into a nationwide phenomenon, but Astoria’s Mad Donkey one-ups the competition by doubling as a food-based art project. Drinkers noshing on the nuts are encouraged to throw the spent shells down onto the floor, adding to the day’s mosaic.
4. Offside Tavern
A roomy and refreshingly unpretentious sports bar centrally located in Chelsea, Offside also has secretly excellent pub grub. Fresh popcorn is on the house around the clock. But on Thursdays, the purchase of any pitcher comes with a free five-piece basket of wings. Go with the classic buffalo, and try not to guzzle the pitcher alone. The roomy interior and backroom also host events and games including trivia and a Mario Kart tournament.
5. The Stonewall Inn
Among the more straight-friendly gay bars in the West Village, the historic Stonewall Inn doesn’t skimp on the snacks. On certain nights (i.e., when Chuck is bartending), the gratis popcorn is heartily laced with M&Ms, a sweet and salty treat that pairs well with even the cheapest beer. The backroom hosts dance nights and drag shows. Chat up one of the elderly regulars at the front bar for a taste of Manhattan LGBTQ history.
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6. Crocodile Lounge
Crocodile Lounge, along with its Williamsburg sister bar Alligator, have long been feeding the overworked and underpaid young creative types of New York. Throngs of tattooed 20-somethings claim their ticket for a free mini-pizza with each drink purchase in the dark, cavernous dive. Splurge on the $1 toppings and add jalapeños for zing on an otherwise basic pie.
7. Blind Tiger
Blind Tiger Ale House, a neighborhood staple, has long catered to beer geeks with its immense draft list served in a vaguely rustic atmosphere. Though it has a food menu, Blind Tiger also puts out a free rotating selection of Murray’s cheeses and baguettes every Wednesday starting at 6 p.m. Get there early to snag more than scraps.
8. George & Jack's Tap Room
Brooklyn, NY 11211
George & Jack’s recently replaced the beloved Brooklyn Ale House without losing much of the old-school charm. From the team behind Skinny Dennis and Lucky Dog, the cozy Williamsburg dive exceeds expectations with its constantly refreshed popcorn station in the back, which has sauces and seasonings at the ready. Even better are the free bagels offered every Sunday, which aid the fiercest hangover.
From Momofuku vet chef Shane Lyons, Tribeca’s Distilled aims to elevate rib-sticking pub standards like wings and burgers. But for those simply nursing a beer, its most exciting offering may be the free popcorn seasoned with “magic dust,” a blend of nutritional yeast, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt, sugar, and gochugaru. The giant, sleekly designed interior works for groups who want to linger.
10. The Levee
What’s better than free popcorn? Free cheeseballs. The Cheeto Puff-style snacks available at this Southern-themed dive in Williamsburg, which thankfully refuses to alter its formula, combat a serious case of the munchies. Follow them up by paying for the Texas-authentic Frito Pie while taking in the aggressive hard rock music.
11. Matt Torrey's
Matt Torrey’s is the sort of sleek East Williamsburg sports bar that would be impossible to imagine a couple decades ago. But beyond the slightly anonymous aesthetic and football-focused crowd, it has complimentary bagels with all the necessary fixings every Saturday and Sunday. Cash only.
12. The Brazen Head
A coveted dive with cheap beers in a heavily trafficked, über-gentrified part of Brooklyn, Brazen Head still manages to give away essentially free meals. Gumbo Bros wings are complimentary on Mondays, while Wednesdays offer a selection of cheeses alongside discounted wine. On Sundays, bagels pair with the special bloody marys and mimosas. The darts ensure the regulars stick around.
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13. Fourth Avenue Pub
No trip to Barclays Center is complete without a stop into Fourth Avenue Pub, a dependable nearby watering hole, which has 27 reasonably priced craft beers on tap. The barebones bar is just as well-known among fans, though, for the free popcorn loaded with addictive Old Bay seasoning.