During my unpaid internship in the city, I became an expert in finding the best happy hour deals. All the money I saved on happy hour drinks, I could spend in pricey speakeasy and rooftop bars. Ingenious scheme, isn’t it? These 10 New York City bars offer secret entrances, splendid views, sweet deals or a combination of all three.
#1- Verlaine | Lower East Side
My favorite watering hole in the city is classy yet unpretentious. The lychee martini is legendary, and goes perfectly with the Asian tapas on the menu. No need to use your elbows in the subway: Verlaine’s happy hour deals carry on till 10 PM.
Unique because… Happy hour lasts till 10 o’clock!
What to order… Lychee Martini
#2- Pod 39 Rooftop| Midtown
The concentration of snobbish, overpriced bars is particularly high in Midtown. That’s why a laid-back rooftop bar like Pod 39 comes as a pleasant surprise. On top of that, the views are amazing and the cocktails delicious. Only downside; even high in the sky, there’s no escaping to Midtown prices.
Unique because… Panoramic Midtown views through the brick arches
What to order… Margarita, with a side of guacamole & chips
#3- The Back Room | Lower East Side
Speakeasy: (in the US during Prohibition) an illicit liquor shop or drinking club
New York City counts many modern day speakeasy bars, but this LES bar is one out of two that actually operated during prohibition. The Back Room’s entrance has not changed ever since. Descend a flight of stairs from the street, pass through a tunnel and step straight into the roaring twenties via the back door. To complete the experience, drinks are served in teacups.
Unique because… Throwback to prohibition time
What to order… Pinot in a teacup
#4- Please Don’t Tell | East Village
Most of New York knows about Please Don’t Tell, but that doesn’t take away the speakeasy feel. The only way to get into PDT is through a vintage phone booth inside hot dog joint Crif Dogs. Finding the entrance does not guarantee a spot; the intimate bar has no more than twenty seats. We took our chances and got in without a reservation on a weeknight.
Unique because… The secrete entrance through a phone boot
What to order… Pumpkin Ale & a hot dog
#5- Le Bain | Meatpacking District
Whether you’ll get to enjoy Le Bain’s spectacular view is entirely up to the doorman. Once you get past the douchiness, Manhattan lies at your feet. Le Bain is bustling every time of year, but summer weekends are especially popular. Grass-covered rooftop, lounge chairs, a bottle of rosé and unreal sunset views of NYC… need I say more?
Unique because… 360º view of Manhattan
What to order… Rosé all day
#6- La Biblioteca | Midtown
Time for some savings. La Biblioteca has you covered with a genius invention: reverse happy hour. Regular happy hour ends at 8 PM, reverse happy hour kicks in at 9:30 PM. La Biblioteca’s library shelves are lined with top notch tequila brands. On the happy hour menu are cocktails and wine, but also excellent food options. Five dollar salmon rolls made up my dinner at least once a week. NYC intern life, y’all.
Unique because… Reverse happy hour from 9:30 PM till close
What to order… Salmon roll with a glass of vino blanco
#7- Bathtub Gin | Chelsea
The classic ingredients for a NYC speakeasy bar? A secret entrance, perfectly crafted cocktails and dimly lit atmosphere. At Chelsea’s Bathtub Gin, this classic mix is spiced up with live burlesque shows. The copper bathtub in the middle of the room plays a central role in all of this. A pricey drink or two is all it takes to experience an evening in the most sexy bar in the city.
Unique because…Burlesque shows hidden behind a coffee bar
What to order… A classy cocktail like the Nightcap
#8- 8th Street Winecellar | Greenwich Village
The stairs to 8th Street Winecellar land you in a wine lovers’ paradise. Pop a bottle of excellent European wine for just 20 dollars during happy hour. I had all the reasons to celebrate, as one of my best friends just flew across the Atlantic Ocean to pay me a visit.
Unique because… Best happy hour under the city
What to order… A bottle of prosecco and trio of bruschettas
#9- 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar | Midtown
One would expect a huge 20th floor penthouse in New York City to come with a good view. However, 230 Fifth’s up close view of the Empire State building tops all expectations. Add palm trees and heat lamps to the equation and you’re set for a hot summer night 365 days a year.
Unique because… Rooftop oasis in the shadow of the Empire State
What to order… A tropical drink
#10- Blind Barber | East Village
This list features speakeasies accessed through vintage phone boots, back doors and coffee bars. Add to this a barber shop with a boozy back room. I guess New York City is all about optimizing space. Blind Barber combines the best of both worlds, with a secret entrance that leads up to great happy hour deals.
Unique because… Puzzled people getting an actual haircut
What to order… Winter Daiquiri