50 best New York bars: Chinatown/Little Italy

Before Chinatown and Little Italy drew thrill-seeking chowhounds, the 'hoods were home to delightfully seedy New York bars. This one is our favorite.

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169 Bar

169 Bar

169 Bar

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The bouncers at the door aren’t window dressing—they’re serious about keeping out the rough element that characterized this hangout for much of its 80-year history. True, the venerable dive has evolved, hosting events with such partners as Triple 5 Soul (there’s an occasional cover of $5) and adding DJs who spin jungle and new wave. It hasn’t evolved too much, though: 169 remains a satisfyingly obscure place to get a beer for $3 and, until it’s time to hit the pool table, pump the music and start dancing.

  1. 169 East Broadway, (between Jefferson and Rutgers Sts), 10002
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