Bars with great light
The sunshine may even justify your hangover.
Tue Mar 22 2011
The two floors of uninterrupted glass walls make this venerable dive, bustling with day drinkers and late-night revelers, a prime (and reasonably priced) place to booze in the East Village, especially at happy hour (daily 4--8pm). Snack on bowls of gratis popcorn while sipping on a gin-and-juice "Sans-gria" cocktail ($8) or order a beer-shot combo ($5). 25 Ave A at 2nd St (212-505-2466)
Hide away in this intimate cloistered space, a tranquil, wooded haven amid Williamsburg's rowdy bar scene. A glass ceiling offers tipplers a face full of sun no matter where you're seated, and plants grow right between the polished wooden floorboards. The focus of the small-plates menu is the oysters, paired with sake, and the selection here is extensive. Try the Fisherman's Shooter special ($18): fresh oyster, uni and quail egg—all immersed in yuzu pepper and dashi —paired with a limited-edition spring draft sake. 77 North 6th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-6160, akariba.com)
Claret Wine Bar
This small but sophisticated Queens wine bar boasts two walls of windows that provide ample opportunities for people-watching. Swing by on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening between 8 and 11pm for live jazz, bluegrass and Celtic tunes performed by a rotating corral of local musicians. The international vino here hails from nearly a dozen locales, including South Africa and Austria. Kick back with a glass of montepulciano ($7) or the popular Jamesport pinot noir ($15), a light, raspberry-rich red. Or come hungry and pair your drinks with a pick-and-mix platter of European charcuterie and cheese ($12--$26) while soaking up the late-afternoon sun. 4602 Skillman Ave at 46th St, Sunnyside, Queens (718-937-7411, claretwinebar.com)
The energy level at this West Village lesbian bar is rivaled only by the hyper decor. Brightly colored trinkets—including tiny striped parasols, blond Barbie dolls and cow-spot painted model airplanes—dangle from the ceiling, so there's plenty to gawk at. Bump elbows with a mix of gay and straight patrons as you toss back draft beers and jam to snarky pop divas like Gwen Stefani and Ke$ha. The set of corner windows won't let in too much light, but what's missing in UV rays is more than made up for in spirit. 281 W 12th St at 4th St (212-243-9041, cubbyholebar.com)