Best bars for group drinking

Raise your glasses to keg service, beer towers and more.



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  • Photograph: courtesy the Park Avenue Tavern


    The Park Avenue Tavern

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl



  • Photograph: courtesy


    Schnitzel Haus

  • Photograph: courtesy


    Shanghai Tide Restaurant

  • Photograph: courtesy Sunburnt Calf


    Sunburnt Calf

Photograph: courtesy the Park Avenue Tavern


The Park Avenue Tavern

Park Avenue Tavern
Don't be fooled by the profusion of suits at Park Avenue's newest after-work spot—getting dive-bar drunk is dangerously easy. Blow by the upstairs bar and descend to the basement, where you'll find tables equipped with self-serve beer taps that allow you to track your consumption via an LCD screen. Each station sports a spigot of the house brew (a standard American lager) alongside two other options that should please your whole squad; we recommend the table featuring Long Trail and Goose Island IPA, or the one with Captain Lawrence and Hoegaarden. To get started, beckon a staffer, who'll greenlight you for 64 ounces ($32) at a time. If all the tables are taken, console yourself with the classiest beer bucket in town: six bottles of Innis & Gunn oak-aged beer for $38. 99 Park Ave at 39th St (212-867-4484,

Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern
A truly divey holdout in a 'hood full of carefully engineered saloons, Rosemary's satisfies heavy drinkers with its rough-and-tumble signature drink: a 32-ounce Styrofoam cup sloshing with beer. Fill it with Bud or Bud Light for $4, or put on your fancy pants and order Beck's for $6. 188 Bedford Ave between North 6th and 7th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-9539)

Schnitzel Haus
When a brown-bagged forty just won't cut it, drink beer by the bootload at this convivial German brew house. Head bartender Dave Mahoney recommends filling der Stiefel (an absurdly proportioned two-liter glass) with a light lager such as Reissdorf Klsch, as a heavier beer like the Spaten Optimator can be hard to get through. All of the ten drafts cost $24 per boot, with a credit card taken as a deposit in case drunken tomfoolery extends to breaking or stealing the glassware. Do not try to smuggle the boot out in your pants—you can buy a one-liter plastic one ($10) as a memento if you'd like. 7319 Fifth Ave between 73rd and 74th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-836-5600,

Shanghai Tide
Remember what Mom taught you: Never fuck your liver on an empty stomach. In Flushing, you can get your jollies while staying nourished with the ultimate Chinese hot-pot deal ($26 per person, including tax and tip): Unlimited Budweiser to go along with all-you-can-eat shabu shabu, which you cook right at your table in a bubbling cauldron of broth. The cans keep coming for two hours (though no one seems too bothered about hurrying tables along), so order the special upon arrival and immediately get to work on building an epic tower of empties. 135-20 40th Rd at Main St, Flushing, Queens (718-661-4234)

The Sunburnt Calf
The Calf is no stranger to destructive drink deals: a raucous weekend brunch offers unlimited Foster's (or mimosas, Bloody Marys, screwdrivers or greyhounds) for $20. But if you really want to throw down, call at least a week in advance to reserve the keg of your choice from a 51-strong list of international beers, like 20 liters of Chimay Triple ($660). Along with the suds, you'll receive welcome shots and a party room equipped with an iPod dock and a pull-down HD projection screen. Tune into a game, bring a DVD or just ask for the same feed of videos shown above the main bar—a mesmerizing mix of anime, surfing, kung fu, sporting clips and "screamers" from Australian football matches (i.e., very large men kneeing each other in the head). 226 W 79th St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway (646-823-9255,

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