No-cover bars on New Year's Eve
Ring in 2012 on the cheap.
Tue Nov 29 2011
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
RECOMMENDED: New Year's Eve in New York guide
You can roll deep with your frugal crew at this bi-level behemoth: Berry Park is removing the tables on its ground floor to make more room for dancing. The enormous screen will be tuned to the countdown in Times Square, but if you prefer, you can ring in the new year with a $40 bottle of champagne on the heated roof deck looking out over Manhattan. Head upstairs before 10pm—closer to midnight, there's likely to be a line to get in. 4 Berry St at North 14th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-782-2829, berryparkbk.com). Check website for hours.
The laid-back cocktail joint continues its NYE tradition of throwing a masquerade bash, carting in a DJ for the evening and setting up a heated satellite bar in the garden (weather permitting). Dig into complimentary hors d'oeuvres like spiced-okra-marmalade toasts and absinthe Rice Krispie treats, and peruse the evening's special cocktail menu ($10--$12). The doors will be closed once capacity is reached, so smooth your entry process by arriving before 10pm and dressing to the theme. 588 Grand St at Lorimer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-8555, huckleberrybar.com). 4pm--4am.
Praise the genius who realized that old-school video games and craft beers make the perfect pair. At this grown-up arcade you can plunder the list of 20-plus microbrews ($6--8) while trying to beat the high score on classic quarter machines like Donkey Kong, Contra and Arkanoid. The bar has a New Year's Eve tradition of counting down through its most played songs of the year, so you might be starting 2012 to the rocking sounds of Ween, Springsteen, Iron Maiden, Rush or Ted Nugent. 388 Union Ave between Ainslie and Powers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com). 2pm--4am.
The Cobble Hill beer hall is doing business as usual on NYE, which means 20-plus taps pouring craft beers, small-batch wines and kombucha, all from New York or neighboring states. At midnight, barkeeps will tap some off-the-beaten-path fizzes like a pineapple-based hard ginger ale called Green River Ambrosia's Ginger Libation ($10), a couple of Farnum Hill hard apple ciders ($8--$10) and a lambrusco-style sparkling red vino from Red Hook Winery ($8). 61 Bergen St between Boerum Pl and Smith St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-763-6624, 61local.com). 11am--3am; cash only.
Bar Great Harry
There are no noisemakers or party hats at this no-frills ale house, but it does have 20 drafts and more than 20 bottled brews to help you get into the festive spirit. Ring in 2012 over a pitcher of a rare microbrew; the draft list changes every few days but might include Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout ($5) or a cask of Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale ($7). 280 Smith St at Sackett St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-222-1103, bargreatharry.com). 2pm--4am.
Wear your best party threads to this stylish saloon and occasional bespoke tailor shop. There's a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, but if you're sticking to the suds, order a draft beer—such as Bitburger, Smuttynose or Sixpoint Righteous Rye ($7)—funneled through an ancient sewing machine. Otherwise choose from around ten wines ($8--$11) and 20 house cocktails ($11--$15) like the popular Black Book ($11), made with bourbon, lemon, honey, jalapeo, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. 217 E 3rd St between Aves B and C (917-882-7395). 6pm--4am.
Claim a blue velvet banquette or a seat at the black granite bar and settle in for long night of tippling at this Alphabet City cocktail lounge. You can toast the new year with something off the regular drinks list ($8--12), which is split into "Classic" and "Alchemist" categories. Otherwise, dive into mixologist Greg Seider's bubbly-based holiday punch ($12). 133 Ave C between 8th and 9th Sts (no phone, thesummitbar.net). 5:30pm--4am.
The tropical theme of this Hell's Kitchen surf bar may help you forget the December chill. Don a pair of flip-flops and earn yourself a gratis trio of rhum arrang (house-infused rums). Other drink specials for the evening include a champagne-rum punch bowl for four ($35), a champagne cocktail with fruit juice and pimento dram allspice liqueur ($12), and a twist on an old-fashioned made with 23-year-old aged rum and house-made orange and caraway bitters ($12). 357 W 44th St at Ninth Ave (212-582-3200, reunionbar.com). 5:30pm--4am.
Champagne not your thing? Then pop a bottle of Deus instead ($54), a Belgian brew that goes through the same cave-maturation process as French bubbly. The sparkler isn't the only unusual tipple on offer at this Harlem brew house: There's also Chateau Chocolat chocolate wine ($8) and the Bierlini cocktail ($8), made with strawberry-flavored Frli (a Belgian fruit beer) and prosecco. Dig into food specials like grilled shrimp with arugula and shaved black truffle ($12) or fillet of beef with green-pepper sauce and foie gras ($22), each with a recommended winter-beer pairing. 2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave) between 113th and 114th Sts (212-280-0944). Noon--4am; cash only.
Hell Gate Social
Take care not to miss this sleek Astoria bar, marked only by a discrete red light. On New Year's, you can put the pocket-friendly prices to work: Wine ($8--$9), beer ($5--$7) and specialty cocktails ($7--$9) will flow until midnight, when Hell Gate breaks out the free champagne (one bottle per table). Throw back the bubbly while watching a live feed of the Times Square ball drop. If you're still standing at 3am, line your stomach with gratis grub from White Castle. 12-21 Astoria Blvd between 12th and 14th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-204-8313, hellgatesocial.com). 6pm--4am.