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Fri Apr 4 2014
Photograph: Helen Sloan
Your Sundays are about to get a whole lot better: This weekend, Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its fourth season (Sundays at 9pm); the following week, Mad Men's final season, which is being split into two parts, will start up on AMC (Sundays at 10pm). But for those of us without cable—or a friend whose HBO Go password we can, uh, borrow—the return of these critically-acclaimed shows can cause TV-watching-anxiety, as we seek out a bar that doesn't suck to catch up with Danerys Targaryen or Don Draper. But fear not: We found five spots that are holding viewing parties, as well as one that'll show both series all season long. So rest easy—and don't forget to get up to speed before the seasons start. (Mad Men is new on Netflix, you know.)
Curse ye, cruel cable gods, for putting two shows that require a cable subscription back-to-back on Sunday nights. If you’re equally spellbound by Don Draper and Jamie Lannister, finding a bar that’s showing both series is a total necessity. Happily, this Gowanus watering hole fits the bill: It’ll show both series back-to-back, with Game of Thrones trivia kicking things off at 8pm. Just be sure to arrive early enough to snag a seat: the bar gets packed quickly, and you’ll want a seat in the front near the projection screen.
If you’re still traumatized by the Red Wedding, take comfort in the fact that this East Village staple will give out free Jell-O shots each time a Game of Thrones character is killed off. (Hey, getting drunk numbs the pain, right?) Screenings of the HBO series begin at 9pm every Sunday, but show up early to take advantage of happy-hour prices; and even better, if you don a blonde wig and perch stuffed dragons on your shoulders a lá Danerys Targeryn, your first drink of the night is free.
Sometimes, you don't really want costume contests or Jell-O shots; you just want to watch Tyrion Lannister be his badass self with minimal distractions. For that, head to this Williamsburg cocktail bar, which will be showing Game of Thrones all season long beginning at 9pm. But they're not completely devoid of gimmicks: plans are in the works for themed drinks and other fun surprises.
Avid Mad Men fans will recognize the Roosevelt as Don Draper's temporary pied-à-terre in season two of the series, so ape the lead character and have a classic Manhattan ($14) at the hotel's season-seven premiere party. And yes, there's a costume contest: winners will be crowned as either a "Dreamy Don Draper" or a "Magic-Making Megan." Apr 13 at 7pm; free.
Need a reminder of what happened in Mad Men's last season? (Although do you really need to know any more than "Not great, Bob!"?) Catch up on the season six finale at 9pm before the new episode drops. Throw on your sharpest suit or full-skirted frock—the best-dressed guest leaves with a bottle of the Soho winery’s signature vino. Apr 13 at 8pm; free, R.S.V.P. required.
The Cobble Hill cocktail bôite puts its own spin on the standards: try the Don Draper, a take on an Old Fashioned, or the Gin Blossom, an updated martini ($12). Don a fringed jacket (a lá Stan Rizzo) or a mod, Megan Draper-style dress for a shot at the best-dressed prize: a $50 gift certificate. Apr 13 at 8pm; free, R.S.V.P. required.