Best happy hours
Brooklyn Brewery taps are ubiquitous, but bargain-hunting boozers know to head straight to the source on weekends, when the brewery dispenses its goods for $4 per pint, or $20 for six. Eight varieties are at your disposal each week, ranging from standards (Brooklyn Lager) to seasonal releases. You might even get your hands on limited-edition sips from the geekworthy Brewmaster's Reserve series (recent editions have included a stout brewed with Stumptown coffee beans and a saison packed with Japanese hops). Fair warning: Friday nights get loud and crowded, so arrive early to claim your spot at one of the giant picnic tables. 79 North 11th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-7422, brooklynbrewery.com). Fri 6--11pm, Sat noon--8pm, Sun noon--6pm.
This worn-in local offers the perfect happy-hour triple play of length, quality and price. From 3 to 8pm Monday to Friday (and 1 to 8pm on weekends), beers are served for just $3 to $5. While away the afternoon feeding the jukebox and knocking back $3 imperial pints of malty Old Speckled Hen, $7 pours of peppery Delirium Tremens or any of the other ten international brews on tap. American craft brews also get strong representation with 16 diverse options. To balance the bargain booze, nosh on Aussie meat pies ($5) and sausage rolls ($3) that the bar stocks from Tuck Shop. 211 Ave A between 13th and 14th Sts (212-260-2914).
On a strip packed with top-flight beer bars—Mission Dolores, Pacific Standard, Cherry Tree Tavern—this haunt stands out thanks to its generous happy-hour deals. On weekdays from 3 to 8pm, the pub shaves $2 off any of its 27 drafts and its cask ale (normally $6). Stock up on gratis munchies at the popcorn machine, then explore options including small-batch releases from Long Island's Greenport Harbor and San Francisco's Speakeasy Ales and Lagers. An ivy-clad patio invites hop heads to play hooky on warm days. 76 Fourth Ave between Bergen St and St. Marks Pl, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-643-2273)
You won't get any funny looks for ordering a PBR at this laid-back Park Slope pub, which caters to beer drinkers of all stripes with its happy hour. From 3 to 7pm on weekdays, the bar shaves a buck off most brews (usually $6 or $6.50). You won't have trouble finding something you like: The 24-tap lineup covers everything from Guinness to 21st Amendment's rich, Belgian-style Monk's Blood, and those PBRs go for $2 if you're feeling especially thrifty. No wonder everyone seems to be having a good time—including the dogs that carefree owners seem to leave to their own devices. When the weather warms up, the outdoor patio has hotly contested real estate. 321 Fifth Ave at 3rd St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-768-4329)
Nothing's better than a happy hour that takes care of your thirst as well as your hunger. Satisfy all your needs at this hops-forward sports bar. Monday through Friday from 4 to 8pm, the bar selects three craft labels from its 16 drafts to sell for just $3 (usually $5--$7); recent taps to get the nod have included the toasty Coney Island Lager and Speakeasy's caramel-tinged Prohibition Ale. During the same hours, soak up the pints with $5 pub-grub specials like pulled-pork sliders and gravy-and-cheese--laden disco fries. 33-08 Broadway between 33rd and 34th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-626-5393)
This Hell's Kitchen saloon beckons Port Authority refugees and office workers with one of the best beer selections north of 14th Street. While happy hour is interpreted more literally than we're used to—it runs daily from 4:20 to 5:20pm—the small boozing window offers deals on some seriously big beers. A flag-waving menu of 20 drafts and two casks leans toward brawny, high-alcohol brews from craft superstars such as Founders and Lagunitas, all of which go for just $4 (a buck off the already cheap $5 price tag). If you can make Pony a regular stop, ask a bartender for a scorecard and vie to become an "All American" by drinking and rating 100 different beers. Should you complete the task, you'll be rewarded with a free Dickies work shirt. 637 Tenth Ave at 45th St (212-586-2707, theponybar.com)
Stag's Head offers one of midtown's longest and most hops-oriented happy hours: At least half of the 16 drafts are just $4 or $5 from Monday through Friday, 11am--7pm (usually $6--$8). The patriotic taps rep cultish, far-flung outfits such as Pretty Things—a "gypsy brewer" that borrows other producers' facilities to make beer—and Colorado's Great Divide. Improve your beer IQ during free Wednesday-night tastings (6pm), when guest breweries pair their suds with themed snacks; recently Pennsylvania's Victory showed off its wares alongside Philly cheese-steak spring rolls. 252 E 51st St at Second Ave (212-888-2453, thestagsheadnyc.com)
On Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am to 4pm, the bar's stellar eight craft brews—as well as a rotating cask selection—go for $4 a pop (regularly $6--$7). The top-tier pours make a great match for gut-busting fare like the Irish breakfast sandwich (packed with sausage, bacon and black pudding) or a Pat LaFrieda--blend breakfast burger crowned with a fried egg ($9). Catch the same bargain Monday through Friday from 4 to 7pm. 30-09 34th St between 30th and 31st Aves, Astoria, Queens (718-777-2570, sweetaftonbar.com)
When the legendary dive bar closed its original Lower East Side location in 2013, regulars were devastated. Thankfully, they didn’t have to go without their Max Fish fix for too long. The bar reopened just a few blocks away in 2014, and bartenders have been slinging cheap drinks ever since. Fans will recognize a few relics—like a cigarette-shaped light and sculpture of a woman sweeping—in the decor, and Max Fish still functions as a bar-cum-art-gallery. Join the crowds at the bar, or for more privacy, rent out the basement for your party. It has its own DJ, bar and a separate entrance. On any given night, you’ll see 20-somethings grooving to electronica, a few old hats nursing beers on barstools and maybe even a few famous patrons. After all, Max Fish is known for hosting celebrities like Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop and Bob Dylan.
Venue says: “The Basement at Max Fish can be booked for private parties. It has it's own private entrance, bar, and DJ.”