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Summer Thunder at Union Pool
Photograph: Courtesy Henry Hargreaves

The best NYC happy hours that you can actually make

These bars all offer legitimate happy hour deals at times most busy New Yorkers can realistically enjoy a drink

By Alyssa Haak and Time Out contributors

Dollar-off happy hours that go until 7pm are kind of…useless. Thankfully, these bars in NYC offer real deals at times when you can actually enjoy a drink—from a Park Slope sports bar to a Greenpoint dive, drink on a budget without rushing from work.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to happy hours in NYC

Best NYC happy hours that you can actually make

169 Bar

Bars Dive bars Two Bridges

The deal: $3 beer-and-shot combos; daily noon– 7:30pm

People always lament that New York’s changing, but this Lower East Side dive has hosted drink specials for a good hundred years—and it will continue to do so long after your ass has fled city limits. The vaguely tiki interior is crowded with tables and chairs and fills up as the night goes on, which makes this afternoon deal even more appealing.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz


Bars Beer bars Long Island City

The deal: $5 beers and $6 mixed drinks; Mon–Thu 4:20pm–1am, Sun 11pm–1am

Long Island City’s expansive two-story beer temple has a dark-wood–paneled interior. Since this spot evokes the dead of night, it’s only fitting for it to offer specials that’ll keep you there until those wee hours.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz


Bars Dive bars East Village

The deal: $4 drafts and wine, $5 frozen cocktails; weekdays 4–8pm, weekends 2–8pm

You had us at “weekend happy hour,” Niagara. Although the East Village is covered in drink specials, this corner spot across from Tompkins Square Park rises above the rest with pretty-darn-cheap domestic drafts and deals on frosty margaritas. Tall windows illuminate the graffiti art, and a backlit bar lets imbibers look out on the characters of this formerly gritty ’hood.

Union Pool

Bars Lounges Williamsburg

The deal: $5 drafts, $5 well drinks, $8 wine; Mon–Fri until 9pm

The former pool-supply outlet now supplies booze to scruffy Williamsburgers, who pack the tin-walled main room’s half-moon booths and snap saucy photo-kiosk pics. Bands strum away on the adjacent stage, while a spacious courtyard is packed with wooden benches to lure chain-smokers.


Pacific Standard

Bars Beer bars Boerum Hill

The deal: $4 select pints; Mon 1pm–4am
$4 wine and microbrew cans; Tue 1pm–4am

Kick off the week on a great (read: sloppy) note at this California-inspired suds spot, which is outfitted with knickknacks from the Left Coast and arguably the best list of Golden State microbrews around. (If you’re crowd averse, know that the joint gets packed with West Coasters when games featuring Cali teams air.)

The Shanty

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

The deal: $4 select beers and $8 select cocktails; Mon 6pm–midnight, Tue–Fri 6–8pm

Thirsting for booze straight from the source? This dimly lit, exposed-brick drinkery is attached to (and offers views of) New York Distilling Co., which features huge, fully functioning copper stills that churn out inventive whiskeys, gins and ryes daily.


Soft Spot

Bars Lounges Williamsburg

The deal: Two-for-one drafts and well drinks; Tue 4pm–2am

Drinking dirt-cheap on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg doesn’t mean you have to settle on a run-down haunt. Check out this narrow slip of a bar, which has a no-nonsense clientele and a cozy back patio where you can enjoy your pints of Brooklyn Lager, Messiah Nut Brown Ale and other brews.

Photograph: Courtesy Keybar


Bars Lounges East Village

The deal: Two-for-one drinks; Tue–Sat 4–10pm, Sun, Mon 4pm–4am

This crimson-hued East Village spot is one of the only bars in the city where you can slam esoteric shots from Hungary (the owner's homeland). Need something a little sweeter? Keybar also offers a selection of signature shooters, like passionfruit and lychee shots made with real fruit. On any given Saturday night, local DJs will likely be spinning some deep house or techno. 

The Well
Photograph: Courtesy The Well

The Well

Bars Beer bars East Williamsburg

The deal: Two-for-one on select draft beers, $7 cocktails; Mon-Fri 4–8pm, Sat, Sun noon–6pm

Housed in a former brewery, this spacious hang pays tribute to its roots by focusing on small-batch suds makers such at LIC Beer Project and Other Half Brewing. Make the most of this generous special, and sip on sours, ciders and gluten-free beers among more classic IPAs and ales.

Looking for a rooftop happy hour?


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