Cheap bars in New York
This Australian-leaning watering hole sits on the border between Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Known for its massive outdoor rooftop bar overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the bar offers an extensive cocktail menu, including frozen drinks during the summer, local brews on tap, and Aussie-inspired fare such as 'meat pies', 'lamb lollies' and 'chips.'
The rooftop is what keeps crowds coming back to this LES rock club—it’s got potted palms, a fishpond and a margarita machine. When the open-air party ends at midnight, head to the ground level to kick back on tufted couches or dance to guest and resident deejayed sets. If you're feeling more fired up, venture to the basement lounge for more raucous and rowdy live music performances.
Pool tables, plasma-screen TVs and pizza give this LGBT sports bar a sexy-athlete vibe. Nightly events in the sprawling bi-level space include sports-league gatherings, ’80s parties and jock parties.
Cubbyhole is one of the Village’s more festive and hetero-friendly gay-and-lesbian bars. Chinese paper lanterns, tissue-paper fish, holiday decorations, and bejeweled chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Barstools are upholstered with glossy vinyl bearing pictures of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. Eclectic? You bet.
No bar has a better collection of ’70s lunch boxes, and the rollicking jukebox ain’t half bad, either. This souped-up rec room offers two pool tables, skeeball, darts, pinball, arcade favorites like Big Buck Hunter, and more. The five-hour happy hour means you can rotate pitchers and pints among the 14 brews on tap. Locals are first drawn in by the clublike exterior, but stay for the chill, pool-hall atmosphere that suits both birthday bashes or a few beers between friends.
A self-described “rock and sleaze fag bar,” the Cock is just the sort of dark, sketchy dive where you can unleash your inner sexy beast. The dearth of uptown attitude (or any apparent concern for cleanliness) pulls artists, musicians, writers, fashionistos, tourists and closeted rebels, all of whom can appreciate a little dirty fun. Homeskool Mondays feature DJ extraordinaire Jon Jon Battles. Weekends get so crowded (midnight to 3am) that there’s often a cover charge. Stuff your pockets before coming here—it’s cash only.
This Skee-Ball-themed bar in Williamsburg is a haven for kitschy, nostalgia-driven boozing. The beer offerings skew cheap and cheerful, with five standard taps supplemented by 40 canned brews kept in ice-filled coolers behind the bar. Divey decor reflects the owners' commitment to the game—the bar is constructed from old "Brewskee" ball machine parts, and a TV up front plays a live feed of the action on the three ramps in the back ($1 per game) while a $4 beer-and-hot-dog combo serves as the snack of champions.
Daniel Nardicio and Alan Cumming took over the former Eastern Bloc bar in 2017 and reimagined it as a cabaret, comedy and party hub evocative of NYC's golden era of downtown nightlife. Count on Broadways singers belting out favorites by the piano, wild ’90s dance parties and stellar cabaret and comedy nights.
Upstairs in this bi-level bar, boozers chomp miniburgers and nip at microbrews like Sixpoint in the gentlemen’s-club–style anteroom (decorated with Soviet-era globes, paintings of fez-capped men, fireplaces)—before battling it out on the clay bocce courts. Downstairs, spectators are treated to a rotating roster of live talent, such as blaring bands, comedians and a monthly science night.
This salon-turned-saloon salutes bygone glamour days from the '50s to the '80s—the decor ranges from Aqua Net to helmet-style hair dryers. Nightly DJs provide a loud punk-to-funk soundtrack that makes the pretty young things shake their shags and toss back the free martini that comes with a $10 manicure. A Brooklyn branch marks the second in New York City, and the seventh in the U.S.