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Cheap party bars


Photograph: Nikola Tamindzic

The Wreck Room
The Wreck refers to car crashes (mangled fenders and accordioned license plates dress the walls), but we’d like to think it’s a subversive nod to the Bushwick hip kids belly flopping into vinyl car-seat booths and sagging their rag-doll bodies onto wobbly barstools. Between the sweet and chatty bartenders and $4 Genny-and-Beam special, sobriety doesn’t stand a chance—nor does any form of solitude.
Tip: When the DJ is late, patrons can plug their iPods into the bar stereo and cue up whatever tickles their dancerly fancy. (The night we visited, it was a twee-’n’-country party: Belle and Sebastian, Brooks and Dunn, etc.)
Average drink: $6. 940 Flushing Ave between Central and Evergreen Aves, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-418-6347).

Flight 151
This place is so Jersey (in a good way)—an aesthetic perhaps accentuated by the three Springsteen tracks played within an hour during our visit. Corporate drones cluster around four televisions, guzzling $3 drafts and planning next week’s financial rapine, while younger, more carefree drinkers flirt, guffaw and stage sing-alongs to the heartland rock. But this place wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for dorky drink specials, like Monday’s $4 “Margarita Madness” and Wednesday’s “Spin the Wheel.”
Tip: This may not sound like much of a tip, but take it from us: Don’t let the airline-style PA recording in the bathroom startle you into pissing on yourself.
Average drink: $4.50. 151 Eighth Ave between 17th and 18th Sts (212-229-1868).

4th Avenue Pub
The friendly barkeep will happily slide you a sample shot or three to help you decide among the 20-plus beers on tap at this neighborhood joint. After you make your decision (hard, considering there’s also about 35 bottled options), grab a basket of gratis popcorn and retire to a wooden booth at the back of the narrow space. You’ll be among happy boozers tapping along to the sounds of Lou Reed drifting out of the MP3 jukebox. It doesn’t sound like a raging good time, but wait until about 3am, when the patrons have had a few too many of those free shots, and the place begins to feel even narrower…and really friendly.
Tip: This week, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout goes on tap. The rich, 7 percent alcohol brew is delicious—and likely won’t last longer than seven days, so hurry your cocoa-lovin’ self over there.
Average drink: $5. 76 Fourth Ave between Bergen St and St. Marks Pl, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-643-2273).

This local favorite epitomizes what a New York bar should be: diverse and urban but with a neighborhood feel. Up front, the joint (which is well populated with anti-Bushisms on posters and stickers) serves carefully selected basics (Red Stripe, Yuengling) and two types of “bubbly” (we raised a glass to the final night of Sufjan Stevens’s opus on the BQE, presented at the nearby BAM). In the back, grab a seat (if you can) in the window alcove when you’re feeling talked out.
Tip: If you’re squeamish about someone of the opposite sex smelling you, visit the potty carefully: There are two separate toilets shared by men and women.
Average drink: $6.

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern
Not much has changed at this workingman’s bar since it opened in 1954, except now there’s a digital jukebox on the wall and the odd bearded L-rider sandwiched between toothless old men. Christmas lights and neon landscapes twinkle against orangey walls, giving this double-wide trailer of a bar a definite Roseanne Conner vibe. Whooping drowns out INXS whenever a touchdown’s scored, and one too many Big Cups ($3.50 for a gas station–sized serving of Bud) can inspire the occasional taunt or barroom shove. But overall, there’s backslapping goodwill among men who work too hard, too often, for much too little.
Tip: Unpop that collar and speak loudly when you order: To the bifocaled barkeep, “Sierra Nevada” and “Stella Artois” sound exactly the same, and if you ain’t one of her regulars, she don’t give a flip right, left or upside down if you get what you order.
Average drink: $4. 188 Bedford Ave between North 6th and 7th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-9539).

WCOU Radio
“This place could be in Montana—if everybody was smoking and gambling,” said my friend Julie, saddling up to the bar at this deliciously divey East Village haunt. The after-work crowd swarms around the long bar and five tables—often with dogs in tow—and take advantage of the rock-stocked jukebox and cheap drinkin’ (we spent more on late-night pizza than on a round of gimlets here). The corner space is perfect for talking shit about everyone else, and with these close quarters, it’s hard not to make friends with the other spectators.
Tip: Happy hour runs from 5 to 8pm and mixed drinks are only $3; you can’t get a beer for that price at most delis around here! Plus it leaves enough dough in your pocket to grab a slice at Stromboli’s, one block north at the corner of First Ave and 8th Street.
Average drink: $5115 First Ave at 7th St (212-254-4317).

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