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Four drool-worthy NYC apartment home bars

Forget just picking up a six-pack from the corner bodega: These NYC home bars have taken their pre-game game to the next level.
Lila Barth
By Dan Q Dao |
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As the birthplace of U.S. cocktail culture, New York City proudly boasts one of the world’s finest bar scenes. But while cocktails in NYC are known to be innovative and thoughtfully crafted, they can also be pricey—upward of $16 at most of the city’s top watering holes. Enter the home bar: From a prolific restaurateur with a custom bar cart to a booze publicist with a bitters-and-amari collection housed in a refurbished 1920s voltage tester, four NYC hospitality gurus dish about their domestic setups and where they like to keep the party going elsewhere.

Michael Stillman, restaurateur, Upper East Side 

 

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Photograph: Lila Barth

As president and cofounder of the upscale restaurant group Quality Branded, Michael Stillman is very familiar with how to operate a well-oiled bar. Seeking something both functional and fashionable for his pad, Stillman tapped design-and-concept firm AvroKO. Working within the constraints of his cozy Manhattan apartment, the team designed an “anti–bar-cart bar cart” that eschews the common shelves-on-wheels look for a mobile cabinet that’s fitted with its own glass storage and a cutting area. “My mezcal and brass bar tools are the focal points of the bar,” says Stillman, a lover of agave spirits. The reason he got the hidden bar? “I have toddlers,” he jokes.

The game plan: Cocktails and cigars at Lexington Bar & Books, 1020 Lexington Ave, Upper East Side

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Photograph: Lila Barth


Ana Jovancicevic, publicist, Clinton Hill

 

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Photograph: Lila Barth

It’s no surprise that Ana Jovancicevic, a leading NYC spirits and bar publicist, keeps a first-rate selection of bottles on hand. While she has several bars in her home, Jovancicevic’s aperitivo setup—stocked with amari, bitters and highball-ready spirits—is housed within a vintage 1920s voltage tester. “I wanted this one to focus on pre-dinner drinks,” she explains. “The bar is located in our living room, on our parlor floor, so we love to hang out there before we sit down for dinner.” Jovancicevic instantly fell in love with the piece, which she found in 2011 at Restoration Hardware. “I thought it was the coolest bar I’d ever seen,” she remembers. “My collection is significant, and this seemed to be a great focal point.”

The game plan: Beer and cake at Dynaco, 1112 Bedford Ave, Bed-Stuy

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Photograph: Lila Barth


Eric Job, brand ambassador, Greenpoint

 

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Photograph: Lila Barth

Olmeca Altos Tequila brand ambassador Eric Job’s apartment was lacking a kitchen table when a new housemate, bartender Chris Bidmead, moved in. Proving himself a dream roommate, Bidmead sourced wood from upstate and built a custom bar, complete with a back bar and stools. “Chris did all the installation, while I made a chicken soup and occasionally held pieces in place,” recalls Job. Now called Leslie’s Lounge after one of the roommates’ drunk alter ego, the bar has become the heart of the home shared by Job, Bidmead and fellow bartenders Max Green and Michael Walsh.

The game plan: Mezcal and cervezas at Good Move, 167 Nassau Ave, Greenpoint

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Photograph: Lila Barth


Matt the Home Bartender, tour guide operator, Bushwick

 

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Photograph: Lila Barth

The mysterious Matt, owner of this clandestine home bar—aptly called Covert Cocktail Club—is a native Brooklynite and world traveler. “My home bar was commissioned and built for me by a very dapper Frenchman approximately three years ago,” he notes. “Two years ago, it got longer shelves, to house my increasing embarrassment of riches, and a copper bar top. Whenever I travel, I make sure to keep space in my luggage for hyper-local spirits.” With a fabulous collection of whiskey, gin and amaro, Matt opens his bar to the public (for $80, you can make reservations through his website). “Once my collection became too big to drink by myself and the wife, I decided to start inviting total strangers over and create a unique speakeasy experience for them.”

The game plan: Stay in and have cocktails at Covert Cocktail Club

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Bars

The best New York bars for winter: 40 places to escape the cold

Some New York bars are better suited for winter drinking than others. Find out where you can seek refuge from the chilly temps with good beer and cocktails. When the barometer starts dropping, you might be tempted to stay in your apartment, but you’d be missing out. There are winter activities to enjoy, shops to raid and, of course, a multitude of drinkeries waiting to welcome you. Scroll through our list of the best New York bars for cold weather, including several spots in the best NYC neighborhoods. Middle Branch Good for: chill, cocktails Mixology trailblazer Sasha Petraske expands his influence to Midtown with this spin-off of West Village boite Little Branch. Delicate lighting fixtures illuminate embossed wallpaper and exposed brick in the two-floor space, where bartenders craft cocktails with a chemist’s precision. Request a drink with your preferred spirit or flavor profile (sour, sweet, refreshing and so on) and let them work their magic, or simply make a selection from the extensive bar menu. There’s plenty to choose from, including riffs on classic quaffs such as an Island Old-Fashioned (Zacapa aged rum, Velvet Falernum, Angostura bitters, cane syrup) and signature concoctions such as the East Side (gin, lime, mint, cucumber). Tradesman Good for: groups Salvaged wood paneling and pegboard walls adorned with vintage tools give this drinkery a rustic feel. Co-owners Larissa Varges and Marek Gregorski stock their bar with locally made liquors, including Harvest Spirit’s Cornelius applejack from the Hudson Valley and COMB’s Honey gin from Westchester County. Brewhounds are well served by a dozen taps that dispense a selection of New York suds from the likes of KelSo Beer Company of Brooklyn. Claim a chair at the long oak counter or one of the small tables in the back and shake off the chill. Beer Table Good for: beer, groups Beer fiend or not, you’ll want to rely on the friendly staff to guide you and your friends through the menu of rare and obscure beers, as some choices are more accessible than others. Among those we’ve sampled, the De Dolle Dulle Teve—a foamy, honey-sweet Abbey Tripel and served from the keg—goes down easy, but the Swiss, herbaceous La Meule from Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnes could be more of a challenge to the uninitiated. The prices may seem steep at first glance, but remember: ’Tis the season to treat yourself. Huckleberry Bar Good for: cocktails, chill There’s something for every boozer at this easygoing lounge. The bar’s cocktail menu has staples like the Gold Rush (Evan Williams bourbon, lemon juice, honey) and modern takes that nod to the Kings County locale, such as the Brooklyn Sling (Brooklyn gin, Hardy VS cognac, sorrel-hibiscus liqueur, Bénédictine, fresh lime juice and simple syrup). But as the holidays approach, the most spirited night to visit is Tuesday, when the coterie holds its weekly Punch Party. Rally your crew for $5 cups of the rotating concoction and forget there’s another three days left in the workweek. The Tippler Good for: groups, cocktails Use this expansive lounge from Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay (Tippling Bros.) as a refuge from the Chelsea Market and Meatpacking District holiday crowds. Even at its most packed, there’s still a fair amount of room to maneuver, which means you won’t have too much trouble posting up at the long marble bar. The menu includes a number of affordable draft and bottled beers, plus wines from around the world, but you’d be remiss not to try at least one of the sophisticated specialty cocktails. The Booty Collins (gunpowder tea–infused Belvedere vodka, passionfruit and lemon juices, yohimbe extract, cayenne) appeals to adventurous revelers, while traditionalists might prefer the cheekily named but relatively straightforward Gin & Chronic (Plymouth gin, hops, spiced lime, tonic). The Vault at Pfaff's Good for: chill, cocktails If this spot’s former incarnation as a beer cellar was good enough for Walt Whitman, its current form—a handsome cocktail lounge—is good enough for us modern plebes. Find a seat at the century-old white-oak bar, give yourself a moment to appreciate the restored iron columns and granite ceilings from 1855, then take stock of the drink menu. Our favorite among the 25 options, which are divided into “homegrown” and “classic” beverages, is the fizzy Champagne Charles, a festive combination of dry Ayala Brut Majeur, floral June liqueur and house-made cranberry bitters. Hair of the Dog Good for: beer, groups Daily specials abound at this beercentric bar from the founders of Jake’s Dilemma, Down the Hatch and other sudsy bastions. On Monday nights, drafts are $1 and domestic pitchers are $8; on Thursdays, grab a bucket for $12. Sunday’s BYO coffee special allows anyone who brings in a cup of joe to score a half-price spike of liquor. Instead of Pabst-swilling LES regulars, the crowd skews toward sports enthusiasts who fixate on 25 flat screens and three projectors. If you’re not a Giants or Jets fan, turn your attention to the sizable roster of mostly American brews; you’ll find at least 11 on draft and about 20 by the can or bottle. You might also like 50 best New York bars Best happy hours for good beer Hit these bars for craft suds at Bud Light prices. Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn 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. Drop Off ServiceThis 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) 4th Avenue PubOn 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) The GateYou 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) Gleason'sNothing'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) Pony BarThis 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) The Stag's HeadStag'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) Sweet AftonOn 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) Washington CommonsThe party starts early and doesn't slow down during the weekday happy hour at this Prospect Heights hang. Off-duty teachers colonize the handsome U-shaped bar starting at 3pm, followed by a steady flow of tie-loosening office workers and neighborhood folks who stream in until 8pm for $2 off quaffs from the 16-tap selection (most are usually $6). Choose an Avery New World Porter from Colorado or sample something more local like Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Espresso Stout from upstate. When the weather warms up, expect the leafy outdoor patio to be packed with revelers and their furry friends. 434 Park Pl at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-3666) The Wild Goose This Irish watering hole keeps the deals going all day and night long on Mondays and Tuesdays (noon--4am). Sidle up to the long wooden bar and order any of the 46 beers on tap (normally $4--$6), including brews from California's Bear Republic and local favorite Sixpoint, for half price until last call at 3:30am. And if an early-in-the-week bender isn't in the cards, come by Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7pm for the same discount. 530 Forest Ave between Davis and Lawrence Aves, Staten Island (718-720-3800, thewildgoosepub.com) See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less The best Irish pubs Embrace the St. Patrick's Day spirit on this borough-hopping tour of the city's standout taverns. Molly's Pub and Shebeen287 Third Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts (212-889-3361)The craic: Thickly accented bartenders tend to off-the-clock Manhattanites at this rustic East Side retreat. Pastoral touches—a whitewashed facade, sawdust-covered floor and Celtic crosses—make this tavern feel like it's been transplanted from the Irish countryside.Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Regulars swear by the stew ($18), a rib-sticking combination of lamb, carrots and potatoes, paired with a pint of Murphy's Stout ($7), a creamy swig brewed in County Cork using a 150-year-old recipe. If none of the four Irish beers on tap appeal, opt for one of the dozen-plus whiskeys, including the peppery Powers Gold Label ($8). Ceol191 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-643-9911)The craic: Dublin native Loretta Heaney helms this cozy homage to the Emerald Isle, where you'll find neighborhood folk mingling with expats hankering for a sense of home. Heaney obliges: Vintage distillery signs and Irish blessings grace the walls, European football plays on four flatscreen TVs, and traditional tunes performed by live bands replace classic rock on alternating Sundays. Wednesdays are dedicated to singer/songwriter showcases (the bar's name means "music" in Gaelic).Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Wash down a traditional shepherd's pie ($13), a mix of seasonal vegetables and ground beef topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese, with one of four Irish drafts. We like Smithwick's ($6), a malty and easy-sipping red ale. The Wicked Monk8415 Fifth Ave between 84th and 85th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-921-0601)The craic: There's quite literally a piece of ire in this jolly pub—in fact, there are several: When owner Michael Dorgan heard that a church in Cork, Ireland, was being demolished, he shipped over a few pieces (the wooden pews, pulpit, confessional, statues and stained-glass windows) to incorporate into his bar. The trimmings may skew sacred, but the older neighborhood crowd here is plenty rowdy—look for the faces of abiding regulars immortalized in the mural above the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6.50Noteworthy eats and pours: The staff here takes its Guinness very seriously—if Dorgan spots incorrectly poured suds, he'll toss them down the drain without hesitation—so request a pint of the roasty stout with confidence. You can also throw back a dram of that old Irish standby, Jameson ($7). An Beal Bocht445 W 238th St between Greystone and Waldo Aves, Bronx (718-884-7127)The craic: The name is Gaelic for "the poor mouth," which is also the title of a novel by Irish writer Flann O'Brien, but that's not the only artistic influence at this congenial hang, which serves as a gathering place for Riverdale's Irish-American, art and theater communities. Posters and sketches depict literary heroes like James Joyce, and five nights a week, live bands play everything from old-world ballads to contemporary hits from U2.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Comfort foods abound on the lengthy menu, which stars bangers and mash ($10) and a classic Irish breakfast ($12) with traditional meats (Irish bacon, Irish sausage, and black and white puddings from the Butcher's Fancy in Woodlawn) and Batchelors beans. Whether or not you're breaking bread, ask for a pint of the smooth house amber ale, Lecheile ($4), brewed upstate. Veronica's Bar34-04 36th Ave between 34th and 35th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-729-9744)The craic: Owners Eddie and Veronica Devine, who hail from Counties Limerick and Fermanagh respectively, put a premium on old-fashioned hospitality, which keeps their modest spot packed with regulars. Despite the everyone-knows-everyone vibe, newcomers are warmly welcomed into the fold—especially if you're willing to belt out classic-rock tunes, warbling from a digital jukebox, with the rest of the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: No food is served, but you can still say slinte (Gaelic for "cheers") with five different types of homeland hooch: Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew and Bushmills ($6).  Sean Ogs60-02 Woodside Ave at 60th St, Woodside, Queens (718-899-3499)The craic: You're never far from a lilting laugh or brogue at this lively spot, where more than half of the staff is Ireland-born. A seat at the sleek wooden bar best positions you to hear stories from the bartenders, but it's hard to resist a table next to the stone hearth.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Hunker down with a glass of toasty, mild Paddy Old Irish whiskey ($6), distilled and bottled in County Cork, and a mixed grill (Irish sausage, black and white puddings, a pork chop and eggs any style; $14.95). See more in Restaurants + Bars See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Birthday bars Alligator LoungeIf you hanker for your college days, spend a night with beer, free pizza, a killer jukebox and Big Buck Hunter. The pizza is authentically cooked in a wood-burning oven for a deliciously crispy base, and you get a personal-sized pizza with every drink. Though with pitchers of Rheingold only $10, your stomach will soon be begging you to stop. 600 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-4440). Daily 3pm-4am. BarcadeBoasting more than 20 classic arcade machines, like Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger, Tapper and Robotron:2084, at old-school prices (just a quarter), you can finally try to beat your '80s high score, except this time you'll be contending with the effects of 25 microbrews. 388 Union Ave at Ainslie St (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 2pm--4am. Beauty BarIf you haven't got time for pampering and boozing on your big day, combine the two at this salon-turned-saloon, where a martini and a manicure cost a mere $10. (Manhattan: Mon--Fri 6--11pm; Sat, Sun 7--11pm. Brooklyn: Wed-Fri 7-11pm, Sat 9pm-midnight. Call ahead for parties of six or more.) Now that you're looking fresh, roll back the years dancing to the nightly Djs, or chuckle with a regular comedy night on Sundays at the East Village location. Beauty Bar New York: 231 E 14th St between Second and Third Aves (212-539-1389, beautybar.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 7pm--4am; Beauty Bar Brooklyn: 921 Broadway at Melrose St, Bushwick, Brooklyn (347-529-0370). Daily 6pm--4am. Blue OwlThe lights are low, the patrons well-heeled and the drinks properly stiff. Stake out one of the stylish pressed-tin tables and sip a proprietary Blue Owl—a sultry mix of Miller's gin, maraschino liqueur and fresh lemon juice. During cocktail hour between 5 and 8pm Monday through Friday, many drink selections are only $6, while early birds on Wednesdays are treated to free libations between 5 and 6pm. 196 Second Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-505-2583, blueowlnyc.com). Mon, Tue, Sun 5pm--2am; Wed--Sat 5pm--4am. Brooklyn BowlRound up your posse and put your name down for a lane. While you wait, sink into the luxe Chesterfield sofas, down Brooklyn brews like Sixpoint and chow down on Blue Ribbon's scrumptious stoner food. It won't matter if the booze has made your group rowdy by the time you bowl—no one will be able to notice over the deafening hipster-rock soundtrack. 61 Wythe Ave between North 11th and 12th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3369, brooklynbowl.com). Mon--Thu 6pm--2am, Fri 6pm--4am, Sat noon--4am, Sun noon--2am. See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Leftfield Good for: lively Despite its new-kid status, this welcoming spot has attracted enough regulars that it feels like an old standby. It’s easy to find yourself chatting up one of the Irish-brogued bartenders and nursing $3 Rolling Rocks or Natty Light for longer than you planned, especially when the temperature dips. The adjacent, admission-required space hosts indie-rock, punk and rockabilly acts three nights a week (Thu–Sat; free–$8). Another bonus: Offbeat-snack outfit Wolly Rolls serves up egg rolls stuffed with comfort-food fillings such as cheeseburger, pulled pork, Mexican grilled corn and French onion soup Wed through Sat. The Clock Bar & Cafe Good for: groups Toeing the line between rustic chic (filament lighting, repurposed wood, exposed brick) and industrial (raw concrete), this intimate bar courts drinkers with shareable fare (cured meats, panini and tapas) and a solid cocktail list. The most intriguing section of the menu showcases retro cocktails, with tipples categorized by era. A traditional White Russian dates back to 1920, while the more recent Keyser Soze nods to the 1995 film The Usual Suspects and incorporates Tawney port, dry vermouth and lemon juice into one sturdy cold-weather libation. Cocktail Bodega Good for: cocktails, groups Sometimes the only response to blustery days and a steadily dropping thermometer is total denial—which, in the cocktail world, translates to a bright, fruity drinks. Matt Levine and Michael Shah (The Eldridge, Sons of Essex) devote their corner-store homage to precisely this type of tropical refreshment. The drink menu is split into four categories—juice, shots, smoothies and make-your-own. Selections such as the Healer’s Lemonade (Effen cucumber vodka, cucumber juice, ginger lemonade, mint leaves, muddled cucumber, lemongrass) will knock you off your stool if you’re not careful, but the drink’s freshness is transporting enough to take you to warmer climes—at least in your mind. Die Koelner Bierhalle Good for: beer, groups Park Slope gets its own beer mecca with this cavernous German-inspired hall built inside a former warehouse. Rows of picnic-style wooden tables offer seating for up to 200 and ample space for imbibing Deutschland imports (30 on tap, 40 bottled) in sizes up to a liter. Browse the menu by style (e.g., kolsch, Hefeweizen, pilsner) to find brews like the toasty Innstadt Extra Schwarze or the earthy, hoppy Bayreuther Original. Pair your selection with biergarten bites, including nine kinds of bratwurst and Bavarian pretzels. Proletariat Good for: beer, chill This appropriately egalitarian suds space is staffed by barkeeps fluent in rare, new and unusual beers. Mismatched magnets behind a dozen rotating taps display a menu that changes daily; it’s recently included such obscure selections as a fruity framboise by Oud Beersel and the Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude. The Guthrie Inn Good for: cocktails In opening this spiritscentric nook, the crew behind Earl’s Beer & Cheese brings yet another buzzy drinking destination to the Upper East Side. A trio of bartenders craft both classics and house originals, deploying a wide range of Italian amari to add depth to cocktails such as the Jackson Ward (Old Grand Dad 100 Proof bourbon, Nardini amaro and Punt e Mes vermouth). Though the quarters might be tight, you shouldn’t have much trouble snagging a seat and making an evening out of sipping and snacking. When you get hungry, slip next door to Earl’s for a nouveau twist on a winter favorite: the grilled-cheese sandwich filled with New York State cheddar, pork belly, kimchi and a fried egg. Alphabet City Beer Co. Good for: beer Brew seekers can ogle 350 bottles and 12 rotating taps at this bar-retail hybrid. Get a growler for your next holiday bash, or sit at the bar with a pint or ten-ounce pour of a current offering. The friendly staff is happy to advise indecisive drinkers: A recent visit yielded Lagunitas Daytime, a fruity, sessionable IPA, and the rich, coffee-infused Founders Breakfast Stout. A wide communal table encourages kicking back, as does a selection of unfussy eats such as meat and cheese boards. You might also like 50 best New York bars Best happy hours for good beer Hit these bars for craft suds at Bud Light prices. Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn 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. Drop Off ServiceThis 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) 4th Avenue PubOn 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) The GateYou 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) Gleason'sNothing'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) Pony BarThis 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) The Stag's HeadStag'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) Sweet AftonOn 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) Washington CommonsThe party starts early and doesn't slow down during the weekday happy hour at this Prospect Heights hang. Off-duty teachers colonize the handsome U-shaped bar starting at 3pm, followed by a steady flow of tie-loosening office workers and neighborhood folks who stream in until 8pm for $2 off quaffs from the 16-tap selection (most are usually $6). Choose an Avery New World Porter from Colorado or sample something more local like Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Espresso Stout from upstate. When the weather warms up, expect the leafy outdoor patio to be packed with revelers and their furry friends. 434 Park Pl at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-3666) The Wild Goose This Irish watering hole keeps the deals going all day and night long on Mondays and Tuesdays (noon--4am). Sidle up to the long wooden bar and order any of the 46 beers on tap (normally $4--$6), including brews from California's Bear Republic and local favorite Sixpoint, for half price until last call at 3:30am. And if an early-in-the-week bender isn't in the cards, come by Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7pm for the same discount. 530 Forest Ave between Davis and Lawrence Aves, Staten Island (718-720-3800, thewildgoosepub.com) See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less The best Irish pubs Embrace the St. Patrick's Day spirit on this borough-hopping tour of the city's standout taverns. Molly's Pub and Shebeen287 Third Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts (212-889-3361)The craic: Thickly accented bartenders tend to off-the-clock Manhattanites at this rustic East Side retreat. Pastoral touches—a whitewashed facade, sawdust-covered floor and Celtic crosses—make this tavern feel like it's been transplanted from the Irish countryside.Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Regulars swear by the stew ($18), a rib-sticking combination of lamb, carrots and potatoes, paired with a pint of Murphy's Stout ($7), a creamy swig brewed in County Cork using a 150-year-old recipe. If none of the four Irish beers on tap appeal, opt for one of the dozen-plus whiskeys, including the peppery Powers Gold Label ($8). Ceol191 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-643-9911)The craic: Dublin native Loretta Heaney helms this cozy homage to the Emerald Isle, where you'll find neighborhood folk mingling with expats hankering for a sense of home. Heaney obliges: Vintage distillery signs and Irish blessings grace the walls, European football plays on four flatscreen TVs, and traditional tunes performed by live bands replace classic rock on alternating Sundays. Wednesdays are dedicated to singer/songwriter showcases (the bar's name means "music" in Gaelic).Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Wash down a traditional shepherd's pie ($13), a mix of seasonal vegetables and ground beef topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese, with one of four Irish drafts. We like Smithwick's ($6), a malty and easy-sipping red ale. The Wicked Monk8415 Fifth Ave between 84th and 85th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-921-0601)The craic: There's quite literally a piece of ire in this jolly pub—in fact, there are several: When owner Michael Dorgan heard that a church in Cork, Ireland, was being demolished, he shipped over a few pieces (the wooden pews, pulpit, confessional, statues and stained-glass windows) to incorporate into his bar. The trimmings may skew sacred, but the older neighborhood crowd here is plenty rowdy—look for the faces of abiding regulars immortalized in the mural above the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6.50Noteworthy eats and pours: The staff here takes its Guinness very seriously—if Dorgan spots incorrectly poured suds, he'll toss them down the drain without hesitation—so request a pint of the roasty stout with confidence. You can also throw back a dram of that old Irish standby, Jameson ($7). An Beal Bocht445 W 238th St between Greystone and Waldo Aves, Bronx (718-884-7127)The craic: The name is Gaelic for "the poor mouth," which is also the title of a novel by Irish writer Flann O'Brien, but that's not the only artistic influence at this congenial hang, which serves as a gathering place for Riverdale's Irish-American, art and theater communities. Posters and sketches depict literary heroes like James Joyce, and five nights a week, live bands play everything from old-world ballads to contemporary hits from U2.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Comfort foods abound on the lengthy menu, which stars bangers and mash ($10) and a classic Irish breakfast ($12) with traditional meats (Irish bacon, Irish sausage, and black and white puddings from the Butcher's Fancy in Woodlawn) and Batchelors beans. Whether or not you're breaking bread, ask for a pint of the smooth house amber ale, Lecheile ($4), brewed upstate. Veronica's Bar34-04 36th Ave between 34th and 35th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-729-9744)The craic: Owners Eddie and Veronica Devine, who hail from Counties Limerick and Fermanagh respectively, put a premium on old-fashioned hospitality, which keeps their modest spot packed with regulars. Despite the everyone-knows-everyone vibe, newcomers are warmly welcomed into the fold—especially if you're willing to belt out classic-rock tunes, warbling from a digital jukebox, with the rest of the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: No food is served, but you can still say slinte (Gaelic for "cheers") with five different types of homeland hooch: Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew and Bushmills ($6).  Sean Ogs60-02 Woodside Ave at 60th St, Woodside, Queens (718-899-3499)The craic: You're never far from a lilting laugh or brogue at this lively spot, where more than half of the staff is Ireland-born. A seat at the sleek wooden bar best positions you to hear stories from the bartenders, but it's hard to resist a table next to the stone hearth.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Hunker down with a glass of toasty, mild Paddy Old Irish whiskey ($6), distilled and bottled in County Cork, and a mixed grill (Irish sausage, black and white puddings, a pork chop and eggs any style; $14.95). See more in Restaurants + Bars See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Birthday bars Alligator LoungeIf you hanker for your college days, spend a night with beer, free pizza, a killer jukebox and Big Buck Hunter. The pizza is authentically cooked in a wood-burning oven for a deliciously crispy base, and you get a personal-sized pizza with every drink. Though with pitchers of Rheingold only $10, your stomach will soon be begging you to stop. 600 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-4440). Daily 3pm-4am. BarcadeBoasting more than 20 classic arcade machines, like Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger, Tapper and Robotron:2084, at old-school prices (just a quarter), you can finally try to beat your '80s high score, except this time you'll be contending with the effects of 25 microbrews. 388 Union Ave at Ainslie St (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 2pm--4am. Beauty BarIf you haven't got time for pampering and boozing on your big day, combine the two at this salon-turned-saloon, where a martini and a manicure cost a mere $10. (Manhattan: Mon--Fri 6--11pm; Sat, Sun 7--11pm. Brooklyn: Wed-Fri 7-11pm, Sat 9pm-midnight. Call ahead for parties of six or more.) Now that you're looking fresh, roll back the years dancing to the nightly Djs, or chuckle with a regular comedy night on Sundays at the East Village location. Beauty Bar New York: 231 E 14th St between Second and Third Aves (212-539-1389, beautybar.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 7pm--4am; Beauty Bar Brooklyn: 921 Broadway at Melrose St, Bushwick, Brooklyn (347-529-0370). Daily 6pm--4am. Blue OwlThe lights are low, the patrons well-heeled and the drinks properly stiff. Stake out one of the stylish pressed-tin tables and sip a proprietary Blue Owl—a sultry mix of Miller's gin, maraschino liqueur and fresh lemon juice. During cocktail hour between 5 and 8pm Monday through Friday, many drink selections are only $6, while early birds on Wednesdays are treated to free libations between 5 and 6pm. 196 Second Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-505-2583, blueowlnyc.com). Mon, Tue, Sun 5pm--2am; Wed--Sat 5pm--4am. Brooklyn BowlRound up your posse and put your name down for a lane. While you wait, sink into the luxe Chesterfield sofas, down Brooklyn brews like Sixpoint and chow down on Blue Ribbon's scrumptious stoner food. It won't matter if the booze has made your group rowdy by the time you bowl—no one will be able to notice over the deafening hipster-rock soundtrack. 61 Wythe Ave between North 11th and 12th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3369, brooklynbowl.com). Mon--Thu 6pm--2am, Fri 6pm--4am, Sat noon--4am, Sun noon--2am. See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less The Stand Good for: cocktails,  groups In the past, comedy venues left much to be desired in terms of food and drink, but a spate of recently opened venues—this bi-level Gramercy spot included—remedy that. Before heading downstairs to catch stand-up routines, peruse the list of signature cocktails, reasonably priced beers and wines at the upstairs bar. The Boozler combines seasonal flavors of ginger liqueur and pear puree with Ransom Old Tom gin and fresh tarragon. If hunger pangs strike, the comfort-food–inspired menu by RSVP’s Seth Levine has plenty of filling options, including cheeseburger dumplings and fish-and-chips. Randolph Beer Good for: beer Craft brews are the focus at this warm Nolita tavern, decorated with wood from a century-old Kentucky barn and other salvaged materials from across the country. Behind the bar, a custom-built draft line dispenses 48 mostly stateside beers organized by tasting notes such as “crisp & light” (Tripel Horse from New Jersey’s River Horse) and “malt & roast” (Three Philosophers Belgian–style quadrupel from upstate’s Brewery Ommegang). To offset the booze, fill up on the cheddar-brat sandwich with horseradish mustard and “corn off the cob” with cotija cheese, piquillo peppers and chili-lime. Kent Ale House Good for: beer, groups It’s only a few blocks from Bedford Avenue, but this brewhouse feels like it’s been imported from the Catskills. The spacious, exposed-brick-and-dark-wood haven offers a rotating selection of 24 drafts and 22 bottles, annotated with helpful tasting notes. On a recent visit, a server recommended the Captain Lawrence Katchkie Harvest ale, a caramelly brew made with locally grown squash instead of the season’s ubiquitous pumpkin riffs (also on offer). A menu of rib-sticking pub food—a “Kids” grilled cheese (pear, bacon, sharp cheddar), customizable burgers and hot dogs—provides all the more reason to linger. Center Bar Good for: cocktails, chill Take in the treetops of Central Park and toast the fact that you’re nice and cozy at this fourth-floor lounge. The extensive cocktail list includes mint juleps, Sazeracs and other classics, as well as signature creations like the Cliff Dweller (Inocente tequila, aperol, Cointreau, lime). If you prefer vino to spirits, take your pick from an 80-bottle-strong wine list. Refined, belly-warming bites from Chef Michael Lomonaco include arancini filled with porcini mushrooms, pecorino and prosciutto and braised Berkshire pork belly with pistachios and aged port. The Pony Bar Good for: beer, lively The sibling of the popular Hell’s Kitchen spot brings the same unpretentious vibe and quality beer uptown. The all-American brew list, featuring 20 taps, recently included a roasty Ithaca Beer Company 14th Anniversary black ale and the brightly hopped Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. The best part: Each pour (most 14oz) will only set you back $5. A menu of elevated bar food, including a fried-oyster-and-bacon sandwich and “sloppy” duck sliders, ensures you won’t have to venture into the cold in search of a proper meal. The Habitat Good for: beer Since opening in 2008, this Greenpoint watering hole has become a neighborhood favorite thanks to a serious beer list, hearty food and nightly happy-hour specials. The compact space is dressed in warm wood not unlike a ski lodge, and wide booths encourage sharing a dozen wings. The bar’s 12 drafts change frequently, highlighting stateside craft breweries (Cottrell, Dark Horse) and international imports (Spaten, Franziskaner). Select pints are just $4 during happy hour, and if you have a tough time choosing, spring for a flight of four eight-ounce pours. Jimmy’s No. 43 Good for: beer Though owner Jimmy Carbone takes his beer seriously, he cultivates a supremely egalitarian atmosphere at this intimate drinkery. Brewhounds will find plenty to please their discerning palates; we’ve sampled such obscure pours as unfiltered Franconian lagers and a Japanese brown ale brewed at the foot of Mount Fuji. Bartenders will also happily walk nonconnoisseurs through the dozen beers on tap. If you’re completely beer-averse, you can still hang and opt for one of seven wines by the glass or a pint of crisp Farnum Hill cider. You might also like 50 best New York bars Best happy hours for good beer Hit these bars for craft suds at Bud Light prices. Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn 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. Drop Off ServiceThis 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) 4th Avenue PubOn 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) The GateYou 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) Gleason'sNothing'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) Pony BarThis 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) The Stag's HeadStag'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) Sweet AftonOn 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) Washington CommonsThe party starts early and doesn't slow down during the weekday happy hour at this Prospect Heights hang. Off-duty teachers colonize the handsome U-shaped bar starting at 3pm, followed by a steady flow of tie-loosening office workers and neighborhood folks who stream in until 8pm for $2 off quaffs from the 16-tap selection (most are usually $6). Choose an Avery New World Porter from Colorado or sample something more local like Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Espresso Stout from upstate. When the weather warms up, expect the leafy outdoor patio to be packed with revelers and their furry friends. 434 Park Pl at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-3666) The Wild Goose This Irish watering hole keeps the deals going all day and night long on Mondays and Tuesdays (noon--4am). Sidle up to the long wooden bar and order any of the 46 beers on tap (normally $4--$6), including brews from California's Bear Republic and local favorite Sixpoint, for half price until last call at 3:30am. And if an early-in-the-week bender isn't in the cards, come by Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7pm for the same discount. 530 Forest Ave between Davis and Lawrence Aves, Staten Island (718-720-3800, thewildgoosepub.com) See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less The best Irish pubs Embrace the St. Patrick's Day spirit on this borough-hopping tour of the city's standout taverns. Molly's Pub and Shebeen287 Third Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts (212-889-3361)The craic: Thickly accented bartenders tend to off-the-clock Manhattanites at this rustic East Side retreat. Pastoral touches—a whitewashed facade, sawdust-covered floor and Celtic crosses—make this tavern feel like it's been transplanted from the Irish countryside.Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Regulars swear by the stew ($18), a rib-sticking combination of lamb, carrots and potatoes, paired with a pint of Murphy's Stout ($7), a creamy swig brewed in County Cork using a 150-year-old recipe. If none of the four Irish beers on tap appeal, opt for one of the dozen-plus whiskeys, including the peppery Powers Gold Label ($8). Ceol191 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-643-9911)The craic: Dublin native Loretta Heaney helms this cozy homage to the Emerald Isle, where you'll find neighborhood folk mingling with expats hankering for a sense of home. Heaney obliges: Vintage distillery signs and Irish blessings grace the walls, European football plays on four flatscreen TVs, and traditional tunes performed by live bands replace classic rock on alternating Sundays. Wednesdays are dedicated to singer/songwriter showcases (the bar's name means "music" in Gaelic).Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Wash down a traditional shepherd's pie ($13), a mix of seasonal vegetables and ground beef topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese, with one of four Irish drafts. We like Smithwick's ($6), a malty and easy-sipping red ale. The Wicked Monk8415 Fifth Ave between 84th and 85th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-921-0601)The craic: There's quite literally a piece of ire in this jolly pub—in fact, there are several: When owner Michael Dorgan heard that a church in Cork, Ireland, was being demolished, he shipped over a few pieces (the wooden pews, pulpit, confessional, statues and stained-glass windows) to incorporate into his bar. The trimmings may skew sacred, but the older neighborhood crowd here is plenty rowdy—look for the faces of abiding regulars immortalized in the mural above the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6.50Noteworthy eats and pours: The staff here takes its Guinness very seriously—if Dorgan spots incorrectly poured suds, he'll toss them down the drain without hesitation—so request a pint of the roasty stout with confidence. You can also throw back a dram of that old Irish standby, Jameson ($7). An Beal Bocht445 W 238th St between Greystone and Waldo Aves, Bronx (718-884-7127)The craic: The name is Gaelic for "the poor mouth," which is also the title of a novel by Irish writer Flann O'Brien, but that's not the only artistic influence at this congenial hang, which serves as a gathering place for Riverdale's Irish-American, art and theater communities. Posters and sketches depict literary heroes like James Joyce, and five nights a week, live bands play everything from old-world ballads to contemporary hits from U2.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Comfort foods abound on the lengthy menu, which stars bangers and mash ($10) and a classic Irish breakfast ($12) with traditional meats (Irish bacon, Irish sausage, and black and white puddings from the Butcher's Fancy in Woodlawn) and Batchelors beans. Whether or not you're breaking bread, ask for a pint of the smooth house amber ale, Lecheile ($4), brewed upstate. Veronica's Bar34-04 36th Ave between 34th and 35th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-729-9744)The craic: Owners Eddie and Veronica Devine, who hail from Counties Limerick and Fermanagh respectively, put a premium on old-fashioned hospitality, which keeps their modest spot packed with regulars. Despite the everyone-knows-everyone vibe, newcomers are warmly welcomed into the fold—especially if you're willing to belt out classic-rock tunes, warbling from a digital jukebox, with the rest of the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: No food is served, but you can still say slinte (Gaelic for "cheers") with five different types of homeland hooch: Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew and Bushmills ($6).  Sean Ogs60-02 Woodside Ave at 60th St, Woodside, Queens (718-899-3499)The craic: You're never far from a lilting laugh or brogue at this lively spot, where more than half of the staff is Ireland-born. A seat at the sleek wooden bar best positions you to hear stories from the bartenders, but it's hard to resist a table next to the stone hearth.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Hunker down with a glass of toasty, mild Paddy Old Irish whiskey ($6), distilled and bottled in County Cork, and a mixed grill (Irish sausage, black and white puddings, a pork chop and eggs any style; $14.95). See more in Restaurants + Bars See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Birthday bars Alligator LoungeIf you hanker for your college days, spend a night with beer, free pizza, a killer jukebox and Big Buck Hunter. The pizza is authentically cooked in a wood-burning oven for a deliciously crispy base, and you get a personal-sized pizza with every drink. Though with pitchers of Rheingold only $10, your stomach will soon be begging you to stop. 600 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-4440). Daily 3pm-4am. BarcadeBoasting more than 20 classic arcade machines, like Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger, Tapper and Robotron:2084, at old-school prices (just a quarter), you can finally try to beat your '80s high score, except this time you'll be contending with the effects of 25 microbrews. 388 Union Ave at Ainslie St (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 2pm--4am. Beauty BarIf you haven't got time for pampering and boozing on your big day, combine the two at this salon-turned-saloon, where a martini and a manicure cost a mere $10. (Manhattan: Mon--Fri 6--11pm; Sat, Sun 7--11pm. Brooklyn: Wed-Fri 7-11pm, Sat 9pm-midnight. Call ahead for parties of six or more.) Now that you're looking fresh, roll back the years dancing to the nightly Djs, or chuckle with a regular comedy night on Sundays at the East Village location. Beauty Bar New York: 231 E 14th St between Second and Third Aves (212-539-1389, beautybar.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 7pm--4am; Beauty Bar Brooklyn: 921 Broadway at Melrose St, Bushwick, Brooklyn (347-529-0370). Daily 6pm--4am. Blue OwlThe lights are low, the patrons well-heeled and the drinks properly stiff. Stake out one of the stylish pressed-tin tables and sip a proprietary Blue Owl—a sultry mix of Miller's gin, maraschino liqueur and fresh lemon juice. During cocktail hour between 5 and 8pm Monday through Friday, many drink selections are only $6, while early birds on Wednesdays are treated to free libations between 5 and 6pm. 196 Second Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-505-2583, blueowlnyc.com). Mon, Tue, Sun 5pm--2am; Wed--Sat 5pm--4am. Brooklyn BowlRound up your posse and put your name down for a lane. While you wait, sink into the luxe Chesterfield sofas, down Brooklyn brews like Sixpoint and chow down on Blue Ribbon's scrumptious stoner food. It won't matter if the booze has made your group rowdy by the time you bowl—no one will be able to notice over the deafening hipster-rock soundtrack. 61 Wythe Ave between North 11th and 12th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3369, brooklynbowl.com). Mon--Thu 6pm--2am, Fri 6pm--4am, Sat noon--4am, Sun noon--2am. See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Spuyten Duyvil Good for: beer, lively Another hub for beer nerds, Joe Carroll’s tiny spot typically pours just six drafts and one cask at a time so that the suds are always fresh. Bottles are another story—those number well over 100 and are primarily culled from small European breweries. You can sample old-world rarities such as the thick, sherrylike Samichlaus lager from Austria or cellar-aged Cantillon lambics of various vintages. Supplement your drinking with one of the smoked meats, pâtés, cheeses and terrines. d.b.a. Good for: beer, groups For more than a decade, this bastion of democratic drinking has straddled the line between beer geekery and the mainstream. True connoisseurs will gravitate toward the 20-deep draft selection or the encyclopedic bottle list. You can find choices from all seven Trappist breweries, plus the ultra-alcoholic Dogfish Head World Wide Stout (at 18 percent ABV, it’s one of the most potent beers on the market). Rarities such as the British cellar-aged Thomas Hardy’s Ale also punctuate the menu. • 41 First Ave between 2nd and 3rd Sts (212-475-5097) • 113 N 7th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-6006) Char No. 4 Good for: cocktails More than 150 varieties of American whiskey line the shelves of this Southern-influenced bar and restaurant, which also stocks a plethora of options from around the world. Order a neat pour of Mellow Corn or Jefferson’s Presidential 18-year bourbon, or sample the excellent cocktails that highlight the brown liquor. Among our favorites is the barrel-aged Sazerac, which combines Rittenhouse rye with sugar, bitters and absinthe. Oenophiles won’t be left wandering the cold streets of Brooklyn—there’s an ample selection of international vinos, though most are sold by the bottle. Donna Good for: beer, cocktails An instant hot spot when it opened this summer, the cheery gathering place is equal parts elegant nook and welcoming den, replete with arched ceilings, dark-wood floors and curving counters. Though you’ll find a list of affordable, globe-spanning beers and wine, the bar’s raison d’etre is cocktails. This time of year, we’re partial to the slightly spicy Scarlet Fever (ancho-chili–infused Scarlet Ibis rum, El Dorado 5 Years rum, pineapple and lime juices, and cinnamon-bark syrup). The Richardson Good for: cocktails, chill, groups Bartenders at this haunt excel in classic cocktails: The bar’s version of an old-fashioned doses an Angostura-soaked sugar cube with a pour of single-barrel bourbon, while the French 75 tops London dry gin, sugar and lemon juice with a float of effervescent sparkling wine. That’s not to say there isn’t something for those craving a more contemporary quaff; the house cocktails showcase such offbeat ingredients as plum liqueur, which stars in the Damson Gin Fizz (Damson plum gin liqueur, Plymouth gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar). Hunker down with friends in the subdued back corner for a predinner drink and share a spread of artisanal cheese and cured meat. PDT Good for: cocktails, chill Despite the rigamarole required to get in (day-of reservations are the only kind accepted, and they’re a must), mixologist Jim Meehan’s neospeakeasy remains one of the city’s coziest and least pretentious drinking destinations in the city. You can’t go wrong with any of the innovative nips on the menu, whether you order the bar’s signature old-fashioned, made with bacon-infused Four Roses bourbon, or something newer like the Vesper riff made with hops-infused vodka. Jelsomino Good for: cocktails, groups, lively Tucked below the Dream Hotel, this Moscow-based karaoke franchise promises a baller evening—and the hefty price tag to go with it. Make the most of your splurge (and fuel your Russian-music binge) by ordering one of the subterranean den’s vodkacentric cocktails, such as the Sparkling Combiere (prosecco, Russian Standard vodka, raspberry puree). If someone’s bankrolling your night, there’s also a luxe bottle-service option: Russian Standard paired with osetra caviar. Either way, the energetic MC is there to bolster your courage (wallflowers and acrophobics beware: the venue’s stage is elevated—and front and center). Bantam Good for: groups, lively Inspired by the 2006 film Marie Antoinette, the decor inside this new venture from nightlife honcho Steve Lewis channels an 18th-century French parlor, with blue brocade walls and ornate mirrors. Tufted leather banquettes ring the dimly lit space and offer ample seating, while a sparse cluster of tables leaves plenty of room for dancing (DJ sets begin after 11pm nightly). Order your beverage of choice at the illuminated, stained-glass-topped bar, then stake out a spot on the temperature-controlled patio to boogie or people-watch. You might also like 50 best New York bars Best happy hours for good beer Hit these bars for craft suds at Bud Light prices. Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn 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. Drop Off ServiceThis 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) 4th Avenue PubOn 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) The GateYou 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) Gleason'sNothing'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) Pony BarThis 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) The Stag's HeadStag'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) Sweet AftonOn 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) Washington CommonsThe party starts early and doesn't slow down during the weekday happy hour at this Prospect Heights hang. Off-duty teachers colonize the handsome U-shaped bar starting at 3pm, followed by a steady flow of tie-loosening office workers and neighborhood folks who stream in until 8pm for $2 off quaffs from the 16-tap selection (most are usually $6). Choose an Avery New World Porter from Colorado or sample something more local like Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Espresso Stout from upstate. When the weather warms up, expect the leafy outdoor patio to be packed with revelers and their furry friends. 434 Park Pl at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-3666) The Wild Goose This Irish watering hole keeps the deals going all day and night long on Mondays and Tuesdays (noon--4am). Sidle up to the long wooden bar and order any of the 46 beers on tap (normally $4--$6), including brews from California's Bear Republic and local favorite Sixpoint, for half price until last call at 3:30am. And if an early-in-the-week bender isn't in the cards, come by Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7pm for the same discount. 530 Forest Ave between Davis and Lawrence Aves, Staten Island (718-720-3800, thewildgoosepub.com) See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less The best Irish pubs Embrace the St. Patrick's Day spirit on this borough-hopping tour of the city's standout taverns. Molly's Pub and Shebeen287 Third Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts (212-889-3361)The craic: Thickly accented bartenders tend to off-the-clock Manhattanites at this rustic East Side retreat. Pastoral touches—a whitewashed facade, sawdust-covered floor and Celtic crosses—make this tavern feel like it's been transplanted from the Irish countryside.Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Regulars swear by the stew ($18), a rib-sticking combination of lamb, carrots and potatoes, paired with a pint of Murphy's Stout ($7), a creamy swig brewed in County Cork using a 150-year-old recipe. If none of the four Irish beers on tap appeal, opt for one of the dozen-plus whiskeys, including the peppery Powers Gold Label ($8). Ceol191 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-643-9911)The craic: Dublin native Loretta Heaney helms this cozy homage to the Emerald Isle, where you'll find neighborhood folk mingling with expats hankering for a sense of home. Heaney obliges: Vintage distillery signs and Irish blessings grace the walls, European football plays on four flatscreen TVs, and traditional tunes performed by live bands replace classic rock on alternating Sundays. Wednesdays are dedicated to singer/songwriter showcases (the bar's name means "music" in Gaelic).Cost of a Guinness: $7Noteworthy eats and pours: Wash down a traditional shepherd's pie ($13), a mix of seasonal vegetables and ground beef topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese, with one of four Irish drafts. We like Smithwick's ($6), a malty and easy-sipping red ale. The Wicked Monk8415 Fifth Ave between 84th and 85th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-921-0601)The craic: There's quite literally a piece of ire in this jolly pub—in fact, there are several: When owner Michael Dorgan heard that a church in Cork, Ireland, was being demolished, he shipped over a few pieces (the wooden pews, pulpit, confessional, statues and stained-glass windows) to incorporate into his bar. The trimmings may skew sacred, but the older neighborhood crowd here is plenty rowdy—look for the faces of abiding regulars immortalized in the mural above the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6.50Noteworthy eats and pours: The staff here takes its Guinness very seriously—if Dorgan spots incorrectly poured suds, he'll toss them down the drain without hesitation—so request a pint of the roasty stout with confidence. You can also throw back a dram of that old Irish standby, Jameson ($7). An Beal Bocht445 W 238th St between Greystone and Waldo Aves, Bronx (718-884-7127)The craic: The name is Gaelic for "the poor mouth," which is also the title of a novel by Irish writer Flann O'Brien, but that's not the only artistic influence at this congenial hang, which serves as a gathering place for Riverdale's Irish-American, art and theater communities. Posters and sketches depict literary heroes like James Joyce, and five nights a week, live bands play everything from old-world ballads to contemporary hits from U2.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Comfort foods abound on the lengthy menu, which stars bangers and mash ($10) and a classic Irish breakfast ($12) with traditional meats (Irish bacon, Irish sausage, and black and white puddings from the Butcher's Fancy in Woodlawn) and Batchelors beans. Whether or not you're breaking bread, ask for a pint of the smooth house amber ale, Lecheile ($4), brewed upstate. Veronica's Bar34-04 36th Ave between 34th and 35th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-729-9744)The craic: Owners Eddie and Veronica Devine, who hail from Counties Limerick and Fermanagh respectively, put a premium on old-fashioned hospitality, which keeps their modest spot packed with regulars. Despite the everyone-knows-everyone vibe, newcomers are warmly welcomed into the fold—especially if you're willing to belt out classic-rock tunes, warbling from a digital jukebox, with the rest of the bar.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: No food is served, but you can still say slinte (Gaelic for "cheers") with five different types of homeland hooch: Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew and Bushmills ($6).  Sean Ogs60-02 Woodside Ave at 60th St, Woodside, Queens (718-899-3499)The craic: You're never far from a lilting laugh or brogue at this lively spot, where more than half of the staff is Ireland-born. A seat at the sleek wooden bar best positions you to hear stories from the bartenders, but it's hard to resist a table next to the stone hearth.Cost of a Guinness: $6Noteworthy eats and pours: Hunker down with a glass of toasty, mild Paddy Old Irish whiskey ($6), distilled and bottled in County Cork, and a mixed grill (Irish sausage, black and white puddings, a pork chop and eggs any style; $14.95). See more in Restaurants + Bars See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Birthday bars Alligator LoungeIf you hanker for your college days, spend a night with beer, free pizza, a killer jukebox and Big Buck Hunter. The pizza is authentically cooked in a wood-burning oven for a deliciously crispy base, and you get a personal-sized pizza with every drink. Though with pitchers of Rheingold only $10, your stomach will soon be begging you to stop. 600 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-4440). Daily 3pm-4am. BarcadeBoasting more than 20 classic arcade machines, like Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger, Tapper and Robotron:2084, at old-school prices (just a quarter), you can finally try to beat your '80s high score, except this time you'll be contending with the effects of 25 microbrews. 388 Union Ave at Ainslie St (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 2pm--4am. Beauty BarIf you haven't got time for pampering and boozing on your big day, combine the two at this salon-turned-saloon, where a martini and a manicure cost a mere $10. (Manhattan: Mon--Fri 6--11pm; Sat, Sun 7--11pm. Brooklyn: Wed-Fri 7-11pm, Sat 9pm-midnight. Call ahead for parties of six or more.) Now that you're looking fresh, roll back the years dancing to the nightly Djs, or chuckle with a regular comedy night on Sundays at the East Village location. Beauty Bar New York: 231 E 14th St between Second and Third Aves (212-539-1389, beautybar.com). Mon--Fri 5pm--4am; Sat, Sun 7pm--4am; Beauty Bar Brooklyn: 921 Broadway at Melrose St, Bushwick, Brooklyn (347-529-0370). Daily 6pm--4am. Blue OwlThe lights are low, the patrons well-heeled and the drinks properly stiff. Stake out one of the stylish pressed-tin tables and sip a proprietary Blue Owl—a sultry mix of Miller's gin, maraschino liqueur and fresh lemon juice. During cocktail hour between 5 and 8pm Monday through Friday, many drink selections are only $6, while early birds on Wednesdays are treated to free libations between 5 and 6pm. 196 Second Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-505-2583, blueowlnyc.com). Mon, Tue, Sun 5pm--2am; Wed--Sat 5pm--4am. Brooklyn BowlRound up your posse and put your name down for a lane. While you wait, sink into the luxe Chesterfield sofas, down Brooklyn brews like Sixpoint and chow down on Blue Ribbon's scrumptious stoner food. It won't matter if the booze has made your group rowdy by the time you bowl—no one will be able to notice over the deafening hipster-rock soundtrack. 61 Wythe Ave between North 11th and 12th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3369, brooklynbowl.com). Mon--Thu 6pm--2am, Fri 6pm--4am, Sat noon--4am, Sun noon--2am. See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less The best New York bars and cocktails for winter

The Evergreen at the Wayland
Photograph: Jolie Ruben
Bars

Winter cocktails at New York bars: five seasonally flavored drinks

Flavors like cranberry and apple pop up everywhere this time of year, even in cocktails at New York bars. Here are our favorite wintry drinks around town. Everyone goes gaga for bars with fireplaces this time of year, but new seasonal cocktails provide equal reason to escape your apartment. Here are the five best winter cocktails at New York bars to aid in your winter-drinking pursuits. You might also like Affordable fall booze for Thanksgiving tippling TONY tracked down the best budget-friendly liquor to bring with you to Thanksgiving. Here are the top new releases and classics for pairing with seasonal flavors this fall. After the big turkey feast, kick back with a postprandial sipper. The five wallet-friendly bottles featured here—each option clocks in at under $40—include a brand-new bourbon and a just-released vermouth. Treat your host (and yourself) to one of these fine spirits with dessert or after Thanksgiving dinner. George Dickel Rye The estimable Tennessee bourbon producer—in operation since 1870—releases its first rye. The spicy whiskey’s 90-proof spine, bright fruit and vanilla notes, and dry finish make it perfect for Manhattans. Available in late November at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml $25. Atsby “Armadillo Cake” Vermouth In October, the new Soho small-batch spirit producer Atsby launched this modern twist on the traditional fortified wine: A base of Long Island chardonnay and apple brandy is flavored with aromatics (orange peel, cardamom, clove). It lends a wintry character to warm-weather classics like the Negroni. Available at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml $32. Laird’s 7.5 Year Apple Brandy Sixteen pounds of apples go into each bottle of this historic liquor, produced in New Jersey at America’s oldest commercial distillery, which has counted George Washington among its fans. The smooth-sipping spirit evokes apple pie and caramel, lending itself well to a postfeast dram. Available at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml $27. Quinta do Infantado 10 Year Tawny Port Distilled from old-vine grapes and aged in wooden barrels, this off-dry-style port has hints of walnut, chocolate and coffee, as well as a long finish, making it a great candidate for fireside tippling. Available at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml $33. Château Grillon Sauternes The blend of honey, candied citrus and floral notes makes this classic French dessert wine an ideal companion to pumpkin pie. Available at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml $37. You might also like Momofuku Thanksgiving croissant The best holiday pies Where to eat Thanksgiving dinner Best New American restaurants Ten great drinks for $10 or less You'll want a second round of these excellent drinks---and you'll be able to afford it. See more in Bars See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Cutting-edge cocktail trends What the most progressive barkeeps in town are toying with. Nitrous oxide infusions Mixology infusions have long required either simmering heat or long steeping to impart an ingredient's flavors into a spirit. But in 2010, madcap innovator Dave Arnold (head of the French Culinary Institute's Culinary Technology department) developed a technique that trims the process to a few short minutes. Using an iSi canister—perhaps better known for instantly whipping cream or giving teenagers a quick high—bartenders can force a flavor into a liquid with nitrous oxide pressure. The trend is still in its infancy, but a few intrepid tinkerers have found that N2O mint elixirs are fresher, sweeter and bereft of the bitter tones that other methods produce. Where to try it: At Eleven Madison Park (11 Madison Ave at 24th St; 212-889-0905, elevenmadisonpark.com), head bartender Leo Robitschek combines mint-infused Jim Beam Black bourbon with sugar for an off-menu mint julep ($15). Unlike the traditional one, this version relies on the drink's herbal flavor, rather than the aroma of the garnish. Jeremy Osslund (former bar manager at Andaz 5th Avenue) also plays with a mint infusion, using DonQ rum. He shakes the spirit with fresh lime juice and a sweetened cucumber-citrus blend for the garden-fresh East River ($12), at Apl (146 Orchard St between Rivington and Stanton Sts; 212-777-8600, aplnewyork.com). Salted cocktails Long relegated to margarita rims, salt is finally breaking out as a marquee ingredient in original quaffs. The miracle mineral tempers bitterness, balances acid and amplifies flavor. Currently, we're seeing the stuff deployed mostly in sour-based cocktails, but as the weather cools, watch for salt boosting drinks containing fat—like eggs or cream—as it does in baked goods. Where to try it: At Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave between Grand and South 1st Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-335-0446, maisonpremiere.com), Maksym Pazuniak uses sea salt to tease out the delicate flavors of vanilla, orange-flower water and orange-blossom honey so that they don't get lost among gin, lime and lemon in the Carondelet ($10). In the  East River Defense ($9), created by noted bar consultant Erick Castro at Northern Spy Food Co. (511 E 12th St between Aves A and B; 212-228-5100, northernspyfoodco.com), sea salt lends a savory character to Scrappy's grapefruit bitters, lemon juice and tangy Lustau Manzanilla sherry for an aperitif that is smoother than your average citrus-doused drink.  Cocktails on tap There's something mystical about watching a suspenders-clad bartender measure and stir, but sometimes we just want a drink, a good one, on the double. Draft libations—premixed batches dispensed from a pressurized keg—can be poured as quickly as a beer. While this efficient, consistent method won't replace bespoke cocktails, it could free up bar staffers to take on  more creative requests. Where to try it: Mayur Subbarao serves a superlative Americano ($12) on tap at Amor y Amargo (443 E 6th St between First Ave and Ave A, amoryamargo.com). Traditionally, the Italian aperitif has Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda, but he takes bottled fizz out of the equation and carbonates a water-diluted mix of the boozes in a keg. Alternative acids: vinegars and soda-fountain phosphates Citrus has long ruled the roost as the balancing acid in cocktails, but as bartenders continue to raid the kitchen pantry and revive 19th-century ingredients, a few alternatives have taken hold. New on the scene are vinegars—including varieties such as white balsamic, tomato and melon. Also on the rise are the once-forgotten soda-fountain phosphates, which deliver pure sour without any fragrance. Cocktail historian Darcy O'Neil, author of Fix the Pumps, started bottling bygone pharmacy elixirs (available by mail order) in 2010. His Lactart (a sour, aromaless acid found in yogurt, buttermilk and Lambics) and Acid Phosphate (a tart solution of calcium, magnesium and potassium) started  edging their way onto New York menus earlier this year. Where to try it: Damon Boelte, barman at Prime Meats (465 Court St at Luquer St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-254-0327, frankspm.com), has gone vinegar crazy, and since last fall has created seven recipes that rely on the liquid. We especially like his Sour Cherry Sour ($9), in which a tangy Austrian fruit vinegar, along with lemon juice, brightens bourbon and chocolaty crme de cacao. Out in Red Hook, Fort Defiance (365 Van Brunt St at Dikeman St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; 347-453-6672, fortdefiancebrooklyn.com) proprietor St. John Frizell brought the Angostura Sour ($9) north via New Orleans bartender Paul Gustings; the drink was inspired by a cocktail prescribed for hangovers in the early 1890s. Acid Phosphate perks up the frothy, garnet mixture of lemon syrup (made by muddling peel with sugar), rich Angostura rum and a full ounce of botanical Angostura bitters. And Eben Freeman, director of bar operations at Ai Fiori (400 Fifth Ave between 36th and 37th Sts; 212-613-8660, aifiorinyc.com), uses Lactart to boost the sour component of his Aperitivo (saffron-infused Beefeater gin, sweet Dolin Blanc vermouth, absinthe and Ligurian lemon soda; $14) without overdoing the citrus. Centrifuge clarification No one wants a murky cocktail. Or so goes the thinking behind clarification, the process of turning cloudy drinks clear and silky by removing the solids. One method is to add agar,which binds to the solids, and then strain the drink (typically for an hour) through a cheesecloth. Recently, however, a few bars connected to tech-forward kitchens have acquired access to centrifuges, which can cut the length of the procedure in half. The pricey equipment spins canisters at a high speed, separating out different components of a liquid by density, so that solids fall to the bottom and a translucent liquid forms at the top. Where to try it: Boundary-pushing mixologist Tona Palomino of wd~50 (50 Clinton St between Rivington and Stanton Sts; 212-477-2900, wd-50.com) uses both the clarified liquid and the residual solids for his sake-based Snow Globe ($14). He spins off the chalkiness of Kamoizumi Nigori Ginjo Summer Snow sake and the grittiness of nectar from the guavalike soursop fruit in a 4,500rpm centrifuge, turns the resulting solids into shiny little beads and adds them back into the perfectly translucent sake-juice mixture—which tastes lightly of the fermented rice spirit and has a lycheelike sweetness. Eamon Rockey, general manager at Compose (77 Worth St between Broadway and Church St ; 212-226-1444, composenyc.com), clarifies lime juice in a rotary evaporator for his barrel-aged daiquiri ($15), a smooth, floral libation that tastes sweeter and more integrated than the fresh tropical original. The off-menu drink wouldn't be nearly as pleasurable with unclarified citrus juice—its volatile solids would go rancid during the two- to three-month aging process. See more of New York's best bars Rooftop bars in NYC Best beer gardens Best Irish pubs Best fireplace bars Birthday bars Best craft-beer bars 5 great dive bars Best happy hours for good beer Ten great drinks for $10 or less Know your bartender Cocktail pioneer Dale DeGroff is fond of saying that people visit the bartender, not the bar. In that spirit, we present the men and women who make our favorite cocktail joints shine. By Jordana Rothman and Chris Schonberger The best New York bars and cocktails for winter

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Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin
Bars

Fireplaces at New York bars: seven toasty hearths to warm you

When it’s so cold outside that drinking cocktails, beer or wine isn’t enough to warm you, the fireplaces at these New York bars should do the trick. New Yorkers are a tough breed, but when the winter chill really sets in, you’re bound to see bargoers flock to a few specific NYC bars—namely, those with fireplaces. These seven New York bars are our favorites. When it’s time to depart, there are still plenty of fun things to do and eat (including essential ramen dishes and decadent hot chocolate) to help you forget that it’s freakin’ cold out there. Union Hall This cavernous, bi-level venue may not fit the textbook definition of intimate, but the flickering stone fireplace is damn cozy. Commandeer the plush couch or one of the chairs near the hearth and settle in for the night with a hot Irish Nut (Bailey’s, amaretto coffee; $10). Black Mountain Wine House On weekends when escaping the city isn’t a viable option, head to this cabinlike space for a rustic retreat. Your objective: Snag a seat around the wood-burning brick hearth. Though the wine list offers a wide variety of options, sip the mulled vino ($8) to eradicate any chill left in your bones. Black Rabbit Bar Hightail it to the back of this long, narrow space to secure your spot by the gas fireplace. If the hearthside benches are already filled, you’ll still feel the festive spirit as you sit in a carved-wood booth beneath strings of colorful, twinkling lights. Wash down the traditional German bratwurst sandwich ($6.50) with a whiskey-laden hot toddy ($8), which riffs on the recipe from an erstwhile bartender’s Scottish granny. Alewife NYC The white-brick mantel gives the gas-fueled fireplace at this two-story beer bar a homey feel, even when the place is packed. Brewhounds can hunker down with one of the 100-plus international beers by the bottle or one of 28 on tap, but we recommend going with one of the hot punches (often mulled wine or spiked cider), served in a teakettle and ideal for sharing with a friend or romantic flame ($18). Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel You’ll have to battle the hotel’s out-of-town guests to score a seat in the Art Deco–inspired environs, but it’s well worth it if you can secure one of the overstuffed couches or chairs by the gas furnace. Arrive early, pretend like you own the place and enjoy a stiff Negroni ($14), crafted with Bulldog gin, Antica Formula and Campari. Le Barricou As pleasant as it is to dine in the front room of this bistro and nosh on coq au vin, the best seats in the house are hidden in the cozy back room, where you’ll find lounge furniture and a vintage cast-iron stove. Warm up by the wood-burning device and mull the affordable, all-French wine list; nine selections are offered by the glass, 60 by the bottle. We’re partial to the Cahors malbec (glass $11, carafe $32, bottle $44), a spicy, medium-bodied red with hints of cranberry. Lantern's Keep Ease into a seat near the gas-powered, black-laquered hearth and scan the list of tipples, including the frothy New York Harvest (bourbon, applejack, lemon, egg white, red wine; $15). The bar often has limited hours and can be rented out for private parties; be sure to call ahead and make a reservation so you’re not left out in the tourist-ridden streets of Midtown. You might also like 101 things to do in New York City in the winter Mark your calendar for classic holiday events, warming treats, cultural highlights and more! 1. Get out of the cold and into an indoor parkPark Here, the enclosed green space that opened in Soho's Openhouse Gallery in early 2011, returns this winter. In addition to games such as badminton and Jenga, the space features cool events like a Nerd Nite trivia competition (Feb 2) and film screenings—check out the critically-acclaimed documentary Senna on January 25. Food vendors, including Hong Kong Street Cart and Robicelli's, will also sell goodies on-site. Of course, you could also just relax in one of three hammocks while soaking up rays from special SAD therapy lamps and dreaming of less frigid weather. Openhouse Gallery, 201 Mulberry St between Kenmare and Spring Sts (212-334-0288, openhousegallery.org). Free. Dec 5--Feb 15. Closed Dec 7, 8, Jan 1, 2, 3. 2. Catch Stephen Merchant's Hello Ladies... tourThe cocreator of The Office and Extras that's not named Ricky Gervais performs his first stand-up gigs in the States in December. Merchant plays the perfect straight man and comic counterpart to the ever-manic Gervais in the aforementioned sitcoms and on the entertaining-as-hell podcast The Ricky Gervais Show (rickygervais.com)—and we can't wait to witness his intelligent, shy-guy wit in person. The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St between Sixth Ave and Broadway (800-745-3000, livenation.com). Dec 20, 21 at 8pm; $29--$49. 3. Learn about Brooklyn's history at BLDG 92In November, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation opened a new visitors' center at the former shipbuilding complex, offering information on the facility and its connection to the surrounding neighborhoods. Plan an afternoon trip to check out its inaugural exhibits: "Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future" examines the historical significance and future plans for the space, while "War Photojournalists" showcases the work of photographers such as Joo Silva, Lynsey Addario and the late Tim Hetherington. Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave between Carlton Ave and Adelphi St, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (bldg92.org). Wed--Sun noon--6pm; free. 4. Sing your heart out at the XMAS Pop Sing-AlongIf you're planning on hitting SantaCon on December 10, pregame at this celebration of cheesy and classic Christmas music, hosted by pop-culture-party throwers Secret Formula. All pop holiday tunes are fair game, and once you've sipped enough glasses of eggnog ($7), you'll be chanting along to "All I Want for Christmas Is You" with the festive-sweater--wearing dude next to you. Union Hall, 702 Union St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-638-4400, unionhallny.com). Dec 9 at 10pm; $8. 5. Carouse with hundreds of drunken SantasAh, SantaCon: It's the one magical day each year when it's perfectly acceptable to don an elf costume, get far too drunk and make friends with hundreds of New Yorkers doing the same thing. Details won't be released until December 9, but we can guarantee that the concept is the same as in years past: Dress up like St. Nick (or another holiday icon—the goofier your outfit is, the better), imbibe many adult beverages, take photos with someone in a slutty Rudolph costume, and try not to throw up all over your fake beard. Dec 10; location and time TBA; visit nycsantacon.com on Dec 9 for more information. Free. 6. Discover ancient treasures in the Met's new Islamic wingFifteen of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's galleries were recently renovated and reopened as a suite, called New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. Pieces on view include a 16th-century Persian carpet owned by a Habsburg emperor and several illustrations compiled for the Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, among other rare items. Learn more by checking out the five items you must see at the new galleries, as chosen by curator Navina Najat Hadar. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue--Thu 9:30am--5:30pm, Fri--Sat 9:30am--9pm; Sun 9:30am--5:30pm. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free. 7. Spend a weekend with celebsFor its 11th annual Arts & Leisure Weekend, the New York Times has assembled a solid lineup of boldface names: The cast of the CBS hit The Good Wife, style icon Simon Doonan, bluegrass siren Alison Krauss and comedian David Cross are among the celebs who will chat with NYT journos during the festival. The Times Center, 242 W 41st St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (artsandleisureweekend.com). Times vary; $30. Jan 5--8. 8. Play video games at Community 54Those still mourning the loss of Chinatown Fair Video Arcade should head to this hybrid gallery, streetwear shop and video arcade. The shop opened on November 1, and it offers gamers a rotating selection of ten old-school cabinets (including Millipede and Pac-Man). While you're there, shop for cold-weather gear, such as a Mitchell & Ness Yankees league champions jacket ($200). Community 54, 54 Clinton St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-673-7060, community54.com) 9. See Kevin Spacey take the stage in BrooklynAs part of BAM's ongoing 150th-anniversary celebration, the cultural center welcomes cinematic (and theatrical) heavyweights Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes to its Fort Greene digs. The Oscar winners take on Shakespeare's Richard III, with Mendes directing and Spacey starring as the play's titular lead. These tickets will sell out quickly, so be sure to nab yours ASAP. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St between Ashland and Rockwell Pls, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, bam.org). Jan 10--Mar 1; $24—$130. 10. Jam out to PhishWith the world's biggest jam band hitting town for its annual run of New Year's Eve shows, expect a host of Phans and neohippies to take over MSG and its surrounding area for a few days. These gigs are typically epic—even if you're not a Phish-head, the shows are worth checking out for the spectacle alone. For example, to welcome in 2011 at the Garden, a barrage of balloons and confetti fell onto the audience as the band led a giant sing along to "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Dec 28--30 at 7:30pm; $60. Dec 31 at 8pm; $70. 11. See a different kind of Radio City extravaganzaThe voice of singer Antony sounds radiant with the barest accompaniment, which is why his upcoming show Swanlights, with a 60-piece orchestra, should be even more of an aural treat. The onetime performance will draw from Antony's four-album oeuvre and feature arrangements by composers Nico Muhly, Rob Moose and frequent Antony collaborator Maxim Moston. The visuals, which were commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, should be equally impressive. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (212-247-4777, radiocity.com). Jan 26 at 8pm; $35--$70. 12. Reconnect with your inner kid at the New MuseumIn 2010, Marina Abramovic's exhibit "The Artist Is Present" cemented the concept of fine art as an interactive public attraction. German artist Carsten Hller's wide-ranging show at the New Museum has some of that same energy: Visitors can hurtle down a slide that runs from the institution's fourth to second floors, or float inside a water-filled "sensory-deprivation" tank. The artistic value may be diminished by these gimmicks—Art critic Howard Halle says that the show is "stocked with come-ons"—but there's still something perversely fun about winding along a playground staple in an art museum. Be prepared to wait—the queue is regularly an hour or more. The New Museum, 235 Bowery at Prince St (212-219-1222, newmuseum.org). Wed, Fri--Sun 11am--6pm; Thu 11am--9pm. $16, seniors $14, students $12, children under 18 free. Through Jan 15, slide open through Jan 22. 13. Listen to cheerful (and not-so-cheerful) holiday stories NYC's storytelling powerhouse the Moth takes over the historic Players Club for a night of tales titled "Home for the Holidays: Stories of Family Gatherings and Ungatherings." Hosted by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, the evening promises riffs on the pleasures and horrors of reuniting with the fam during the holidays, courtesy of Shalom Auslander (This American Life), authors Bruce Feiler and Marie Walsh, and other notable scribes. The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South between Park Ave South and Irving Pl (212-475-6116, theplayersnyc.org). Dec 8 at 7:30pm, doors at 6:30pm; $40. 14. Take a visit to Bedford FallsDuring the long, cold winter nights, no film raises our spirits quite like Frank Capra's 1946 classic It's a Wonderful Life. George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, sets a high standard for honest bankers everywhere, and the "Pottersville" scenario practically prefigures the entire plot of Back to the Future Part II. It'll be on television more times than you can count in December, but this is one movie that needs to be seen writ large on the big screen. IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave at 3rd St (212-924-7771, ifccenter.com). Wed 21--Tue 27; times vary. $13, children and seniors $9, members $8.    15. Warm up with a hot night at the Winter Jazz Festival Now in its eighth annual iteration, this multivenue affair pulls some of the top horn-blowers and ivory-ticklers from the city's vibrant jazz scene. Pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Bill Laswell and guitarist Marc Ribot will be among the established names performing, but also look out for sets by hungry up-and-comers. The fest's home base is Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St at Thompson St), and its reach will expand to five other venues along Bleecker Street. Be prepared to move from spot to spot: The all-access ticketing—which gets you into any of each night's venues, capacity pending—encourages sampling. Locations and times vary; visit winterjazzfest.com for details. Jan 6, 7; $35, two-day pass $45. 16. Pet the potential Best in Show See pampered pooches strut their stuff during the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The cuteness-packed convention and contest will anoint the top dogs in dozens of categories, but only one can take home the grand prize—last year, a Scottish deerhound named Hickory was named Best in Show. To see how closely life mimics a Christopher Guest film, go behind the scenes to the benching area, where owners primp their canine friends. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave) between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Feb 13, 14; $25--$140. 17. Old ideas beget a new work at the Metropolitan OperaThe Enchanted Island is an ambitious project even by the artistic institution's grand standards. For the work, British multihyphenate Jeremy Sams combined lyrics from Shakespearean comedies and music by 17th-century masters. William Christie—founder of Baroque supergroup Les Arts Florissants—leads an operagoer's dream cast, including David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Plcido Domingo, Danielle de Niese and the rising countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center Plaza at 65th St (212-362-6000, metoperafamily.org). Times vary; $25--$415. Dec 31--Jan 30. 18. Check out Streb's acrobatics at the ArmoryThe massive Park Avenue Armory is one of New York City's most breathtaking venues. For one week in December, it'll be the setting for "Kiss the Air!," a program of acrobatic performances by Brooklyn's Streb Extreme Action. Using techniques inspired by action-film stunts and the circus, the company stages a site-specific show that utilizes the Armory's unique spatial potential. Expect more than a few gasps as dancers fly though the air. 643 Park Ave between 66th and 67th Sts (212-616-3930, armoryonpark.org). Dec 14--16, 20, 22 at 7pm; Dec 17, 21 at 2, 7pm; Dec 18 at 3pm. $35, children under 12 $25. 19. Search for vintage treasures at the Brooklyn FleaThe view of Manhattan from the flea's summer location in Williamsburg is nice, but we prefer the vaulted Art Deco glory of the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank (and the thick doors of the safe leading to the food hall in the basement) in Fort Greene. Although the Flea's holiday market won't be returning this year, you'll still find plenty of unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Pick through vintage duds, funky jewelry, quirky furnishings and more handmade fare from a variety of local vendors. To find out who will be selling there each weekend, check Brooklyn Flea's site the Friday before doors open. Skylight at One Hanson, 1 Hanson Pl at Ashland Pl, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (brooklynflea.com). Sat, Sun 10am--5pm; through Apr 1.20. Get a hot shaveBros, winter can be rough on that beautiful mug of yours. Help revitalize your face and indulge in some retro-cool pampering by settling in for a hot shave at the tiny East Village storefront Barbiere NYC. We suggest opting for the Classica ($30), which includes a hot-towel treatment, a shave using lather that's made in the shop, and—best of all—a beer or a shot of Jameson. Barbiere NYC, 246 E 5th St between Second Ave and Cooper Sq (646-649-2640, barbierenyc.com) 21. Celebrate Hanukkah with eight nights of Yo La TengoIn what's become an annual tradition, the Hoboken indie-rock trio takes to its neighborhood venue for eight nights, coinciding with the Festival of Lights. Seeing the venerable group play through its extensive back catalog (as well as the occasional cover) is reason enough to attend. But you'll also see a bevy of awesome surprise guests: Last year's visitors included M. Ward, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, the National and comics Marc Maron and Jim Gaffigan. If you missed getting tickets, don't fret—reasonably priced stubs should appear on Craigslist near the date of the show. Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St at 11th St, Hoboken, NJ (201-653-1703, maxwellsnj.com). Dec 20--27 8:30pm; sold out. 22. Cheer on the Rangers at a renovated arenaTo keep its reputation as one of the world's greatest arenas, Madison Square Garden is undergoing a massive overhaul over three consecutive summers. Phase one, which revamped the lower bowl, has already ushered in several new food options, courtesy of celebrity chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who created an Asian-influenced Simply Chicken stand, and Andrew Carmellini of the Dutch, who developed the Sausage Boss counter. (Phases two and three, which will address the arena's upper levels, will happen over the next year.) See the work in progress at a New York Rangers game. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave) between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Schedule varies; visit website for details. $39--$1,200; through Apr 7. 23. A modern master gets a birthday blowout Philip Glass's 75th birthday provides the impetus for the Park Avenue Armory's second Tune-In festival. Over four days, the composer, his influences, collaborators and disciples will stage performances in the imposing Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Glass himself will perform with Patti Smith, and producer Hal Willner will collaborate with artist Ralph Steadman and guitarist Bill Frisell to augment a reading of Allen Ginsberg's influential poem Kaddish. 643 Park Ave between 66th and 67th Sts (212-933-5812, armoryonpark.org). Times vary; $15--$50. Feb 23--26. 24. Take a twirl on an ice-skating rink'Tis the season to strap on a pair of skates and do your best Johnny Weir impersonation. Fantastic views can be found at the Trump Wollman Rink (Central Park, enter at W 59th St and Sixth Ave; 212-439-6900, wollmanskatingrink.com; Mon, Tue 10am--2:30pm; Wed, Thu 10am--10pm; Fri, Sat 10am--11pm; Sun 10am--9pm; $16--$16.75, seniors $4.75--$8.25, children 11 and under $5.75--$6; skate rental $6.75), although there won't be room for speed skating or fancy tricks. For a little more breathing room, head to Citi Pond at Bryant Park (Sixth Ave between 40th and 42nd Sts; 212-661-6640, citipondatbryantpark.com; Mon--Thu, Sun 8am--10pm; Fri, Sat 8am--midnight; free; skate rental $14). The massive rink is open late; we suggest going during off-hours if you want to practice your triple lutzes in relative peace. Check out our guide to the city's rinks for more skating spots. 25. Sip a seasonal cocktailThe flavors found in holiday feasts inform some of our favorite seasonal drinks. The A La Mode ($11) at Dutch Kills (27-24 Jackson Ave at Dutch Kills St, Long Island City, Queens; 718-383-2724), for example, mixes hot cider with Elijah Craig bourbon and vanilla-scented Spanish liqueur Licor 43; the drink is topped off with whipped cream from a local dairy and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Or try the Port of Call ($12) at Clover Club (210 Smith St between Baltic and Butler Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-855-7939), which combines fresh cranberry preserves, house-made cinnamon-bark syrup, Gordon's Gin and Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters. 26. Find out how order came to New York City's streetsThanks to the numbered grid that defines the layout of Manhattan's avenues and streets, it's nearly impossible to get lost in the borough (assuming you're not trying to navigate the labyrinth that is the West Village). Learn about the Commissioner's Plan of 1811, which established the pattern, in "The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811--2011," a new exhibit opening at the Museum of the City of New York. Rare artifacts and documents—including a hand-drawn map of the Commissioner's Plan—illustrate how the grid came to be. 1220 Fifth Ave between 103rd and 104th Sts (212-534-1672, mcny.org). Daily 10am--6pm; suggested admission $10, seniors and students $6, children under 12 and members free. Dec 6--Apr 15. 27. Catch Jeff Mangum at BAM After releasing two fantastic records with his band Neutral Milk Hotel in the late '90s, On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, songwriter Jeff Mangum slipped into obscurity. Now, well over a decade later, the frontman has resurfaced curating this year's All Tomorrow's Parties festival, making an appearance at Occupy Wall Street and playing a handful of solo shows. If either of those aforementioned records means anything to you (and even if they don't), don't miss this three-night run in Brooklyn from the reclusive artist. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, bam.org). Jan 19--21 8pm. $35. 28. Dress up like Aladdin Sane for Bowieball 2011Smear yourself with glitter and don a bright red mullet at this annual extravaganza devoted to glam-rock god David Bowie. The show features performances by Amber Martin and Bridget Everett, Michael Cavadias, Lady Rizo and LeRoi the Girl Boy, who will pay tribute to Bowie with music, burlesque and dance. DJ Jake B will spin his custom Bowie mash-ups, and after getting a gratis hair-and-makeup makeover, enter the costume contest to win gift certificates and other prizes. Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St at Thompson St (212-505-3478, lepoissonrouge.com). Dec 17 11pm--4am; $20, advance $15, after 12:30am $25. 29. Reclaim the city's tourist-filled venuesInstead of griping about how much you hate dealing with the crowds during the holidays, embrace that little part of you that loves quintessential New York City venues—don't pretend like it doesn't exist—and revisit some of the city's iconic spots. Plus, you can impress your friends with little-known facts about each place; for example, were you aware that you can visit a plush, Art Deco apartment within Radio City Music Hall (1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St; 212-247-4777, radiocity.com)? Or that a secret track exists in Grand Central Terminal (44th St between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves; 212-340-2583, grandcentralterminal.com)? We bet these touristy spots don't seem so boring now. For more hidden details of iconic city venues, check out our recent feature devoted to the secrets of classic New York. 30. Bundle up and learn about the NYC's historyBig Onion Walking Tours launched two new excursions in October. "Satan's Seat: New York During Prohibition" (meet at the northeast corner of Bowery and E Houston St) was created as a companion to Ken Burns's recent PBS documentary, Prohibition, and focuses on the history and culture of the city during the Roaring '20s. Across the river, the Historic Brooklyn Heights tour (meet on the stairs at Brooklyn Borough Hall facing Cadman Plaza) takes trekkers through the Kings County neighborhood, while offering tidbits on its famous residents and landmarks, such as the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, which may have been used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Times vary; for more information, visit bigonion.com. $15--$18. 31. Appreciate art that comes from tragedyThe 92nd Street Y's upcoming program "Will to Create, the Will to Live: The Culture of TerezIn," examines how a group of Jewish internees at a German concentration camp produced music, sketches, plays, literature and opera in spite of their dire situation. The organization will mount a series of concerts, talks, gallery shows and readings that examine the history and legacy of the Terezin. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts (212-415-5500, 92y.org). Times and prices vary; Jan 11--Feb 16. 32. See a master of disguise at MoMAArtist Cindy Sherman is best known for transforming herself in her work—using a variety of costumes, Sherman has turned into clowns, historic figures and wealthy socialites. In February, the Museum of Modern Art mounts a retrospective of her work from the '70s onward, including a series of photos she created in 2010 that will be shown in the U.S. for the first time. 11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-708-9400, moma.org). Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun 10:30am--5:30pm; Fri 10:30am--8pm. $25, seniors $18, students $14, children under 16 free. Fri 4--8pm free. Feb 26--June 11. 33. Wrock out with devoted Potterheads in BrooklynDon your finest dress robes and pretend like you're at Hogwarts during the Harry Potter Yule Ball, a celebration of the Boy Who Lived. Catch live sets from wizard-rockers such as Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys (which will play its second-to-last show) and Potter Puppet Pals. If you're hungrier than Ron Weasley after a trip on the Hogwarts Express, visit the on-site food cart, which will sell Golden Snitchwitches. The concoction—a peanut-butter and Golden Graham sandwich—can be shaped into a Quidditch Snitch, which eager participants can try to catch in their mouths. The Bell House, 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (718-643-6510, thebellhouseny.com). Dec 17 at 5pm; $18. 34. Peep department-store holiday displaysSpend an afternoon strolling along Fifth Avenue to take a look at the extravagant ground-floor scenes. Start at Macy's (151 W 34th St at Broadway; 212-695-4400, macys.com) and work your way north to Lord & Taylor (424 Fifth Ave between 38th and 39th Sts; 212-391-3344, lordandtaylor.com). Continue on to Bergdorf Goodman's "Carnival of the Animals"--themed windows (754 Fifth Ave between 57th and 58th Sts; 212-753-7300, bergdorfgoodman.com) and the New York--centric windows at Bloomingdale's (1000 Third Ave at 59th St; 212-705-2000, bloomingdales.com), before wrapping up at Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave between 60th and 61st Sts; 212-826-8900, barneys.com), which gave Lady Gaga free rein over this year's displays. If it's too cold to walk, start your trek at the southern end of Central Park and hop on the M2, M3 or M5 going downtown on Fifth Avenue—you'll see nearly as many displays without freezing your butt off. For a preview, take a look at our guide to this year's holiday windows. 35. Go sleddingFlying saucers slide even faster than you remember, so as soon as it starts to snow, go sledding! Some of our favorite spots: Central Park's famous Pilgrim Hill (near 72nd St and Fifth Ave), Riverside Park's Hippo Playground (91st St at Riverside Dr) and Clove Lakes Park (Clove Rd at Victory Blvd, Staten Island), where rangers have been known to organize races. For more info, go to nyc.gov/parks. 36. Ring in the New Year with a New York legendIt's been 14 years since Patti Smith played her first New Year's Eve concert at the Bowery Ballroom, creating a holiday tradition that continues this year with a three-night run of shows. The iconic artist is joined by her band, and you can expect surprise guests (Michael Stipe showed up during one of last year's shows). Tickets for all three dates are sold out, but we're sure you can find a way to get your hands on a pair. 6 Delancey St between Bowery and Chrystie St (212-533-2111, boweryballroom.com). Dec 29--31 at 9pm; sold out. 37. Watch the Rockettes do high kicks at Radio CityThe 79-year-old Radio City Christmas Spectacular underwent a makeover this year, with six new scenes—including a brand-new Rockettes number—added to the show. But old favorites, such as "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," remain, and are as delightfully cheesy and awe-inspiring to watch as ever. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (866-858-0007, radiocitychristmas.com). Times vary; $45--$250. Through Jan 2. 38. Hear singers and songwriters interpret the American SongbookLincoln Center's monthlong concert series welcomes performers from all genres, including Broadway bums and indie-rock mainstays. The former include British musical-theater queen Elaine Paige (Feb 10 at 8:30pm) and In the Heights composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (Jan 11 at 8:30pm), while the latter brings an acoustic set from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore (Feb 2 at 8:30pm) and a set from experimentalist Merrill Garbus, better known as Tune-Yards (Feb 9 at 8:30pm). The Allen Room (at Frederick P. Rose Hall), 33 W 60th St at Broadway (212-721-6500, americansongbook.org). Times vary; $35--$95. Jan 11--Feb 11. 39. Spend the longest night of the year at the Winter Solstice ConcertMusician Paul Winter has hosted this celebration of the seasonal change for more than three decades. Winter will be joined by gospel singer Theresa Thomason, the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and African mbira (a thumb piano) player Chris Berry. The concert also boasts the world's largest gong (the massive instrument measures 80 inches in diameter), which ascends 12 stories to the vault of the cathedral and is played at the end of the first half of the concert. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave at 112th St (866-811-4111, solsticeconcert.com). Dec 15, 16 at 8pm; Dec 17 at 2, 7:30pm; $35--$80. 40. Kick some tochis at Major League Dreidel's annual competitionReigning champion Juspin Bieber will defend his title (if not his name—it's indefensible) against 123 challenger during Major League Dreidel's 2011 tournament. Competitors will battle it out in the Spinagogue to determine who is the greatest dreidel-spinner in the land. (To participate, sign up at nogeltnoglory.com.) The festivities begin with a practice session for newbies, and continue with a Hanukkah-themed performance by metal band Gods of Fire (sample song: "Spin for the Blood of Our Elders") before the tourney takes place. Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-529-6696, knittingfactory.com). Dec 17 at 6:30pm; $15, advance $10. 41. See George Balanchine's choreography in The Nutcracker...New York City Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic remains a perennial favorite. In addition to Balanchine's iconic choreography, the spectacle includes a nine-foot-wide Mother Ginger costume, a one-ton Christmas tree and a faux snowstorm at the end of Act I. But if you can't make it to Lincoln Center, the production will also be broadcast in movie theaters on December 13 (schedule varies; visit fathomevents.com for more details) as well as PBS on December 14. David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 63rd St (212-496-0600, nycballet.com). Times vary; $29--$225. Through Dec 31. 42. ...or catch a new version of The Nutcracker in BrooklynAlexei Ratmansky's acclaimed production of the ballet returns after a triumphant debut last winter. The cast rotates every day: Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes headline opening night as Clara and the Nutcracker, while ABT performers Hee Seo, Sarah Lane, Eric Tamm and Joseph Gorak, among others, take on those roles later in the production. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, abt.org). Times vary; $15--$90. Dec 14--31. 43. Learn about New York's history at the Winter Antiques ShowIn addition to the usual vendors selling fancy-pants wares, the 58th edition of this annual exposition features a special loan exhibition, "Celebrating Historic Hudson Valley at 60: Rockefeller Patronage in Sleepy Hollow Country," which displays items culled from the collections of five Hudson Valley historic houses. The show includes artwork from Sunnyside, the home of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" author Washington Irving. Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave between 66th and 67th Sts (718-292-7392, winterantiquesshow.com). Mon--Wed, Fri, Sat noon--8pm; Sun, Thu noon--6pm. $20. Jan 20--29. 44. Dine out for less during Restaurant WeekFind affordable prix-fixe deals at some of NYC's high-end eateries during this annual food extravaganza. Participating eateries include EN Japanese Brasserie, Hill Country Barbecue, and new entrants like Boulud Sud and Marble Lane. You can make reservations now, but be sure to book soon—spots tend to go fast. Locations vary; visit nycgo.com/restaurantweek for details. Jan 16--Feb 10; three-course prix-fixe lunch $24.07, prix-fixe dinner $35. 45. Watch the tree lighting at Brooklyn Borough HallIf the crowds at Rockefeller Center make you twitchy, here's another chance to see a massive conifer lit for the holiday season: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will flip the switch to light a 40-foot-tall Balsam fir at Brooklyn Borough Hall's annual celebration, featuring multicultural holiday music and a visit from Santa. Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St between Adams and Court Sts, Brooklyn Heights (718-802-3700, brooklyn-usa.org). Dec 5 at 5:30pm; free. 46. Donate to the New York Cares Coat DriveHelp fellow New Yorkers stay warm through record frigid temps by donating gently used and freshly cleaned coats to New York Cares (locations and times vary; call 212-402-1173 or visit newyorkcares.org for more information; through Dec 31). This year the organization has set a goal of 100,000 donations, and you can drop your outerwear off at more than 200 locations, including Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and Citi Pond at Bryant Park. Several other organizations are also hosting coat drives this year; check out our roundup of New York City coat drives to find out where to donate. 47. Party like a smarty at the 2011 BiblioBallFor four years running, the librarians who run the Desk Set, a charitable meet-up group, have been letting down their tight little chignons and cutting loose at this annual winter formal. The offerings are, of course, meticulously curated: Country-rockers the Nouvellas will play a live set and aerialist Jean Loscalzo will show off her tricks. Plus, you can catch a screening of the short film "S Is for Shhhh...," a noir starring librarians. The Bell House, 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (718-643-6510, thedeskset.org). Dec 3 8pm--3am; $20--$40. 48. Peep elaborate gingerbread creationsYou can look at (but, sadly, not taste) the edible structures featured in Le Parker Meridien's annual Gingerbread Masterpieces display, a recent addition to the midtown holiday gawking rounds. Seven pastry chefs from local restaurants—including Gramercy Tarvern, BLT Steak and Norma's—go for over-the-top gingerbread splendor with these edible dream homes. Viewers can also shell out a buck to cast a vote for your favorite creation; all proceeds benefit City Harvest. Le Parker Meridien, 119 W 56th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-245-5000, parkermeridien.com). Dec 1--Jan 6. Free to view, $1 to vote. 49. Chase away winter's chill with whiskeyFew things warm us on cold evenings as effectively as a few drams of whiskey. Williamsburg's Kings County Distillery (35 Meadow St between Bogart and Waterbury Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; kingscountydistillery.com; Dec 10 2:30--5:30pm; tours free, tastings $3) opens its doors on December 10 for tours, as well as tastings of its signature bourbon and moonshine. Or head to Cobble Hill's Char No. 4 (196 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-643-2106, charno4.com), where you can sip your way through a deep selection of more than 200 types of bourbon, scotch, rye and other international varieties. 50. Listen to carols from the Middle Ages at the CloistersIf the thought of hearing "Last Christmas" one more time this season makes you want to smash something, head to this outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the holiday festivities have a distinctly medieval flavor. First, see the Waverly Consort perform The Christmas Story, which premiered at the Met 31 years ago (Dec 10 at 1, 3pm; Dec 11 at 1, 3pm; $45). Later in the month, the six-man a cappella group Lionheart will perform Christmas songs from the Middle Ages (Dec 18 at 1, 3pm; $35). 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, Fort Tryon Park (212-650-2290, metmuseum.org) 51. Get serenaded at Hugh Jackman: Back on BroadwayHe sings! He dances! He's ridiculously good-looking! All of Jackman's talents will be on display when the charming performer returns to the Great White Way, showcasing songs from The Boy from Oz, Oklahoma! and other tuners. Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W 44th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave (hughjackmanonbroadway.com). $68.50--$156.50; premium $251.50--$351.50. Through Jan 1. 52. Ring in the Year of the Dragon at the Firecracker Ceremony and ParadeCelebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year (which takes place January 23) at two massive celebrations in Chinatown: During the Firecracker Ceremony (Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Chrystie St between E Houston and Canal Sts; betterchinatown.com; Jan 23 at noon; free), half a million firecrackers will be set off to ward away bad spirits for the year. The following week, 16 floats and 6,000 marching band members will traverse the neighborhood during the Lunar New Year Parade and Festival (begins at Canal and Mott Sts; 917-660-2402, betterchinatown.com; Jan 29 at 1pm; free). 53. Attend (or crash) Fashion WeekAfter two successful seasons in Lincoln Center, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week returns to the arts complex in February to show off designers' Fall 2012 collections. If you're not a celeb, socialite or otherwise well-connected person, you may have to use slightly unscrupulous means to get into the shows. (One way to fit in: wear all-black and look annoyed constantly.) Lincoln Center (mbfashionweek.com). Feb 9--16. 54. Hunker over a bowl of steaming-hot ramenWhen temperatures drop, all we want to do is eat comfort food—and few dishes are quite as soul-warming as the Japanese staple. Sample a bowl of the noodle-packed soup at some of the city's best ramen joints, including Ippudo NY (65 Fourth Ave between E 9th and E 10th Sts, 212-388-0088) and Hide-Chan Ramen (248 E 52nd St between Second and Third Aves; 212-813-1800)—find out what to order by consulting our list of the city's 20 essential ramen dishes. 55. Volunteer with God's Love We DeliverPut hours upon hours of watching the Food Network to good use: The charitable organization needs volunteers to assemble thousands of nutritious meals for New Yorkers in need—volunteers are most needed to make deliveries throughout the city. The organization asks that participants make one shift commitment for 2--3 months. For more information, visit glwd.org or e-mail volunteer@glwd.org. 56. Hear a choir sing at St. Thomas ChurchBased on 16th-century texts, Benjamin Britten's enchanting nine-song sequence, A Ceremony of Carols, sounds especially glorious when performed by the renowned St. Thomas choristers. John Rutter's Dancing Day, a song cycle that incorporates elements of both religious and secular carols, rounds out the program. St. Thomas Church, 1 W 53rd St at Fifth Ave (212-757-7013, sainthomaschurch.org). Dec 15 at 5:30pm; $40. 57. Gawk at the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights Plan an evening trip to this south Brooklyn 'hood, where a tacit and cutthroat competition exists among residents to have the most over-the-top holiday displays. Expect to see outrageous decorations like life-size nutcrackers, reindeer, gigantic inflatable snowmen and large gingerbread houses. Or book a spot on the Christmas Lights and Cannoli bus tour (meet at E 13th St at Fourth Ave; asliceofbrooklyn.com; daily 7--10:30pm; $55, children under 12 $45), which travels through the neighborhood before stopping at the Mona Lisa Pastry Shop for cappuccino and cannoli. 82nd to 85th Sts between Tenth and Twelfth Aves, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn; the biggest concentration of lights is on 83rd and 84th Sts between Tenth and Twelfth Aves. Through Dec 31. 58. Go seal-spottingBeginning in the fall, hundreds of seals travel south from Maine to spend their winter in the relatively warmer waters of New York. Between December and March, they hang out by the local beaches, such as Orchard Beach in the Bronx, during low tide. Each winter, the New York City Parks Department hosts a Seal Shore Safari, a guided lookout from that spot; check the website for updates. Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx (718-378-2061, nycgovparks.org). Date and time TBA; free. 59. Watch the season's finest flicks Escape the cold by ducking into a movie theater (try one of our favorites) and catching one of this winter's most promising films. We're particularly pumped to see masterful director David Fincher's sure-to-be-high-octane thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (opens Dec 21), starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara; Steven Soderbergh's action flick Haywire (opens Jan 20); and the indie-horror effort The Innkeepers (opens Feb 3). For a complete list of films to check out this season, consult our winter film preview. 60. Snack on a bag of roasted chestnutsThere are just a few spots in the city where the quintessential holiday treat can be found: You'll see a couple of street carts in tourist-packed midtown (Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 55th Streets and 34th Street near Herald Square are reliable spots). We also recommend heading to Main Street near 40th Street in Flushing, Queens, where you'll find carts peddling a Chinese variety that's cooked over hot pebbles. 61. See the city in miniature at the New York Botanical GardenThe Bronx conservatory's annual Holiday Train Show presents teeny versions of city landmarks—including the Washington Square Park arch, Eero Saarinen's TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport and Radio City Music Hall—made of natural materials such as bark, twigs and seeds. This year, the garden has opened up the display's artists' studio, where visitors can look at how buildings are created. Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Tue--Sun 10am--6pm; $20--$25, seniors and students $18--$22. Through Jan 16. 62. Hang out at the American Museum of Natural History It took volunteers six months (and countless paper cuts) to fold the 500 paper animals and objects that adorn the museum's Origami Holiday Tree (through Jan 2). Each of the tiny paper formations represents one of the museum's biggest displays, such as dinosaurs and planets. Before you leave, check out "The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter" (through May 28), where you can enter a chamber (kept at a balmy 80 degrees) with 500 of the winged creatures flying around. Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5100, amnh.org). Daily 10am--5:45pm; suggested donation $19, seniors and students $14.50, children 2--12 $10.50, children under 2 free. 63. Dress to the nines and attend a fancy ballSet in a historic mansion, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra's annual Yuletide affair with a Jazz Age vibe, the Winter Ball (The Bogardus Mansion, 75 Murray St between Greenwich St and West Broadway; winterball.eventbee.com; Dec 10 8pm--2am; $50) features performances from the Minsky Sisters and accordionist Nicole Renaud, among others. The 92nd Street Y takes things even further back with a Victorian Vintage Ball (1395 Lexington Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts; 212-415-5500, 92y.org; Jan 28 8:30--11pm; $25, advance $20) showcasing 19th-century music and dancing (show up at 7:15 for a dance lesson). Dress code: Edith Whartonesque. 64. Spend New Year's Day with hundreds of poets Poetry fans have multiple ways to sate their obsession on January 1. Within a few blocks, nearly 300 wordsmiths will perform at two separate New Year's Day festivals: At the Bowery Poetry Club's Kaleidoscope (308 Bowery between Bleecker and E Houston Sts; 212-614-0505, bowerypoetry.com; Jan 1 at 2pm; free), 150 performers, including Corrina Bain, Richard Kostelanetz and Ocean Vuong, will share their work. Meanwhile, the Poetry Project's 38th annual New Year's Day Marathon (St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, 131 E 10th St at Second Ave; 212-674-0910, poetryproject.org; Jan 1 at 3pm; $10--$20) is the oldest such celebration in the city, and presents famous participants such as Thurston Moore, Jonas Mekas, Suzanne Vega and Steve Earle. 65. Pay your respects at the 9/11 MemorialTwo reflecting pools, 2,938 names and 8,151 tons of steel make up the new national memorial honoring the victims of the September 11, 2001 (and February 26, 1993) terrorist attacks. While some of Christmas week is already booked solid, passes are still available for Christmas and New Year's Day, and beyond. A pass is required for entry, and can be reserved online. Enter at Albany and Greenwich Sts (212-312-8800, 911memorial.org). Sept 12--Jan 8: Mon--Fri 10am--8pm; Sat, Sun 9am--8pm. Beginning Jan 9: Daily 10am--6pm. Free; advance reservations required. 66. Try out winter sports for free Each February, New Yorkers flock to one of the city's green spaces for Winter Jam, where they can partake in gratis cold-weather activities like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. (Over the last two years, it has taken place in Central Park and Prospect Park.) And if there isn't any of that wet white stuff on the ground this year, don't worry: Fresh snow will be dropped on the park before your arrival. Location and time TBA; visit nycgovparks.org for details. Free. 67. Pretend that it's summer by getting a tanIt is possible to get a sun-kissed glow in the winter months without looking like a streaky extra from Jersey Shore. Completely Bare (locations vary; visit completelybare.com for details) offers body-sculpting spray tans ($55--$75) that adds contours to your I-just-got-back-from-vacation color. And consult our list of the best self-tanning products, which will help you keep up appearances until summer. Locations vary; visit completelybare.com for details. 68. Hear boldface names speak at 92nd Street YThe uptown institution's winter lineup features an impressive roster of noteworthy speakers, including Walter Isaacson, who will discuss his recently released biography of Steve Jobs (Jan 24 at 8pm; $29), and feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, who will chat with NY1 anchor Budd Mishkin about her life and career (Feb 28 at 8pm; $29). 1395 Lexington Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts (212-415-5500, 92y.org) 69. A religious tale gets a titillating twist at the Menorah HorahThe Schlep Sisters—better known as Darlinda Just Darlinda and Minnie Tonka—present this sexy Hanukkah celebration, hosted by comedian Seth Herzog. This isn't your bubbe's holiday party: Expect NSFW performances from Anita Cookie, Little Brooklyn, Cherry Pitz and more. Highline Ballroom, 431 W 16th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (212-414-5994, highlineballroom.com). Dec 17 at 8pm; $20--$25, advance $15--$20. 70. Take a frigid plunge with the Coney Island Polar Bear ClubIf you need a post--New Year's pick-me-up, join the Polar Bears for their annual icy dip in the Atlantic Ocean, a tradition that's meant to help reinvigorate your mind and body. The average temperature of the water in January is about 38 degrees—if nothing else, it'll distract you from how awful your hangover is. Meet on the Coney Island Boardwalk at Stillwell Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn (polarbearclub.org). Jan 1 at 1pm; free. 71. Spend a day with Picasso, Matisse and other mastersTake refuge from the cold and hole up in the Museum of Modern Art for a day. There's plenty to keep you occupied: Start by checking out 20 of the best paintings on view, including Piet Mondrian's New York--inspired Broadway Boogie Woogie. In addition to its unparalleled holdings in 20th- and 21st-century art, the institution offers cool amenities like its plush movie theater, which presents multiple screenings throughout the day. And then, of course, there's the MoMA Design Store. Oh, did we mention that besides spending the day, you might be tempted to spend some serious money? 11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-708-9400, moma.org). Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun 10:30am--5:30pm; Fri 10:30am--8pm. $25, seniors $18, students $14, children under 16 free. Fri 4--8pm free. Film tickets free with museum admission; screenings-only admission $12, seniors $10, students $8, children under 16 free. 72. Celebrate Hanukkah at a global music festivalInternational performers will gather for this annual event celebrating the musical traditions of Sephardic Jewish culture. Beginning on the first night of Hanukkah, the fest kicks off with sets from folk-rockers Pharaoh's Daughter and Bronx-born solo artist Haale (Dec 20 at 7pm; $18). Later in the week, catch a performance from famed Israeli musician Miki Gavrielov (Dec 24 at 7pm; $25--$60). Location, time and price vary; visit sephardicfest.com for details. Dec 20--27. 73. Get in the Kwanzaa spirit at two eventsThe Apollo Theater celebrates the holiday with Regeneration Night (253 W 125th St between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd [Seventh Ave] and Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave]; 212-531-5300, apollotheater.org; Dec 30 at 7:30pm. $14--$16). Abdel Salaam's Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, will perform, as will trombone player Craig S. Harris. The American Museum of Natural History hosts its own Kwanzaa event (Central Park West at 79th St; 212-769-5100, amnh.org; Dec 31 noon--4pm; suggested donation $10.50--$19) with spoken-word and music performances, as well as a bazaar selling traditional crafts. Sample traditional Kwanzaa dishes, such as yassa, or roasted chicken with a citrus dressing, which will be available to buy in the food court. 74. Hunker down at a bar with games Get your fix of Donkey Kong, Punch Out and Pac-Man at Barcade (388 Union Ave between Ainslie and Powers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com), whose selection of old-school games is matched only by its impressive list of craft beers. At the pimped-out entertainment complex Greenwich Village Country Club (110 University Pl between E 12th and E 13th Sts; 212-255-8188, greenwichvillagecountryclub.com), you can play minigolf, bocce or shuffleboard while snacking on David Burke eats. For more watering holes with activities, consult our roundup of the best bars with games. 75. Grab a pair of skis and get out of townIf the freak October storm was any indication, this winter may be a snowy one. If you want to hit the slopes this season, several local sporting-goods shops organize day and weekend trips to skiing destinations. Paragon Sports ferries ski bums to New York's Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain Ski Resort (212-255-8889, paragonsports.com; dates vary; $TBA), while Emilio's Ski Shop in Queens heads to several locations in Vermont, including Okemo Mountain Resort and Stratton (718-544-0404, emiliosskishop.com; dates vary; $100). Social sports organization ZogSports also plans day trips to Belleayre in New York (Jan 21, Feb 11 at 6:15am; $130--$140) or Camelback in Pennsylvania (Feb 18 at 6:30am; $100--$175); visit zogsports.com for details on how to sign up. 76. See college hoops at MSG NYC might not be a college-basketball town, but this season you can catch a doubleheader of bouts between NCAA titans at the Garden. As part of this year's Carquest Auto Parts Classic, the Washington Huskies take on the Duke Blue Devils, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys lineup against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave) between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Dec 10 12pm. $35--$355. 77. Say farewell to a notable dance troupeLegendary choreographer Merce Cunningham passed away in 2009, and a year later, the company that he founded decided to disband in 2012, following a legacy tour that would take the troupe across the U.S. Its final performances in New York City happens in December: First, the company will perform a retrospective at BAM (30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-4100, bam.org; Dec 7--10 at 7:30pm; $20--$95), including Cunningham's collaborations with Brian Eno and Radiohead. Then, the troupe moves to the Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Ave between 66th and 67th Sts; 212-616-3930, armoryonpark.org; Dec 29--31 at 6:30, 9pm; $10) for six site-specific performances. 78. Don a snazzy outfit and attend an Oscar soireeInstead of sitting on your couch and making cutting, witty comments about the disastrous fashions at the Academy Awards, do the same thing in a crowd of like-minded folks. Get the celebrity treatment at the Paley Center's viewing party (25 W 52 St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-621-6600, paleycenter.org; Feb 26 at 7pm; $20--$25), where you can pose with life-size cardboard cut-outs of celebs. Or channel your inner diva at the sixth annual Alt.Oscars (Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St between Thompson and Sullivan Sts; 212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com; Feb 26 6pm--2am; $15--$20), where, in addition to a screening of the show, you can win prizes for having the best Oscar-themed costume, or as "Best Celebrity" (throw a really massive temper tantrum during the judging, and you'll be a shoo-in). 79. Heat up (and see adorable animals) at city zoosTake a cue from the animals—including lemurs and tamarins—who inhabit the Central Park Zoo's Tropic Zone (southeast corner of Central Park, enter at Fifth Ave and 64th St; 212-439-6500, centralparkzoo.com; daily 10am--4:30pm; $7--$12), a rainforest-like environment that's far warmer than the chilly outdoors. Or head to the Bronx Zoo's JungleWorld (Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx; 718-367-1010, bronxzoo.com; daily 10am--4:30pm; $14.35--$19.95), whose temperate climate mimics that of an Asian jungle. 80. Discover Tibet through comics at the Rubin MuseumComic-book characters such as Lara Croft, Tintin and Mickey Mouse all share a similar bug for travel: Each has had a story line in Tibet. A new exhibit, "Hero, Villain, Yeti," explores the portrayal of the country through the pop-culture staple ever since a Buddhist caped crime-fighter, the Green Lama, crept onto pulp-mag pages in the 1940s. 150 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, theater-level (212-620-5000, rmanyc.org). Mon, Thu 11am--5pm; Wed 11am--7pm; Fri 11am--10pm; Sat, Sun 11am--6pm. Free. Dec 9--Jun 11. 81. Pay homage to the Godfather of SoulIt's been five years since James Brown passed away on Christmas Day, and five since mega-DJ Nickodemus and Brooklyn's Nappy G started their annual funk-soul extravaganza featuring original tunes, covers of Brown's songs and mash-ups. Bring a friend who'll reenact the musician's famous "cape routine" for extra dance-floor brownie points. Drom, 85 Ave A between 5th and 6th Sts (212-777-1157, dromnyc.com). Dec 23 at 10pm; $10, before midnight $5. 82. Head to the rodeo in Midtown Yee-haw! Forty professional bull riders (and the bucking creatures they'll attempt to stay atop) take over MSG for a three-day spell during the NYC stop on the PBR 2012 Built Ford Tough Series tour. And yes, donning a cowboy hat is totally encouraged. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave) between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Jan 6--7 8pm; Jan 8 1pm. $15--$205. 83. Shop for gifts at indie holiday markets...Ladycentric magazine Bust hosts its annual Craftacular and Food Fair Holiday Market (82 Mercer St between Broome and Spring Sts; bust.com/craftacular; Dec 10 11am--8pm, Dec 11 11am--7pm; $3), with hundreds of vendors selling handmade and vintage items, and a beer garden selling Blue Point brews ($3--$4). Or head to Williamsburg for 3rd Ward's Handmade Holiday Craft Fair (195 Morgan Ave between Meadow and Stagg Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 3rdward.com/2011craftfair; Dec 10 noon--6pm; free), featuring live music and cheap drinks, in addition to dozens of jewelry, clothing and housewares vendors from around the country. For more places to find unique gifts, check out our list of New York's best holiday markets, or our 2011 gift guide. 84. ...Or learn to make your own presents at a craft class Skip the checkout lines by creating homemade holiday presents with the help of a few local organizations. Online craft market Etsy has teamed with 3rd Ward to host courses on everything from millinery to perfume blending (3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Ave between Meadow and Stagg Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-715-4961, 3rdward.com; times and prices vary). Or head to Craft Night at Etsy Labs (55 Washington St between Front and Water Sts, suite 712, Dumbo, Brooklyn; etsy.com/labs, Mondays 4--8pm; free), a community craft night with different themes. Stop by on December 12 to get a tutorial in holiday card-making. 85. Get down at a Hanukkah-themed bash Attend the second installment of the monthly event the Wind Up at the Jewish Museum, where Brooklyn art collective CHERYL throws a multimedia dance party that includes a beer-and-wine open bar for the first hour, DJ sets, video projections and dreidel games. The Jewish Museum New York, 1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St (212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org). Dec 15 8--11pm. $15, advance $12. 86. Go around the world with Under the RadarProducer Mark Russell's festival of avant-garde theater will feature 16 new plays from companies across the world. The offerings include Goodbar, a collaboration between New York company Waterwell and rock band Bamb (featuring Ira Glass in a video performance); The Table, by U.K. puppeteers Blind Summit; and Sontag: Reborn, a piece by the Builders Association based on the late author's early diaries. Locations and times vary; visit undertheradarfestival.com for details. $20--$25, festival pass $75; Jan 4--15. 87. Celebrate renewal with Alvin Ailey American Dance TheaterFor its latest season, the dance company appointed choreographer Robert Battle as the new artistic director. Slated for this season are several new pieces, including the world premiere of Home, Rennie Harris's hip-hop piece inspired by the stories of those living with or affected by HIV. The company will also perform its signature piece, Revelations, which was choreographed by Ailey himself. New York City Center, 131 West 55th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-581-1212, alvinailey.org). Schedule varies; check the website for details. $25--$135. Through Jan 1. 88. Warm up at a water spaThe quickest way to beat the shivers is a good old-fashioned shvitz. Luckily, the city abounds with some of the best therapeutic spas this side of Moscow. Queens' Spa Castle has four heated mineral pools, wet and dry saunas, and an outdoor heated Hinoki bath (131-10 11th Ave at 131st St, College Point, Queens; 718-939-6300, nyspacastle.com; Mon--Sun 6am--midnight; weekdays $35, weekend $45). In the East Village, the Russian and Turkish Baths warm you up in three kinds of saunas, then challenge you to dip into the ice-cold plunge pool (268 E 10th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-674-9250, russianturkishbaths.com; hours vary, check the website for details; $35). Or, get the total Russian treatment at Brooklyn Banya (602 Coney Island Ave between Beverly Rd and Ave C, Flatbush, Brooklyn; 718-853-1300, brooklynbanya.com; Mon--Fri 9am--midnight; Sat, Sun 8am--midnight; $30), where you can follow a salt body scrub with pierogi from the on-site cafe (ten for $7). 89. Play squashThe threat of extreme cold and snowstorms has put the kibosh on outdoor sports for the next few months. Instead, try your hand at squash: The indoor racquet sport involves smacking a rubber ball around an enclosed room with a partner. Much of the New York squash scene happens at private pro clubs, but those who are merely curious can try out the game at a few public clubs, including CityView Racquet Club (43-34 32nd Pl at Hunters Point Ave, Long Island City, Queens; 718-389-6252, cityviewracquet.com; Thu 7:45pm, Sat 2pm; $40), which hosts twice-weekly round-robins for varying skill levels. BYO gear, including a racquet, safety goggles, indoor court shoes and ball (available at City Sports, 390 Fifth Ave at 36th St, 212-695-0171). True beginners would fare best by opting for private lessons with a teaching pro at a squash club; for more details, visit msra.net. 90. Gather 'round the hearth at a bar with a fireplaceKeep warm during the long, cold winter months at some of the city's finest fireplace bars. At Alewife Queens (5-14 51st Ave between Vernon Blvd and 5th St, Long Island City, Queens; 718-937-7494, alewifequeens.com), a new two-story gastropub, the upstairs fireplace boasts a gas-fueled setup with a minimalist white-brick mantel. For cool-weather flame-watching, we prefer the hot "punch" for two (mulled wine, spiked cider or hot eggnog, depending on the month), delivered in a teakettle ($22). Or head to Lani Kai (525 Broome St between Sixth Ave and Thompson St; 646-596-8778, lanikainy.com), where a sizable gas hearthstone filled with a bed of lava rock evokes the volcanoes of the bar owner's Hawaiian homeland. For more cozy drinkeries, check out our list of the city's best fireplace bars. 91. Watch the Harlem Globetrotters do their athletic anticsWhistle along to the familiar strains of "Sweet Georgia Brown" as you watch these basketball stars shoot from midcourt and spin balls on their fingers. Players to watch include Tiny (No. 55), the world's tallest pro basketball player at 7'8"; Hops (No. 17), who has a 50" vertical jump; TNT (No. 18), the team's first female player since 1993. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave) between 31st and 33rd Sts (212-465-6741, thegarden.com). Feb 18 at 7:30pm; $15--$250. 92. Fight for a handbag at Barneys Warehouse SaleWell, don't literally resort to fisticuffs—that's likely to get you kicked out of this bargain bonanza. But do arrive early—shoppers have been known to line up hours before doors open—and be prepared to move quickly if you want to snag deeply discounted items. The shop slashes prices up to 75 percent, making pieces by designers such as Nina Ricci, Marc Jacobs and Rodarte slightly more affordable. Dates and info TBA (barneys.com). 93. Go to a TV show tapingPlay hooky from work and while away a few climate-controlled hours at tapings with some of the city's talk-show talent. Everyday with Rachael Ray tapes Tue--Thu at 11:30am and 3:30pm (222 E 44th St between Second and Third Aves, rachaelrayshow.com/show-info/audience-tickets) and The Martha Stewart Show films at various points in the week at 10am and 2pm (221 W 26th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, marthastewart.com/get-tickets). If you're willing to put in some time in the cold, you could wait for a stand-by ticket to Saturday Night Live—tickets are distributed at 7am for either the live show or the 8pm dress rehearsal (30 Rockefeller Plaza, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, nbc.com/tickets). 94. Sip creative cocoas at City Bakery's Hot Chocolate FestivalEach February, City Bakery augments its delicious, rich hot cocoa with different flavors—previous infusions include bourbon, stout, chili pepper and Chinese cinnamon. Look for 2012's calendar of flavors, which change each day of the month, around January 20. City Bakery, 3 W 18th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-366-1414, hotchocolatefestival.com). Feb 1--29. 95. Watch the Super BowlThe big game is in Indianapolis this year, but plenty of bars across the city will be showing the action on February 5. Arrive two to three hours before kickoff at Professor Thom's (219 Second Ave between 13th and 14th Sts, 212-260-9480, professorthoms.com), where small groups can watch the game from a TV in the privacy of their own booths. Or head to Standings (43 E 7th St between Second and Third Aves; 212-420-0671, standingsbar.com), which will offer brews from the hometowns of the competing teams. The game will be shown on the bar's eight HDTVs. 96. See three holiday shows—with a twistWho better to get you into the holiday spirit than potty-mouthed, polyester-wearing drag acts? In Lettuce Rejoice 2011 (Metropolitan Room, 34 W 22nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-206-0440, metropolitanroom.com; Dec 17, 18, 21, 23, 28 at 7:30pm; $22), Hedda Lettuce puts a kooky spin on classic Christmas tunes (example: "Here Comes Tranny Clause"). For A Murray Little Christmas (Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havermeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-529-6696, bk.knittingfactory.com; Dec 11 at 7:30, 9:30pm; $25--$50), entertainer Murray Hill welcomes friends such as Dirty Martini, Bridget Everett and Moisty the Snowman for his annual raunchy extravaganza. And in Jackie Beat: The Nutcracker (Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 W 42nd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-695-6909, beechmantheatre.com; Dec 14--Dec 18 at 7:30pm, Dec 17 at 7:30, 10pm. $22, advance $20; plus $15 minimum), the self-proclaimed bastard child of Bette Midler and Weird Al devotes her interfaith holiday show to the enduring power of STDs, with such numbers as "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Syphilis." 97. An acclaimed opera company travels to BrooklynCity Opera's plan to leave Lincoln Center and become an itinerant arts institution may have ruffled some devoted fans' feathers when it was announced earlier this year, but Lincoln Center's loss is Brooklyn's gain. Two of its new season's most anticipated offerings will premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in February: British director and humorist Jonathan Miller's production of Verdi's La Traviata, and Prima Donna, the first opera by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (212-870-5600, nycopera.com). La Traviata: Feb 12 at 1:30pm, Feb 14, 16, 18 at 7:30pm; $25--$150. Prima Donna: Feb 19 at 1:30pm, Feb 21, 23, 25 at 7:30pm; $25--$150. 98. Pretend that you're on a Caribbean vacation—in the BronxIf you're not heading to warmer climes at any point this winter, take refuge at the New York Botanical Garden, which opens its annual "Caribbean Garden" exhibit in January. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory will be heated to a pleasant 75 degrees, and you can amble through rainforest mists, towering palms and deserts inspired by the landscape of the Caribbean islands. Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Tue--Sun 10am--6pm; $8--$20. Jan 21--Feb 26. 99. Grab your gloves and have a snowball fightImpromptu games of frozen dodgeball or capture the flag occasionally spring to life on social media sites once the forecast predicts flakes—school and work cancellations help, too. One page to check out is the NYC Snowball Fight Club. Both kids and kids at heart answered the organization's call following a late January blizzard and gathered at Madison Square Park to create a flurry of their own. Visit NYC Snowball Fight Club's Facebook page for updates. 100. Get into the spirit of the season at holiday-themed exhibitsSt. Nick wasn't always portrayed as a jolly man in red; earlier incarnations of the big dude were far more stern. A new exhibit, "It Happened Here: The Invention of Santa Claus" (New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Sts; 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org; Tue--Thu, Sat 10am--6pm; Fri 10am--8pm; Sun 11am--5pm; $15, seniors and educators $12, students $10; through Jan 8) traces the shift in Santa's character through 19th-century depictions, including Thomas Nast's iconic drawings in Harper's Weekly, and Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (better known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"). Or learn about the evolution of a classic holiday tune at the Morgan Library & Museum's new show, "Robert Burns and 'Auld Lang Syne'" (225 Madison Ave at 36th St; 212-685-0008, themorgan.org; Tue--Thu 10:30am--5pm; Fri 10:30am--9pm; Sat 10am--6pm; Sun 11am--6pm; $15, seniors and students $10; through Feb 5). Look for Burns's 20-page letter, written in 1793, in which he penned the words to the song for the first time; it comes at the very end, almost as a postscript. 101. Celebrate Festivus on December 23This nondenominational meal, introduced to the world by Seinfeld, varies depending on whom you're asking; we suggest meatloaf, turkey or ham, followed by a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&Ms, a favorite of Festivus term-coiner Dan O'Keefe. The holiday also includes such novel practices as the Airing of Grievances, which takes place after dinner and entails each person telling everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. The Feats of Strength are also performed after eating. This involves each guest wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the celebrations ending only if the head of the household is actually pinned. No tree is necessary, for on this day—a holiday for the rest of us—an unadorned aluminum pole is the sole decoration. See more in Things to Do 50 best New York bars 30 ways to warm up It's friggin' coooold out there. Here's how to get nice and toasty. Right now. 1. Get a hot shave Dudes: Need to reclaim your masculinity? Settle in for a hot shave, which not only boasts a Don Draper--cool factor but is also a great way to revitalize your face during the harsh winter months. At Italian throwback Barbiere NYC (246 E 5th St between Second Ave and Cooper Sq; 646-649-2640, barbierenyc.com), ask for the Classica, which comes with a hot lather (handmade by proprietor Matthew Demayo) and a towel, plus an eye-opener of your choice: a shot of Jameson or espresso ($30). In Little Italy, the New York Shaving Company (202B Elizabeth St between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-334-9495, nyshavingcompany.com) offers the Ultimate Shave, which includes preshave oil made with local products, an aftershave mask, and a hot towel soaked in lemon essential oil and rosewater ($45). Financial District folks should head to mainstay Esquires of Wall Street (14 Wall St between Broadway and Nassau St; 212-349-5064, esquiresofwallst.com) for a cheap, no-fuss hot-shave-and-towel treatment ($17) that has been going strong since 1932. 2. Drink hot cocktails Nothing warms the bones after a chilly trek outside quite like booze—except, of course, warm booze. The bartenders at Williamsburg cocktail hub Huckleberry Bar (588 Grand St at Lorimer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-8555, huckleberrybar.com) make the Double Black Diamond, a mug of house-made hot chocolate spiked with chai-infused Black Grouse Scotch and coffee liqueur ($10). Chocolate fiends should warm up to the Rococo Cocoa at Peels (325 Bowery at 2nd St; 646-602-7015, peelsnyc.com), a creamy blend spiked with Chartreuse (a French liqueur) and topped with a vanilla-honey marshmallow and dark-chocolate shavings ($13). At Highlands (150 W 10th St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl; 212-229-2670, highlands-nyc.com), try the anCnoc—a blend of 12-year-old Scotch, brown sugar and Drambuie-laced whipped cream ($13). Serious drinkers will have a field day thumbing through the absolutely massive drink menu at the Brandy Library in Tribeca (25 North Moore St at Varick St; 212-226-5545, brandylibrary.com), where the Hot Brandy Alexander—cognac, dark crme de cocoa and heavy cream—comes with a shortbread cookie ($14). For more cold-weather drinkeries, click here. 3. Soak in a hot tubFace it: You long ago passed the age when poolhopping was still acceptable. Convene with other grown-ups at the swanky Financial District spot The Setai Club & Spa (40 Broad St at Exchange Pl; 212-363-5418, setaiclubnewyork.com), where a day pass ($65) admits you to the Jacuzzi (surrounded by dim lighting and candles to create a calming mood), sauna and steam room. At Great Jones Spa (29 Great Jones St between Bowery and Lafayette St; 212-505-3185, greatjonesspa.com), warming up in the thermal tub (or the river-rock sauna, steam room and the rest of the "water lounge") is also $50—or free if you spend more than $100 in spa treatments. 4. Eat some spicy-ass chicken We could manage only three of the diabolical, off-the-menu Seppuku chicken wings at Buffalo Cantina (149 Havemeyer St between South 1st and 2nd Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-7788; half dozen $18, dozen $40). By far the spiciest we've encountered in NYC, the lava-red, chili-seed-speckled sauce features a hit list of the world's most infamous heat bombs, including bhut jolokia, chile de rbol, serrano and pure capsaicin. The effect is ruthless: We teared up, felt light-headed and briefly considered vomiting, then walked out with our tail between our legs. If you can eat 12 in three minutes, the hefty bill is waived and you get your photo on a wall of fame. Our advice: Don't be a hero, bro.  5. Take a Turkish bathIf you're pining to feel pampered, reserve a session at the swanky new Spa at Trump Soho (246 Spring St between Sixth Ave and Varick St; 212-842-5505, trumpsohohotel.com) for its traditional Turkish Hammam treatment, pictured (45 minutes $150). In a dome covered with blue mosaic tiles, you'll lie on a heated stone while a staffer pours castile soap bubbles and hot and cold water over your back. For more than 100 years, at the East Village's Russian & Turkish Baths (268 E 10th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-674-9250, russianturkishbaths.com; $35), locals have sweated out toxins in the no-frills, eucalyptus- and lavender-infused-steam--filled Turkish Room. Make sure you call ahead or check the website before heading there; the place holds coed, women- and men-only hours, and you're required to cover up with bathing suits or shorts during the former. Click here for more great bathhouses. 6. Sip a great cup of coffee Recently, we scoured all corners of the city to find the 51 best cups of java around. Not the ones for downing in a rush, but those worth sitting back and enjoying, like the Honduran El Jaguar Farm medium roast at Birch Coffee (Gershwin Hotel, 5 E 27th St between Fifth and Madison Aves; 212-686-1444, birchcoffee.com; $2.50--$3.50), the chicory-sweetened New Orleans at Blue Bottle (160 Berry St between North 4th and 5th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-387-4160, bluebottlecoffee.net; $4), the single-origin espresso at Sweetleaf (10-93 Jackson Ave at 11th St, Long Island City, Queens; 917-832-6726, sweetleaflic.com; $3) and many more. 7. Gorge on hot wings For a killer deal, load up on 10 wings Monday through Wednesday at Croxley Ale House (28 Ave B between 2nd and 3rd Sts, 212-253-6140), 4pm--1am. Just be sure you order at least 15 wings—and don't try to take any home (there's a strict no-doggie-bags policy). 8. Relax during a hot-stone massage Tense? Freezing? Shake off both sensations at Chinatown's Eden Day Spa (388 Broadway between Walker and White Sts; 212-226-0515, edenspany.com), where a masseuse will gently lay lava stones on your back's pressure points ($120 for one hour), which should help melt away all of that postholiday, pre--tax-season stress. 9. Stroll through an indoor desertExplore 11 different habitats without venturing farther than the Bronx. At the New York Botanical Garden's Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx; 718-817-8700, nybg.org; $20, seniors and students $18, children 2--12 $10, children under 2 free), walk between rain-forest and desert environs, which are all enclosed under a glass greenhouse. Through Jan 16, get lost in the woods with the "Forest in the City" exhibition. Or marvel at tropical flowers and trees from Jan 21 through Feb 26 during the "Caribbean Garden" exhibition. 10. Cook Korean BBQ Obviously, K-town offers plenty of ways to partake in the thrill of watching meat grilled right at your table. For our money, though, your best bet is to bring your group to Shilla (37 W 32nd St between Fifth Ave and Broadway; 212-967-1880, shillanyc.com). Inside the inviting, woody space, share sizzling helpings of prime rib ($28.95), beef brisket ($22.95) and, to appease the noncarnivores, mixed vegetables ($18.95). 11. Go to a fireplace bar Helmed by Meaghan Dorman of the Raines Law Room, Lantern's Keep (49 W 44th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-453-4287, thelanternskeep.com) is the antithesis of your average-crazed midtown drinkery. With only 30 seats, you're guaranteed to feel the heat blazing from the black lacquer furnace, even if you're not sitting right near the gas-powered hearth. Ask head bartender Theo Lieberman (Milk & Honey) or one of the other expert barkeeps to mix you a classic cocktail, such as the New Yorker Highball ($18), a warming blend of bourbon, champagne, lemon juice and red wine. Plan ahead, though—the bar has limited hours and is occasionally rented out for private parties, so your best bet is to make a reservation. For more fireplace bars, click here. 12. Drink hot chocolate Serious java may garner the most praise at Caf Grumpy (locations throughout the city; visit cafegrumpy.com), but the cocoa here deserves just as much attention: A proprietary blend of organic stone-ground 72 percent dark chocolate—finished with steamed whole milk—lends notes of vanilla and caramel to the balanced sipper ($3.50). 13. Go saunahoppingAt Spa Castle (131-10 Eleventh Ave between 131st and 132nd, College Point, Queens; 718-939-6300, nyspacastle.com), a sort of relaxation amusement park, the entry fee (weekdays $35, weekends and holidays $45) grants you access to seven saunas, including the gold room (outfitted in real gold, which apparently harkens back to an ancient technique for soothing sore limbs), one outfitted with LED lights and a room with stacked blocks of Himalayan salt. 14. Order a bowl of Texas-style chili Texans may beg to differ, but NYC does sling some kickin' versions of their state's official dish. At the cafeteria-style Daisy May's BBQ USA (623 Eleventh Ave at 46th St; 212-977-1500, daisymaysbbq.com), waiting in line for its Bowl o' Red Texas Style Chili plate special ($14)—which comes with your choice of two fixings, like golden spicy corn bread, collard greens and bourbon peaches—is well worth it. Polish off the brisket-and-ends-filled BBQ Chili ($7.95) at Chelsea's R.U.B. BBQ (208 W 23rd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-524-4300, rubbbq.net), whose name stands for "Righteous Urban Barbecue," with a glass of house-made sweet tea ($2.50). At Harlem honky-tonk joint Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (700 W 125th St at Twelfth Ave; 212-694-1777, dinosaurbarbque.com), top your bowl of Chili on the Half Shell with red onion, cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeos and tortilla chips ($8.75). 15. Get a steamy facial Does your face have that weathered, Eastwood-in-the-'70s look going on during cold months? Or is it just feeling a bit grimy? Lia Schorr Skin Care (686 Lexington Ave between 56th and 57th Sts; 212-486-9670, liaschorr.com), which has tackled such problems for 30 years, offers a European Deep Facial that should cure what ails you. The hour-plus process starts with a massage and a thorough steaming to open up your pores, and is followed by the application of tightening and calming masks (75 minutes for $95). For a bunch of budget-friendly facials, click here. 16. Sweat en masse during hot yoga Strike a pose in a room set to 100F during hot yoga—or Bikram yoga, as those in the biz call it—at Bikram Yoga Lower East Side (172 Allen St between Rivington and Stanton Sts, second floor; 212-353-8859, bikramyogales.com), which offers a steal: A week of unlimited classes costs only $20 for first-timers to the space (it's a still-reasonable $20 per class for everyone else). Click here for more great options. 17. Dig into a potpieWhen a gracious server at The Dutch (131 Sullivan St at Prince St; 212-677-6200, thedutchnyc.com) tried to break the towering, crackerlike crust that caps Andrew Carmellini's delirious potpie ($32), we scolded him: "It's like you just opened our Christmas present!" There is serious satisfaction in busting through the puffy dome—which is speckled with sea salt and looks like some sort of Land of Oz mushroom—to pillage the hearty stew within. Shreds of D'Artagnan bunny, braised in stock, riesling and hard cider, mingle with a selection of vegetables such as Tokyo turnips and baby potatoes. Crack the shell (the staff-administered service point has been retired) to release its intense aroma. 18. Enjoy a high-quality blow-dry Leave with your hair bouncy and toasty-warm after visiting Butterfly Studio (149 Fifth Ave between 20th and 21st Sts, second floor; 212-253-2100, butterflystudiosalon.com), where ladies can get a wash and a blowout ($65--$85), while fellas can opt for the Capitol Force Treatment (is that a Harrison Ford movie?), which includes a scalp massage, shampoo and blow-dry ($35). 19. Test your tongue with jungle curry There's no creamy coconut milk to temper the flames of this tear-jerking Thai dish ($9), the spiciest in the country's anthology of curries. Head to Ayada (77-08 Woodside Ave between 77th and 78th Sts, Elmhurst, Queens; 718-424-0844) and ask for it phet mak ("really spicy" in Thai), if you can stand the heat. The cooks roast a freshly pounded paste of dry red chilies, lemongrass, kafir lime leaf and other aromatics in the wok and thin it out with water. True to its jungle roots, the original dish calls for wild boar, but you can get it here with shrimp, beef or chicken bobbing alongside the bamboo, sweet Thai basil and a mix of vegetables.  20. Down hot sake At the subterranean Sake Bar Hagi (152 W 49th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, 212-764-8549), order the ozeki (small $4.50, large $8) for a warming buzz. Take advantage of the reverse happy hour at the Japanese pub Izakaya Ten (207 Tenth Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts; 212-627-7777, izakayaten.com), pictured, offered Thursday through Saturday, where you can ask your server for any array of hot drinks from the slender bar's huge selection. From 11pm to 3am, waiters sling two-for-one glasses of sake ($7--$17) and shochu bottles for $20 off (normally $35--$85). 21. Feast like a Cajun in Williamsburg Craving some NOLA-inspired grub? TONY's Chris Schonberger rounded up the top spots for gumbo, crawfish, po' boys and other mouthwatering delights in Williamsburg, where Cajun cuisine has exploded. On Saturdays and Sundays, stop by d.b.a. Brooklyn (113 North 7th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave; 718-218-6006) starting at 2pm, when the folks at Tchoup Shop bring an ever-changing menu of authentic eats (visit twitter.com/tchoupshop for more info). 22. Dunk your extremities in hot wax Besides providing a gooey, warm and oddly awesome sensation, submerging your hands and feet into melted paraffin wax also helps smooth and repair weather-damaged skin. Stop into high-end salon Jin Soon (421 E 73rd St between First and York Aves; 212-249-9144, jinsoon.com) for a 90-minute version of the treatment (hands $35, feet $60). For a cheaper deal, try Euphoria Spa (18 Harrison St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts, second floor; 212-925-5925, euphoriaspanyc.com), which offers quick, wallet-friendly dips (hands $5, feet $10). 23. Eat ramen in Brooklyn The three chefs at Chuko (552 Vanderbilt Ave between Bergen and Dean Sts, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; 718-576-6701)—Jamison Blankenship, David Koon and James Sato—are all Morimoto vets, and they spent months testing different broths, noodles and toppings to create the three bowls on their opening menu. Our favorite is the pork-bone ramen ($12), adorned with mustard greens, poached egg, duroc pork or Giannone chicken and scallions. 24. Dance with pretty people in Alphabet City Every Friday, retro club Ella (9 Ave A between 1st and 2nd Sts, ellalounge.com) welcomes a hard-partying young set for an all-night swing-dancing shindig. Brush up on your Lindy Hop and Jitterbug and prepare to break a major sweat. To find happening bashes every night of the week, consult our Nightlife section. 25. Linger in a coffeeshopYou know that feeling when you're being rushed out of a java spot? Well, luckily not every place is as on-the-go as, say, a midtown Starbucks. We like roomy Soho spot Ground Support (399 West Broadway at Spring St, 212-219-8722), pictured; famed Village hang Caffe Reggio (119 MacDougal St between Minetta Ln and W 3rd St; 212-475-9557, caffereggio.com); and Brooklyn Heights' charming Iris Cafe (20 Columbia Pl between Joralemon and State Sts, Brooklyn Heights; 718-722-7395). Find more laid-back cafs here. 26. Try Brazil's national dish Brazilians know it as feijoada, and they flock to Queens restaurant Favela Grill (33-18 28th Ave at 34th St, Astoria, Queens; 718-545-8250, favelagrill.com) every Saturday for this taste of home, a stew of bacon, pork, ribs and beans served over rice ($17.95). 27. Share some fine fondue Grab your sweetie for a night of hot dipping (no, that's not a filthy pun) at any of our favorite fondue places, like Artisanal (2 Park Ave at 32nd St; 212-725-8585, artisanalbistro.com), where the restaurant's signature blend is an amalgam of Emmentaler, Comt and other cheeses ($30, serves two to three people). On Sunday nights throughout winter, hit up Trestle on Tenth (242 Tenth Ave at 24th St, 212-645-5659), where you can split traditional Swiss fondue ($24 per person). 28. Sip tea Until 7pm at Cha-An Tea House (230 E 9th St between Second and Third Aves; 212-228-8030, chaanteahouse.com), hungry tea fiends should choose the Afternoon Tea Set, which comes with bagel sandwiches, scones and other sweets, and tea ($18). For the less famished, a pot from the hefty selection will do nicely, like Ceylon ($6). At Greenwich Village's comfy Tea Spot (127 MacDougal St between 3rd and 4th Sts, 212-505-1248), warm up with some Darjeeling, Silver Needle and other blends (cup $3.75, pot $5.50). For more top teahouses, click here. 29. Work outGet your heart rate going—and come away with a bodacious behind, amazing arms, tight abs and gorgeously sculpted gams—by checking out our new, comprehensive guide to getting fit. 30. Enjoy a bowl of steaming congee At the perpetually crowded LES spot Congee Village (100 Allen St between Broome and Delancey Sts; 212-941-1818, congeevillagerestaurants.com), pick from a list of 30 verities of the restaurant's namesake dish (an Asian rice porridge), which you can order with pork liver, squid, beef and other ingredients. Oh, and this treat is also really cheap ($3.50--$8.95). Additional reporting by Michael McKenzie Holiday treats Sample seasonal delicacies from around the globe. See more in Things to Do The best New York bars and cocktails for winter

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Interview with Ari Graynor and Cheyenne Jackson of the Performers

The Performers promises to be one of the season’s hottest shows. Get a sneak peek at the steamy comedy with two of its stars: Ari Graynor and Cheyenne Jackson. Set against the backdrop of the adult-entertainment industry and starring a red-hot cast, rom-com The Performers has all the right components to be one of the sultriest plays on Broadway this winter. Two of its leads, Ari Graynor and Cheyenne Jackson, talked to us about their characters, shared their favorite New York bars and fantasized about their alter egos. Time Out New York: You both play porn stars in the new Broadway comedy The Performers. What attracted each of you to the show and to your specific characters? Ari Graynor: Peeps is probably my favorite character I’ve ever played. I’ve loved all my characters, but she is like one big open heart. She’s so funny and so fully herself. She has no filter and is just all vulnerability and love, and I just thought the play was so funny and really honest in its ridiculous hilarity. Cheyenne and I did a couple readings together [about 15 months ago], and we also had such instant chemistry. Cheyenne Jackson: I was going to say, was it love at first sight?  Ari Graynor: Yeah, it was. Cheyenne Jackson: The thing that attracted me was the script. It was the funniest script, hands down, that I’ve read in two years. I wanted to do something new and challenge myself, and this is the boldest, most naked character, emotionally and physically, that I’ve ever played. Somehow, innately, I knew what [my character, Mandrew] sounded like, how he moved, I knew what his fears were, I just knew him for some reason. And Ari and then everybody else started coming in. Time Out New York: How did you go about developing your characters? Since your characters are a couple, is that something you did together? Cheyenne Jackson: Kind of a mix of both. I always start from scratch—you have to if you want to make a living, breathing person that seems like a real person. When something is drawn so broadly and could be cartoony, the most important thing is to make the stakes and their life decisions and their relationships real and as probable as possible. I interviewed a lot of adult performers and really wanted to see why [Mandrew] is the way he is. Ari and I talked about our relationship and why we are the way we are.… We’re still discovering. Ari Graynor: It’s funny because we all sat around the table for the first couple of days as you do, and we would have these moments where we all got incredibly serious about the subtexts, about the relationships, about the mysteries, about the backstory—as you need to, no matter what the material—and there were moments where it’s as if we’re exploring Hamlet, but we’re talking about the subtext to a line where somebody calls somebody else a taint-faced fuck or something, you know? [Laughs] The language can be different, but the emotional lives are the same no matter whether you’re doing Shakespeare or Stoppard or something else.… The emotional life is all the same. Time Out New York: What kind of research did you do for your roles? Ari Graynor: For me, I was most concerned about understanding the inner life of this woman. To me it kind of had less to do with porn; it’s not a documentary about porn, you know? I wanted to be true to the story that we were telling about her. Cheyenne Jackson: It’s different for men than it is for women in the industry. If you’re good at it, and women want to work with you, you can work until you’re in your sixties. So it was important for me to understand why these guys got into it, how it affects their personal lives, what do their families think about it and their psyche. What causes someone to think, Oh, I’ll do that! Time Out New York: How did what you learned impact your portrayal of Mandrew? Cheyenne Jackson: He is so passionate; he really thinks this is a true art form. He thinks he’s, like, Steven Soderbergh. The stakes couldn’t be higher for these people. It means everything. This is their one night to be special. They’re stars, and they wear their hair up, and they wear a Badgley Mischka dress, and it’s really important to them. There’s a line in our show, I don’t want to give it away, but somebody wins a category that’s shocking to even say—but to her, it’s like winning Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. Time Out New York: I have to ask—how skimpy do your costumes get? Cheyenne Jackson: We’ve made a conscious decision to not talk about how naked I get, but suffice to say that the people who come to see that [aspect] will be satisfied. [Laughs] Ari Graynor: That’s so cheeky! What, are you going to screw the whole audience?  Cheyenne Jackson: No! But that’s the million-dollar question, and I think it’s important to have some kind of air of mystery about it. Time Out New York: So what would be your real-life porn names? Ari Graynor: It’s your childhood pet and the street that you grew up on. So mine is Yaya Highledge. Cheyenne Jackson: Nice. Mine is Conan Meadows. Time Out New York: Do you have backstories for those names? Cheyenne Jackson: I think he would be an ex-football player, not so bright. Before that he worked at a Dairy Queen, and somebody asked him to enter a hot-body competition, and he got a lot of attention. He thought, I can’t play sports anymore so I’ll dance, and that segued into porn. Ari Graynor: Yaya Highledge grew up on the East Coast. She was an intellectual, and she got upset that there wasn’t more accessible porn for women.… Cheyenne Jackson: I love it; this is going completely the other way. Ari Graynor: She entered the porn world as an entrepreneur and started a company that made porn for women, which is just really hot sex with good-looking people, nothing too outrageous. Then she created a magazine for it. She directs as well, but she was the first star of the company. Time Out New York: So when you’re not channeling your characters on the stage, where do you like to relax and grab a drink around town? Ari Graynor: The Bowery Hotel is always a great place to meet people for drinks. It’s so cozy in there, especially in the late fall and winter. I love the Kabin in the East Village. That’s another sort of local, hidden spot where I always run into friends. Cheyenne Jackson: I love the Standard Grill. We go there a lot.  Ari Graynor: Little Owl in the West Village is another great holiday spot. And Hudson Clearwater is a little speakeasy over there.  Cheyenne Jackson: [My husband and I] live in Midtown, which is now, like, gayer than Chelsea, so there’s all kinds of fun little places like 44 ½ , which is nice because you can actually have a conversation. It’s not so loud. There’s also a new tequila place on Ninth called Añejo Tequileria. It’s all kinds of tequila—coffee tequila, spicy tequila, stuff that you wouldn’t normally think is good, but it’s good! But after, like, the first one, or the second one, everything is good. The Performers is playing at the Longacre Theatre, 220 W 48th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave (theperformersonbroadway.com). $34.50–$197. Opens Wed 14. You might also like The Performers A show that puts Henry Winkler, Cheyenne Jackson, Alicia Silverstone and Daniel Breaker onstage together? Pornography sure makes strange bedfellows in young playwright David West Read’s new play about friends in the adult-film industry. And yes, in case you were wondering: It is a romantic comedy. We were there: Cheyenne Jackson's Cocktail Hour The very handsome entertainer got retro. Cheyenne Jackson headed back to the Mad Men era, musically, this weekend at Carnegie Hall. The versatile star of stage and screen performed swinging hits with the New York Pops (under the direction of Steven Reineke) and special guests including his 30 Rock coworker Jane Krakowski. Audience members got into the act with a costume contest at intermission. It's almost enough to leave us longing for the Eisenhower era (except, you know, without all the repression and homophobia). @timeoutnygay See more in Gay & Lesbian. Interview: Bonnie & Clyde's Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan The smooth criminals from the new Broadway show on playing outlaws and the cast's hangouts. The stars of the new Broadway musical Bonnie & Clyde are both theater vets in their mid-twenties with killer rsums: Laura Osnes parlayed her win on NBC's goofy Grease: You're the One That I Want reality competition into a legit NYC stage career with parts in South Pacific and Anything Goes, while Jeremy Jordan has appeared in Rock of Ages and West Side Story, and just finished a critically acclaimed run in the musical Newsies at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse. But this is the first time the actors have originated roles on the Great White Way, and they're clearly intoxicated with their parts. Did either of you have any qualms about playing a pair of famous Depression-era outlaws? Laura Osnes: Not at all. I've always played nave ingenues, and it's really fun to change it up and be someone completely different. This role lets me explore that darker sensual side, and I also get to sing in a new style. I do big, belty power ballads with a little bit of country, soul and folk thrown in. Jeremy Jordan: I've never even seen the movie. I did all of my research by reading books to find out what happened in real life. There are a lot of misconceptions about Clyde; the film took a lot of liberties. There's no historical evidence that he was impotent or had no sex drive. In our show, you find out what Bonnie and Clyde's lives were like before they became criminals.Osnes: You get to see them as real people. They didn't kill and rob because they were on a crazy rampage, they did it to survive. Jordan: It's exciting to play somebody who could be so easily hated. I have to find a way to force people to empathize with Clyde. At the end, when they die, I want the audience to feel sad about it. Do you think opening the show now feels particularly timely, what with Occupy Wall Street and sky-high unemployment? Osnes: We were just talking about that. Our show tells the story of the Depression, and here we are in a recession. Jordan: It's very relevant. Bonnie and Clyde grew up in absolute poverty. They didn't go to school or have any money; the only way they could figure out how to get ahead was to steal. The banks were foreclosing on everyone's homes. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that struggle. Sounds like the kind of material that could drive you to drink!Jordan: [Laughs] Since it's such a vocally demanding show, we don't tend to drink very much. If it's been a particularly hard day, we'll go somewhere near the theater that's quiet. Any particular Broadway cast hangouts you can share? Jordan: Grass House Tavern, Sardi's, The House of Brews...Osnes: It really depends on the cast. There's not one bar that every theater person goes to.Jordan: Alcohol's alcohol. You'll find it in most places—especially in Midtown. Jeremy, you're from Texas. Do you think Yankees are wusses in terms of our ability to hold our liquor?Jordan: I moved away from Texas when I was 18, so I left before I started drinking. I was a Goody Two-shoes. Osnes: Me too! I didn't drink until I was 21. Jordan: I was a straight-A student and really meek. It's only now that I'm older that I'm being asked to play the bad boy. Jeremy, there are two other actors with your name: a former '90s heartthrob, and a thirtysomething gay Canadian porn star. Has that ever resulted in any confusion? Jordan: I just finished doing the movie [Joyful Noise, playing Dolly Parton's grandson], and my agent had to do a lot of calling around to different movie websites that were automatically linking my name to the '90s guy. Osnes: When I first heard Jeremy was auditioning for Bonnie & Clyde, I looked him up online and found the porn star and asked the casting guys if they were serious! Jordan: [Laughs] Actually, I played a gay call boy in the first professional show I ever did. The guy who was acting opposite me looked me up and was like, 'Oh, my God: I'm working with a gay porn star! I guess he's trying to go legit.' It's time for me to take my name back. Bonnie & Clyde starts previews Nov 4 and opens Dec 1 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. See more in Theater Get tickets to these nominated shows before the awards Peter and the Starcatcher: Tickets from $108 The pop-culture icon who inspired this whimsical prequel—adapted from the 2004 young-adult novel—famously crowed that he would never grow up. Not so for Rick Elice’s story-theater adaptation, in which a dozen zanies act out an epic, larky picaresque that crams in pirates, aristocrats, orphans, mermaids and a giant crocodile. Peter and the Starcatcher has indeed grown up: It’s on Broadway with a steeper ticket price than during its intimate maiden voyage at New York Theatre Workshop last year. And while the production is bigger and shinier, beneath the dazzling, tricked-out proscenium beats the exhilarated heart of a kid who wants to fly. And you can be sure: Peter soars—deliriously high and gloriously far. Despite a confusingly hectic prologue and some overindulgence in tween-oriented twee and campy excess for parents, the show is an astonishing inventory of stage trickery and verbal pyrotechnics. Joint directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers (the latter lately of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) use simple props to summon up a wonderland of images: Ropes are stretched and configured to make a ship’s cramped below-deck or a passageway; green umbrellas conjure a tropical-island forest; and don’t get me started on the household items dragooned for mermaidenly bosoms in the utterly barmy second-act opening number. The actors likewise turn themselves into protean objects of fun: careering from Elice’s fulsome narration to scenes, metatheatrical commenting on said scenes, then back into the storm of prop jokes and punning. Among the best at this are Teddy Bergman as a native-islander chief, Arnie Burton as a clucking nurse and Christian Borle, who nearly steals the show as proto–Captain Hook pirate Black Stache. Swishing about and sputtering malapropisms between bursts of self-delighted villainy, Borle must be seen just for his extended reaction take upon losing a particular appendage. In the more recessive, sensitive role of Boy, the lonely urchin who will be christened Peter and learn to fly, Adam Chanler-Berat sweetly undermines the blond, perky Peter Pan stereotype. And Celia Keenan-Bolger adds spunk and pluck as his defender, Molly. For a show that so deftly juggles scale, you have to admit: Peter has found its perfect size.—David Cote Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote Newsies: Tickets from $114.75 No one knows what to do with newspapers these days. They kill trees, get your fingers smeary and, in the event their stories are actually true, lag behind the Internet. Anyone who works at a daily (or even—gulp!—a weekly) frets constantly about impending obsolescence. So imagine what a joy it is to see the dear old things so gainfully employed in Disney’s barnstorming, four-alarm delight Newsies. The “papes,” as they’re called by the show’s scrappy New Yawk street hawkers, are indispensable props. They’re stuffed greedily into sacks, hurled as missiles during fights, even spread on the floor for an impromptu dance surface. But it’s not just the clever recycling of tabloid sheets that endears you to this bright, invigorating extravaganza: Not since Wicked has there been a big-tent, family-friendly Broadway musical that gets so much so right. Set during the city’s newsboy strike in the summer of 1899, Newsies takes the diverting Disney film and adds extra tunes and many more high-jumping dances for the spunky male ensemble. The Alan Menken–Jack Feldman score pleasingly blends music-hall orchestral swing and power pop, and Feldman’s lyrics are more graceful than you’d expect from a show aimed primarily at tweens. Harvey Fierstein’s book brims with sass and big-hearted sympathy for the underdog. And director Jeff Calhoun’s designers balance a gray-brown palette with splashes of color (mostly from costumes), creating grit to rub up against the material’s built-in melodrama and sentimentality. Jeremy Jordan is a charismatic wonder in the lead role of Jack Kelly, the kindhearted teen who dreams of escaping to Santa Fe but accepts the mantle of hero, unionizing the newsies and standing up to antilabor magnate Joseph Pulitzer (John Dossett, squeezing notes of subtlety from a villain role). Old-fashioned book musicals with pluck, brains and heart are so rare these days; when you see one as blissfully fun as Newsies, it belongs on the front page in 72-point type.—David Cote Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote Nice Work if You Can Get It: Tickets from $168.75 There’s a game you can play at the new Gershwin songbook musical, Nice Work if You Can Get It. As you watch Matthew Broderick deliver yet another awkward, depressive and vocally thin performance, just superimpose other actors on his stiff, wincing figure. Reg Rogers? Sure, he would project the right level of screwball-horndog zest as skirt-chasing playboy Jimmy Winter. Josh Grisetti is funny as hell—and has singing chops. Maybe Christian Borle can get out of Peter and the Starcatcher. Is Norbert Leo Butz too old? Does it matter? Once your replacement reveries have faded, though, you’re back to grim reality: Somebody miscast Broderick again. It’s a pity, because other elements surrounding him have real talent and charm. Chief among them, heaven-sent Kelli O’Hara, playing tomboy bootlegger Billie Bendix. O’Hara’s old-timey soprano slips perfectly into the wistful swing of the Gershwin tunes, those swoony blends of George’s wry melancholy and Ira’s pushy-rhyme flash. And there are tasty supporting turns by Jennifer Laura Thompson as Jimmy’s snooty, sexually withholding fiancée; Judy Kaye as an uptight Prohibitionist; and Michael McGrath as a wisecracking hooch smuggler. Joe DiPietro’s new book (spun from Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse’s material for the 1926 Gershwin vehicle Oh, Kay!) may strain for laughs in dopey repetitive banter, cheap wordplay and crass humor, but this is not meant to be sophisticated stuff, and DiPietro guides us fairly gracefully into each number. In the end, those tunes and a few witty dances (director Kathleen Marshall also choreographs) aren’t enough to overcome the central hollowness. Hobbled by a tentative, unhappy-looking Broderick, this retro romp of Jazz Age silliness has all the fizz of a champagne bottle left uncorked for 86 years.—David Cote Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote Once: Tickets from $111.38 Sometimes, you fall hard on the first date. Maybe the second. But the worst is when you want to love a person badly, but each time you connect, you leave more doubtful and dissatisfied. That’s my unenviable position in regard to Once, the often glorious and inspiring, but also twee and attenuated musical that moved to Broadway after a run downtown at New York Theatre Workshop. The moody, romantic piece is based on the 2006 indie film, and in the transfer from screen to stage, it has gained about 40 minutes, a few extra tunes and a great deal of gratuitous quirk. Many are besottedly serenading Once,but I just can’t. To be sure, there’s no shortage of talent on the Bernard B. Jacobs stage, where audience members can gather for an informal preshow jam with the cheery, instrument-playing ensemble. The jolly village vibe continues throughout: John Tiffany stages the action in a unit pub set, with cast members watching from the sidelines. It’s a neat concept, but it undercuts the material’s poignant themes of social disconnection and stasis. Still, as the unconsummated lovers, Irish busker Guy and Czech immigrant Girl, Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti have terrific chemistry. They sing the score’s plangent folk ballads (by the film’s original actor-composers, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová) with heartbreaking openness. But for all that, book writer Enda Walsh’s belabored humor, based mostly on lazily sketched supporting characters, begins to grate. And the last half hour’s mopey pacing turns what was wistful understatement into maudlin manipulativeness. There’s simply not enough narrative or emotional content to support a two-act structure. Ironically, if I had spent less time with this fascinating creature, then it might have actually swept me away.—David Cote Follow David Cote on Twitter. Interview: Benjamin Walker and the cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson   Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson's arrival on Broadway is like The Social Network's premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 24: entirely of the moment. At once extroverted and navel-gazing, the musical is led by Benjamin Walker as our nation's seventh President, who's styled like a Brooklyn-buzz-band frontman. Sung in the raw, angsty style that typifies emo and indie rock, the show is cut with a kind of subversive humor, like politicians publicly calling each other out on being assholes in plain, often obscene, language. While Rent and Spring Awakening and, more recently, American Idiot have attempted to bring a gutsier, more aggressive tone to the Theater District, BBAJ sets itself apart: Through Jackson's obsession with populism and frequent discourse—raising the common man above the wealthy elite—the musical draws timely parallels to the Obama administration, the tea party and our current widespread sense of national insecurity. In the heat of the midterm elections, Walker and his costars Emily Young and Kate Cullen Roberts discussed the nervousness of the electorate, not to mention dressing-room moonshine and the power of one pair of ridiculously tight pants. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has hit Broadway at an interesting time. Four years ago, when you opened at the Public, did you sense that the show would be so prescient? Benjamin Walker: At first, it was about Bush—Jackson felt like he had an election stolen from him, which was very poignant at the time. Then we thought it was about [Hillary] Clinton, and then we thought it was about Sarah Palin, then Obama. Emily Young: Obama and populism.Walker: Exactly. The populism idea can resonate with the [grassroots] Obama campaign or with the tea-party movement. That's the American dilemma, it can go either way. Kate Cullen Roberts: The script hasn't really changed that much. It's been around for years.Walker: We were way ahead of the tea party. I actually think the tea party is trying to rip off our play.How do you think the play reflects what we're experiencing at this moment, with the midterm elections, Obama's waxing and waning popularity, and Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity? Walker: It's in those moments where Jackson and the country grow up. Girls are fun, but there's a point where relationships are serious. Campaigning is fun, and then when you're in the White House, what do you do? I think the play does that well.Young: Actually, we're seeing that now. In these midterm elections, there's been a lot of talk about that tag phrase "Change you can believe in" and where that has gone.BBAJ has its way with history—it's self-referential, ironic, anachronistic, mashed-up with contemporary references. Young: I look forward to surprising the audience with treating history in a flippant or shocking way. We take history seriously enough to mention Alexis de Tocqueville, or that James Madison said something prescient but he was kind of... a bad word. [The show calls him a "dick."]  I feel like it wakes up a latent thing for everyone. Walker: You learn history in school, and you have a reverential feeling toward it. But by being irreverent, it feels current.Cullen Roberts: And very modern in its humor.Walker: Dirty, and unapologetic too. You think of George Washington, this man who was larger than life, and in some ways he was. But at the same time, he's just a person. Politicians today are just as fallible as they were then.  Ben, you have more swagger than the average indie-rocker. Which is cool, given that the style of this play is rooted in self-loathing emo.Walker: The play traces Jackson through his entire life. You watch him learn swagger, and learn how to be a leader. The diverse nature of emo lets us have both—the whiny child and the rocker.Right, because the main thrust of emo is the idea that becoming an adult is unbearable.Walker: This show is about the coming-of-age of Andrew Jackson and the country. And emo is about self-awareness; that point in your life when you become old enough to be self-aware. We're trying to re-create what it felt like back then—the experience of being young, in a young country, telling off our parents and doing what we want to do. A few years later, we woke up and realized we killed an entire race of people.The play is relentless—it's 90 minutes with no intermission, and the dialogue is packed with rapid-fire jokes about James Monroe's douche-baggery, murdering Native Americans and "wealthy New England Congress fucks." Have you ever just lost it and laughed on stage?Walker: All the time. Fighting it just makes it worse. We're not doing Molire or Shakespeare here.     The reviews are divisive. The irreverence of the show seems to really speak to people or truly upset them—and you're also part of a movement that's bringing a new sound to Broadway, which not everyone appreciates.Young: It's personal in some ways to everybody. Our show has to touch a nerve because it's so current and political. Politics can really galvanize you no matter what, because it really has to do with you as a citizen and your belief systems. I think it's amazing that some reviews can use language like sophomoric, while other reviews can talk about the same thing being incisive and biting. Some people think this is moving the world forward, and some people think it's regressive. But that to me is progress.Speaking of progress, the rock & roll debauchery you engage in is atypical of the usual Broadway polish. Do you pour anything interesting in those silver mugs to toss back onstage?Walker: No. We have them right before a big knife fight, so we gotta take it easy.What would you put in them?Walker: Ah, what wouldn't we put in them?!? [Laughs]When you go out drinking as a cast, what do you order?Cullen Roberts: Maker's Mark Manhattan, I've been enjoying that.Young: There's two loves in my life: a single-malt Scotch and now, a Hendrick's gimlet. It's fresh.Walker: I think most of the men in the show are just whiskey drinkers. Bourbon. Knob Creek. Don't mess with it. Maybe put an ice cube in it. Otherwise, just let it burn and call it a night. Do you frequent bars in the Theater District after shows?Walker: Yeah, we like Pony Bar, O'Hurley's, Three Monkeys in midtown. Everyone on the show is a good time. There's not a weak link. I mean, look at them! [Points at his costars] They're line-dancing of their own volition. Midtown is hard because the problem is, you're either not welcome somewhere or you don't want to be there. When we were downtown at the Public, we used to go to Swift. A few dressing rooms are also like bars.You mean during the show?Walker: No, we drink there afterward. I mean, the producers gave us moonshine opening night, for crying out loud. It's in the spirit of the show—blatant adolescence, seeing how far you can push stuff.Is there a bar in NYC that you think would be Andrew Jackson's local?Walker: Union Hall. It's perfect. It's rustic, it has a youthful feel, fireplaces, books, bocce ball... Where could you see [Governor-elect] Andrew Cuomo or Carl Paladino knocking one back? Walker: Some Dumpster in midtown? Both of them, sharing a Scotch.Young: In the same bar.Walker: Somewhere they congregate and drink baby's tears. Much has been made of the absurdly tight pants that Ben wears in the show. I feel like the ladies are left out. Is there something we don't know about your costumes?Cullen Roberts: The girls wear Bumpits! Especially during the edgier, rockier numbers. I like to channel Snooki.And Ben, do you wear jeans that constricting on your own time?Walker: No! Absolutely not. Those are built-in knee-pads, people may be interested to learn. They remind me of a pair of leggings Lindsay Lohan once designed.Walker: They're necessary. Everybody takes a thorough whupping in this show.Are they difficult to take off?Walker: It's not pleasant. Hey, can you explain to me why some dudes wear those tight, tight pants but they're loose up top so you can't move and your ass is hanging out at the same time?No. But I do know some boys who used to wear skinny jeans from the girls' department.Walker: What?!? Oh God.Come on, could you imagine doing what you do in a pair of wide-legged skater jeans?Walker: No. Absolutely not. That's a good point. It has to be this. I gotta take one for the team. I'm 28 years old, and my whole career, thus far, has been based entirely on my pants. The best New York bars and cocktails for winter

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