Costly cocktails or bargain beer?
Whether you're blowing your $600 government check or counting pocket change, there's a bar for spenders big and small.
Thu Jun 19 2008
The clandestine buzzer-entry gimmick at 124 Rabbit Club maybe be old news, but so is the cellar’s selection of aged beers (priced between $10 and $25), such as the nearly decade-old J.W. Lees Harvest Ale. Luxury quaffs also pop up at Beer Table, a slender spot with jam-jar lights and artisanal suds (costing upwards of $30 or $40 for a wine-bottle-size vessel). The rotating list includes the Italian barley wine Baladine Xyauyù, which recently brewed up indignation with its $95 price tag.
Though it’s impossible to avoid ogling the go-go dancers at sultry Barrette, the bar’s real stars are its dozen drafts (including Captain Lawrence and Great Divide, $5–$6), discounted heavily during the two-for-one happy hour (daily 4–7pm). Less flesh is bared at former Laundromat Drop Off Service, but the woodsy hangout makes up for it by dispensing 19 drafts (including Delirium Tremens and Stone Arrogant Bastard) in 20-ounce imperial pints, priced to chug at $3 or $4 (Mon–Fri 3–8pm; Sat, Sun 1–8pm).
Basil martini at 3Steps
The Amex black card was created for evenings at The Carlyle hotel’s regal Bemelmans Bar, where, beneath gold-leaf ceilings, white-jacketed waiters deliver double-digit cocktails, like A-list mixology alum Audrey Saunders’s minty Gin-Gin Mule. Over at Rose Bar, the chic redesign of the Gramercy Park Hotel’s once-stuffy lounge, the slyly subverted libations (like the absinthe-spiked Bohemian Sidecar for $19) are as luxe as the velvet chairs and original art by Andy Warhol and co-owner Julian Schnabel.
Descend 3Steps into this candlelit lounge and plant yourself at the butcher-block bar to enjoy terrific—and terrifically cut-rate—cocktails: Weekdays from 5 to 9pm, bartenders craft $5 martinis (basil martini pictured), Cosmos and Manhattans. Every Monday, $5 buys a marvelous martini (from classic to cappuccino to key-lime pie) at the living-room-style Rapture Lounge , which also offers two-for-one drinks daily until 8pm.
Le Cirque Wine Lounge
The French wines at sleek Solex are as rich as the creamy quiche on the short Gallic menu. It all comes at a price—expect to drop around $70 per person. Opulence also reigns at Le Cirque Wine Lounge, the restaurant legend’s no-jacket-required sibling, featuring French nibbles ($16 to $48) and sommeliers who climb the glass-and-metal wine tower to secure one of 20,000 vintages. Bottles start at $30—and top out at $11,000.
Save big at Black Mountain Wine House, a cozy, farmhouse-style hangout featuring killer charcuterie and Shane’s Pick: a house red or white for $6.50. If that’s not bargain enough, subterranean brick-and-wood nook Jadis offers 30-plus vinos by the glass, including about five serviceable varietals at $5—leaving extra to justify the crusty ham-Gruyère panini ($12).
Lording over Times Square hoi polloi is Highbar (251 W 48th St at Eighth Ave, 212-956-1300), a 16th-story lounge ideal for chillaxing on daybeds while sipping cocktails, like the champagne-and-cachaça Gisele ($18), named after the supermodel, of course. Hell might ice over before she joins the naughty high-rollers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club (641 W 51st St at Twelfth Ave, 212-247-2460) roofdeck, where there’s no cover on Sundays and busty waitresses sate liquid desires—like $10 Buds.
Stripper poles may be alluring, but a sexier attribute at Cattyshackis its spacious deck. The lesbian hang is perfect for cheap pints and chowing on Sunday afternoon’s unlimited-eat-and-drink BBQ ($15). Equally cost-effective is Red Sky Bar and Lounge, where $3 Buds and $4 Cosmos (4–8pm daily) lure penny-pinchers to the palm-tree-strewn rooftop.