Least crowded happy hours

Just because these bars are empty doesn't mean they suck.

  • Cowgirl

  • Sycamore

  • Trattoria Cinque


While the gently curved wooden bar collects a thicker crowd as the night wears on, during the 4--6pm happy hour, the place is yours. Head for the quieter back room at this perennial favorite, famous for its rootin' tootin' dude-ranch decor, and lasso yourself a few $3.50 drafts and half-price frozen margaritas ($4.25 for your standard house version, and $5 to $5.50 for special flavors like prickly pear, blood orange or peach). 519 Hudson St at 10th St (212-633-1133, cowgirlnyc.com)

Toby's Public House
This laid-back, chummy neighborhood joint is best known for its crispy-edged, wood-fired, brick-oven pizza ($13--$18), but show up between 4 and 6pm for a buck off your mug o' suds from one of ten tap brews, including Hofbru seasonal and Pennichuck black lager, already an inexpensive $4 to $6 a pop. You can also down $3 well drinks, as well as free nightly noshes (for as long as they last), like a plate of dried sausage, cheese and olives, or focaccia bread with dip. 686 Sixth Ave at 21st St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-788-1186, tobyspublichouse.com)

Trattoria Cinque
The best way to turn a cheap date into a cozy tte--tte is to meet your honey among the bottom-lit, glowing-red bottles of Aperol at Cinque's bar. As the fireplace crackles in the background and you sit beneath dangling Tom Dixon--designed hammered-brass lights, order the "Pie and Peroni" happy-hour special ($20 for two Peronis or glasses of wine, plus one of Milanese chef Mirco Grassini's artisanal pies), and you'll look like a big cheese. 363 Greenwich St between Franklin and Harrison Sts (212-965-0555, trattoriacinquenyc.com)

Despite the fratty-sounding name (that is, if fratboys drank cabernet franc), this sexy little winecentric spot is outfitted with printer's-box--like bottle shelving, exposed-brick walls and square, ample wooden tables—all the better to encourage the sharing of $5 and $6 small plates, like smoked-bacon--wrapped prunes and wild-mushroom truffle crostini. The short but sweet happy hour from 5 to 7:30pm Sunday through Friday offers two-for-one deals on all cocktails, including special mixes such as the fresh-pineapple-and-mint mojito and the spicy pumpkin martini. 31-86 37th St between Broadway and 31st Ave, Astoria, Queens (718-932-3331, winegasmeatery.com)

Burp Castle
Gassy aristocrats aside, this Belgian-heavy bastion of beautiful brews, outfitted with medieval murals and cozy tables, keeps its happy hour civil thanks to a long-held policy of shushing loud talkers to more monastically appropriate levels. Weekdays from 5 to 8pm gets you a buck off the ever-changing dozen tap beers, and Belgian fries are free from 6pm or so on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. 41 E 7th St between Second and Third Aves (212-982-4576, burpcastlenyc.wordpress.com)

Pier 76
Since it opened in late 2009 in St. George, this once-bedraggled Irish dive has become a cheery neighborhood staple, with five big flat-screen TVs for sports lovers and a pretty dark-wood wainscotted back-bar area of tables for those who want to spread out for the stellar thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza (the owners are the offspring of the original Joe & Pat's pizza peeps). But unlike its parent spot, Pier has a full bar that has become a convivial meeting place; you can always find a cushy bar stool for daily cocktail specials—pear martinis are two-for-one on Wednesdays, as are all mixed drinks on Thursdays and Fridays—as well as $2 Bud and Bud Lights on tap and in bottle. 76 Bay St near Slosson Terr, St. George, Staten Island (718-447-7437, pier76si.com)

While most Wall Street bars can get as jam-packed after work as a trading floor during a commodities fire sale, this spacious, firemen-owned watering hole near Trinity Church is the antidote to Financial District drinkin' blues. The reason: its big mahogany bar, its stained-glass windows with pictures of '20s-era ladies and gents, and its happy hour, which doles out $4 tap beers and $5 top-shelf mixed drinks weekdays from 4pm until close, as well as buy-one, get-one free until 8pm. 111 Broadway at Thames St (212-732-5005, suspendersbar.com)

Sycamore Bar
The crowd here is a good, ol' Kensington mix of aging and youthful hipsters alike, as well as Russian and Latino immigrants, and local stroller-parking parents grabbing beers at the garden tables in the good weather. Happy-hour specials change daily but often include half-price well drinks from 5:30 to 8pm, international and craft beers for $3 to $7, and $5 glasses of wine. Happy-hour bonus: Get a beer and a bouquet from the bar's sister flower shop for $10. 1118 Courtelyou Rd between Stratford and Westminster Rds, Flatbush, Brooklyn (347-240-5850, sycamorebrooklyn.com)

10 Downing Food & Wine
From 4 to 7pm, this restaurant (which has its own art curator for more than 20 painters and photographers) cuts the price on its cool cocktail list to $8 (from the usual $14). Sit at the gorgeous, thick, cake-like white marble bar, and watch mixologist Jan Levi Warren shake up original concoctions, such as the Desert Flower (his sweet-spicy mix of Fidencio mezcal, lavender syrup and honey liqueur) or the spring-is-coming Pickle (a pucker mix of fresh dill, Hendrick's gin, lime juice, pickle juice, cucumber and pinch of salt). 10 Downing St at Sixth Ave (212-255-0300, 10downingnyc.com)

Hit up Midtown's sexy, candlelit Volstead early, and not only will you get to slide into a buttery-soft, dark brown leather booth, but you can also nab one of four specialty cocktails, like the Blackberry martini made with fresh muddled berries and served with a sugared rim. They're just $6 each (normally $13) from 4 to 8pm during the "Recess from the Recession" special. 125 E 54th St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-583-0411, thevolstead.com)

This joint, which is more often referred to as Tile Bar, is what you might call a dignified dive with its plain wood bar, smattering of tables against the far wall, and excellent punk- and postpunk-heavy jukebox. Don't miss the mixed bag of great-deal drinks at happy hour from 5 to 8pm every day, including $2.50 Rolling Rocks, Buds and mixed well drinks, as well as most call mixed drinks for $3.50. But wait, there's more: a bonus happy hour from midnight to 4am on Sundays and Mondays, as well as bartenders who still believe in buybacks. 115 First Ave at 7th St (212-254-4317)

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