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Sunday in Brooklyn
Photograph: Courtesy Sunday in Brooklyn

The best outdoor happy hours in NYC

We’ve got the best outdoor happy hours in NYC for a well deserved post-work drink that won’t break the bank

By Taya Kenny and Time Out New York contributors

When 5 pm rolls around, who says you have to go straight home? Why not take advantage of the sunlight and the long days from the comfort of one of our best outdoor bars! But, since rooftop bars and boat bars can get pricey, we have the budget-conscious covered with happy hours you can enjoy on a roof, in a garden, or by the water, so you can soak up your vitamin D without dipping into your summer vacation fund.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer drinks in NYC

Best outdoor happy hours in NYC

Bonnie Vee
Photograph: Courtesy Jason Baron

1. Bonnie Vee

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

Monday-Friday, 5-8pm. Cocktails for $10, draft beers for $5, wine for $8. 

While the downstairs of Bonnie Vee feels like stepping into Don Draper's dream man-cave, its quaint upstairs patio is a completely different world. Quirky and comfy, lots of padded seating welcomes you to relax with a few friends, and an antique clock on the wall is a fantastic reminder to run downstairs at 7:59pm for one last happy hour bevvy. As far as their specials go, it is one of the most extensive and generous in the city. A "bartender's choice" option for $10 means you can come over and over and always try something new. Also for $10 is the Jessica Rabbit, a frozen strawberry slushy drink with chili-infused Santera Tequila Blanco, which is perfect for a hot afternoon. For $8 enjoy a Pinot Grigio, Malbec or Prosecco, and for $5 have a pint of Goose Island IPA or Narragansett. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Nicholas D.

2. Freehold

Restaurants Coffee shops Williamsburg

Monday– Friday, 10am-7pm. Half off bar. 

The grassy, spacious outdoor area of this bumping Williamsburg hangout is an apt setting for working, relaxing,  or even enjoy a match of outdoor Ping-Pong. In addition to their amazing daily happy hour, they also offer great specials virtually every day of the week. On Mondays, enjoy one of their signature burgers and a beer for $10. On Tuesdays, skip the lines for Maison Premiere and go to them for $1 oysters and $5 wine. Wednesday is $3 draft night, and Thursdays are $6 Moscow Mules. 

Photograph: Courtesy Natalie Keyssar

3. Nowadays

Bars Beer bars Ridgewood

Monday-Friday, 4-7pm. 2 for 1 drinks. 

Mister Sunday founders Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter own this incredible 16,000 sqft seasonal outdoor hangout. Sit among birch trees and honey locust and enjoy artisinal beer and soda specials and barbecue options for eaters of all dietary lifestyles. Ten-percent of the bar's profits benefit Robin Hood, which organizes to fight poverty in the city, so unwind after a long day of work knowing it's for a good cause. 

79th Street Boat Basin Cafe
Photograph: The Drunken Photographer

4. The West 79th Street Boat Basin Café

Restaurants Cafés Upper West Side

Monday-Friday, 3-6pm. $2 off all beer, well liquor and wine. 

Yes, it gets crowded. And yes, it gets crowded with annoyingly preppy UWSers. But the view, the terrace and the breeze make it hard to write off the Boat Basin. Summer in the city almost requires a visit or two to this social hub, and if you don’t mind waiting, you will be rewarded with a cynicism-busting sunset over the Hudson while you down burgers and beers with your best friends.

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
Photograph: Gabriela Herman

5. Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Bars Beer bars Astoria

Monday-Friday, 5-7pm. $4 off all half-litres of beer. 

This authentic Czech beer garden, opened in 1910, offers plenty of mingle-friendly picnic tables, where you can sit while you sample cheap platters of sausage and a solid lineup of European and domestic beers (pints $6, pitchers $16). Though the huge, tree-canopied garden is open year-round, summer is the prime time to soak up some rays over a pint. Prost!

Sea Witch
Photograph: Jessica Lin

6. Sea Witch

Bars Beer bars South Slope

Monday-Thursday, 5-7pm, Friday 3-7pm. $2 off well, wine and tap beer.

As far as backyards go, the Sea Witch may very well have the best in NYC. Grab a seat in the patio and gaze out into the pond, where you will spot many a koi fish, and possibly a turtle or two. For happy hour, in addition to wine and well options, try out one of the 20 on-tap drafts, which balance local craft darlings like Greenport Harbor—try the smooth Black Duck Porter ($5)—with no-frills classics fit for a longshoreman (Guinness, MGD).

Lavendar Lake
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Karin R.

7. Lavender Lake

Bars Gastropubs Gowanus

All day Monday, Tuesday-Friday, 4-8pm. Narragansett Cans $3, Select Drafts $5, House Liquor $6, Select Wine Pours $7, House Cocktails $10.

This quaint 100-seat bar near the Gowanus Canal takes its name from a poetic moniker for the channel's murky waters. Find five rotating draft brews (like Lagunitas IPA and Reissdorf Kölsch) and a handful of cocktails, including the namesake tipple, which is made with lavender-infused vodka, iced tea and lemon. Sip your drink with small plates, like an heirloom-tomato salad and boquerón toast, or heartier dishes such as a burger or steak. The four co-owners boast design backgrounds: Look for their handcrafted furnishings in the converted horse-stable space, including the reclaimed-wood bar, silver-treated mirrors and outdoor patio.

Sally Roots
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

8. Sally Roots

Restaurants Caribbean Bushwick

Mon-Fri 12-7pm. $1 off beer, wine and rails. $8 frozen drinks.

Take a summer Friday and post up for an all day happy hour in this newly opened Bushwick Caribbean restaurant, which features a huge backyard decked out with tropical shrubbery to make you at least pretend you're in Turks and Caicos for the day. 

Loosie's Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Loosie's Cafe

9. Loosie’s Cafe

Bars Williamsburg

Monday-Sunday 12pm-6pm. $5 rotating drink special, $5 rosé and $5 margaritas. 

On the patio of New Orleans-inspired restaurant Loosie's Kitchen, is Loosie's Cafe, a newly opened outdoor space perfect for working, lounging, and of course, drinking! Enter through the beautiful tunnel entrance etched with branches toward a mural by artist Love Berto. Then, enjoy their clean and airy space which is adjacent to their bar (in case you want to make happy hour even happier). Their happy hour cocktail special rotates regularly, so come back often to try new concoctions. The current special is a kale matcha margarita, which is pretty much the liquid equivalent of the gym, right? Keeping true to their NOLA spirit (by way of Williamsburg) they also have $1 oysters during happy hour as well.  

10. Huckleberry Bar

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

Monday-Friday 5-8pm. $3-off house cocktails $2-off draught beer, wines by the glass and well drinks

The name says it all: To be a huckleberry is to be the right one for the job, and Huckleberry Bar is just that. Owners Andrew Boggs and Stephanie Schneider have created an experience that will satisfy any boozer’s desire: choice beers, an ace wine selection, serious cocktails and respectable eats. Every detail, down to a DJ who adjusts the soundtrack to fit the crowd and hour, is tailored to give you what you want. Acquire an intimate table in the expansive room and call for a glass of punch or a house drink such as the Greenbriar, made with oloroso sherry, peach bitters and Lillet.

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