Make the most of the long holiday weekend by dining at one of these great restaurants open on Labor Day. Whether your idea of a relaxing day off means drinks galore, brunching all day or ordering a hot fudge sundae at the bar, there’s a place for you to celebrate—including some of New York’s best outdoor bars and rooftop restaurants. Those best movies on Netflix can wait until winter; here’s where you should grab a meal on Labor Day instead.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Labor Day in NYC
Best restaurants open on Labor Day
Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman's “tiny little backwoods juke joint in Bed-Stuy” will be open for business as usual on Labor Day. With a more casual vibe than its sister restaurant, Peaches, the HotHouse presents some of the forgotten dishes of the South, like deep-fried and spicy Nashville-style hot chicken, and creamy rice balls made from an heirloom variety of the grain grown in the Carolinas.
For a family-friendly holiday spot to kick back without bothering with grills and picnic-packing, Keith McNally's popular hangout is open for regular business hours. As friendly to children as it is to the Lower East Side bar-hop contingent, staffers stand at the ready to dispense crayons and fold up strollers as you settle in with a Pimm's cup.
Venue says: “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Essex & Jameson. $6 Jameson Shots + $7 Jameson Cocktails 5pm-Midnight!”
A slick, sexy refuge for subscribers to the “I am where I eat” school of dining out, Essex's corner location is prime for your Labor Day no-work fiesta times. The food is not really the point, but it’s fine: Upscale takes on LES staples like potato pancakes strive to give the menu some local cred. It’s not the cheapest place on the block, but when you’re arriving from the Upper East Side in a taxi, money’s probably not much of an issue anyway.
Just another Monday at Katz's, enjoy all the meats from morning to night at the cavernous cafeteria. It's a repository of New York history—glossies of celebs spanning the past century crowd the walls, and the classic Jewish deli offerings are nonpareil. Start with a crisp-skinned, all-beef hot dog for just $3.10. Then flag down a meat cutter and order a legendary sandwich. The brisket sings with horseradish, and the thick-cut pastrami stacked high between slices of rye is the stuff of dreams. Everything tastes better with a glass of the hoppy house lager; if you’re on the wagon, make it a Dr. Brown’s.
Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori (Chalk Point Kitchen, Las Vegas's DJT) grills hefty sandwiches, like a chorizo burger with pickled jalapeño and a blue-cheese–topped steak au poivre, at this low-key patty joint pouring local brews (Sixpoint, Brooklyn Brewery). On Labor Day, both locations will have regular Monday hours, and will be offering an All American Special: the All American Burger with a Miller High Life for $17.
The Murray Hill café spin-off serves the same menu of Mediterranean-influenced salads and sandwiches, plus pastries and coffee. Early risers can dig an Israeli breakfast composed of eggs, salad, avocado, sliced cheeses and whipped cream cheese. At lunch, grab one of the Euro toasts (like Havarti, sliced tomato and an herb butter spread on ciabatta) or opt for one of the vegetable plates, such as Moroccan beets, couscous or baked cauliflower. Enjoy all the same breakfast and lunch favorites on Monday, when the full menu will be served like any other day.
The Battery Park beer hall will stay open for Labor Day revelers from noon til midnight, with $5 beer specials and indoor and outdoor games like beer pong, shuffle board and giant Jenga. At the marble bar, 20 taps rotate selections of hard-to-find brews: Huyghe Delirium Tremens, Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Rouge and De Halve Maan Straffe Hendrik Bruges Triple, available in pints, half pints or third pints. Pub grub includes Bavarian fare like spaetzle, soft pretzels and house-made brats, such as an all-beef link with pickled tomato relish, and lamb sausage infused with cumin and ginger.
Open from noon til midnight on Labor Day, Ambrose Beer and Lobster's rustic chic craft beer hall will have $5 beer specials on the docket all day long, as well as bar games like giant chess and beer pong to keep the party going. All the usual 12 rotating seasonal and locally-sourced brews are on tap per usual, served from two custom-built black iron tap towers in front of a curated selection of artisanal and small batch whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gin, and tequila offerings. And lobster-centric menu items as well, like the famous Maine Lobster Roll, Warm Connecticut Lobster Roll, Fresh Lobster Salad, Lobster Grilled Cheese, Parmesan and Truffle Oil French Fries and more! Signature cocktails such as The Starboard, The Shipwreck and Jacobs Ladder round out the offerings with light, refreshing takes on vodka and rum.
Planning out your Labor Day weekend?
Zen Ramen & Sushi
Centered right in the middle of the ever-so busy Herald Square, Zen Ramen & Sushi is your jackpot sushi and ramen spot. With more than 20 sushi and ramen options, Zen can fill any Asian cuisine lover’s desire. The décor is decked out in rustic Japanese style while the service is impeccably quick and welcoming. If you’re looking for something swift and delicious, try the karaage ($9). Fried to perfection, the karaage is Japanese style fried boneless chicken strips adorned with a matching mayonnaise dip. If you’re looking for a sushi fix, try the tuna ($6), salmon ($5) or yellowtail scallion ($6). All three selections come with two sushi roles and are simple enough for the basic beginner, but senior enough for the decorated admiral. Top those off with the Japanese beer, Echigo Stout ($8) and your taste palate will rise a few degrees. For a heftier meal, try the beef ramen ($15). Cooked with beef broth, roasted chashu beef, iceberg lettuce, menma bamboo, sweet corn, scallion and arugula. This great bowl of noodles is strong enough to feed a small army, but savory enough to have one bite and taste a world of flavors. Finish your meal with an adorable helping of green tea ice cream. Get ready to unbuckle your belt at this hidden midtown gem. BY TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER: EMY RODRIGUEZ
Venue says: “Happy Hour served everyday: 4pm-8pm - Beer, Wine, and Cocktails $5.00!”