Dive bars

It means more than serving Pabst. Self-medicate solo or wallow with party hounds at one of these scuzzy holes.

Holland Bar

Holland Bar Photograph: David Rosenzweig

Real dive

Holland Bar

Hidden in Port Authority’s shadows, this railroad flat is where you can self-medicate with winos whose spirits are barely higher than bottom-shelf booze. 532 Ninth Ave between 39th and 40th Sts (212-502-4609)

Fake dive

Welcome to the Johnsons

For a slice of imitation sleaze, slink to this engineered dive, a Pabst-slinging pit decorated like a suburban basement circa ’77—and mostly frequented by kids born in the mid-’80s. 123 Rivington St between Essex and Norfolk Sts (212-420-9911)

Bar Great Harry
Bar Great Harry

Photograph: Dave Sanders

Surprisingly good suds

Bar Great Harry

Don’t be deceived by the dim lighting and ratty furniture: The barkeeps dispense superior pints, including sippers from Captain Lawrence and Sly Fox. 280 Smith St at Sackett St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-222-1103)

Filled with moody drunks

Blarney Cove

Grumbles and stink-eyes greet interlopers at this decor-less narrow bunker populated by surly bartenders and hangdog lushes drowning their gloom with hooch. 510 E 14th St between Aves A and B (212-473-9284)

Filled with friendly drunks

Johnny’s Bar

Though the scuffed, heavily stickered hole-in-the-wall appears pit-bull mean, the grizzled barflies possess a cheery bonhomie, doubtlessly aided by daily shot deals and a Motown soundtrack. 90 Greenwich Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-741-5279)

A reason to drink in daylight


Grab a frigid PBR ($1 until 9pm nightly) and crowd onto the coffin-decorated patio at this heavy-metal-haven. There’s nothing quite like headbanging to Black Sabbath and Motörhead while the sun beats down. 28 North 3rd St at Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-0411)

Billymark’s West
Billymark’s West

Photograph: David Rosenzweig

I just want to get drunk

Billymark’s West

Screw small talk: Your sole mission is sitting with gallerists, FIT types and petulant postal workers murdering brain cells with a beer-whiskey sledgehammer. 332 Ninth Ave at 29th St (212-629-0118)

Killer jukebox

Great Lakes

Join geeked-out music junkies for marvelous customer-made mix-CDs. The track lists span from jangly Pavement songs to Hank Williams’s tears-in-your-beer tunes. 284 Fifth Ave at 1st St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-499-3710)

—Joshua M. Bernstein