You know what really takes the edge off being in Midtown? Happy hour in Midtown. Not every bar does it, however, and we don’t want you wandering around thirsty and confused - so here we’ve put together a list of some good ones. Trust in any of these happy hours to get you through the work week.
To check out the rest of the Midtown Survival Guide, click here.
When: Weekdays, 5:30-8pm; Saturday, 5:30-10pm; Sunday, All Day
The Deal: $6 Cocktails; $4 Beers; $4 Hot Dogs
The quickest and easiest way to put your work day behind you is to grab a drink at Reunion. It’s a little surf-themed basement bar that feels a little more Daytona Beach than Hawaii - but that’s also part of the fun. Find an empty barstool, get a $6 frozen mojito, then close your eyes and picture some waves.
When: Weekdays, 12-6pm
The Deal: $5 Beers; $10 Cocktails & Rose
Ten-dollar drinks don’t sound that impressive, but keep in mind that Rum House makes the best cocktails in the neighborhood. These guys are for real - you won’t find any cheap sour mix or bright red cherries here. So drop into this cozy room that looks like a fancy 19th Century saloon for some mid-day discounts on select cocktails like a pisco sour or a caipirinha.
When: Daily, 12-6pm
The Deal: $1 Off Drafts
Before 6pm, beer nerds can get a dollar off 12 draft beers (most of which will be local and/or hard to find). And if none of those do it for you, there are hundreds of bottled beers as well. This whole bar is just one cozy little room on West 54th Street, and it’s a good place for a very casual drink with a friend or two.
When: Weekdays, 4-7pm
The Deal: $2 Off Wine & Drafts
Ardesia’s glasses of wine are affordable to begin with, so when you throw on a two-dollar discount, that makes them pretty hard to resist. This place is good for after-work drinks with a friend or coworker who hasn’t had a shot of tequila in at least five years. Ardesia is nice in a very clean and grown-up sort of way, and you and your friend will both feel perfectly justified in having a few too many happy hour drinks here.
When: Daily, 11-7pm
The Deal: $5/$6 Beer, Wine, Well Drinks, Sangria
The Stag’s Head is a nice pub on the East Side where you can hang out with friends and watch whatever game is on TV. It isn’t especially grimy or tourist-filled, and there’s an outdoor space for summer drinking. This place is perfect for a low-key happy hour, and it isn’t the worst spot to be at once happy hour ends.
When: Daily, 5-10pm
The Deal: $5 Cocktails
Hourglass Tavern is a little restaurant in the Theater District, and above it you’ll find Betti Bar - a little spot where you can get cheap drinks until 10pm. The whole setup is a little bit like a speakeasy, but Betti Bar isn’t fancy like those places where you enter through a phone booth. You just sit at a nice plain table, have an affordable cocktail, and enjoy the novelty of drinking in a semi-hidden second-floor bar in Midtown.
When: Daily, 11-9pm
The Deal: $4-$6 Wine, Beer, Well Drinks
Are your priorities cheap drinks and ample seating for you and your friends? Go to McGee’s. Claim a well-used booth then get a few rounds of happy hour drinks. This isn’t the sort of place where we’d get a glass of wine, but the beer here will most likely taste the same as it does at every other bar. Come to McGee’s for no-frills drinking and some slightly old-school vibes.
When: Mon-Sat, 4-7pm; Sun 4-Close
The Deal: $1 Oysters; $7 Wine; $9 Cocktails
We aren’t saying Midtown is prison exactly, but very few people probably think they’re supposed to be there. For those that suspect they’re in the wrong place, there’s The Upsider. This place would be a more natural fit fifty blocks further down Second Ave, but it’s a good thing to have up here. Come for happy hour, and eat cheap oysters in an attractive room that draws young people who would rather be downtown. You can even get a kale salad here - but what you want is the fried chicken.
When: Mon-Wed, 5-7pm; Sat 5-7pm
The Deal: $1-$1.25 Oysters; $3.25 Chowders; $8 Calamari, Fried oyster platter; $7 Wine; $5-$6 Beer; $8 Martinis
If you haven’t been to Grand Central Oyster Bar yet, make this your next happy hour destination. This is a classic NYC restaurant, and it’s one of three reasons to visit Grand Central (the other two being Shake Shack and to catch a train). The dining room is huge with vaulted ceilings, and the seafood selection is extensive. Have some oysters, of course, but also consider pairing a gin martini with a cup of New England clam chowder.
When: Weekdays, 4-7pm
The Deal: $7 Wine; $5 Beers; $7 Well Drinks
This is where you go when you want some cheap happy hour drinks, but you don’t want greasy pub food. Maybe you want some chicken liver mousse or steak tartare. You can get those things at Bottle and Bine (where there’s a full dinner menu). Go here with a date or a client, or maybe just go when you and your friends want to treat yourselves and not feel like children.
When: Daily, 4-7pm
The Deal: $5 Beer; $6 Wine; $7 Cocktails
When’s the last time you ordered a Cosmo? If your answer was “never,” Ivy might not be for you. Then again, you could always just skip the cheap happy hour cocktails and get a beer. Ivy is a long, dark restaurant/bar on Eighth Ave, and it attracts a young-ish, decently sized crowd for happy hour. If you’re hungry, the menu covers all of the fancy bar food bases, with stuff like lobster mac & cheese and truffle fries.
When: Weekdays, 4-8pm
The Deal: $5 Beer, Wine, & Well Drinks
If you’re organizing a group happy hour for you and a bunch of colleagues, Draught 55 has the space to accommodate everyone. There are multiple levels to this bar, and there’s even an an “atrium” area that looks like someone tried to build a pub in a greenhouse (and succeeded). Happy hour is a deal here by just about any standard, and there are plenty of draft beers to choose from. Also, the food menu is enormous, with vegetarian and gluten-free options.