After exchanging some important Fiona the Hippo content and discovering a mutual admiration for Canadian sitcoms, you’ve pinpointed a few coworkers that you could maybe see yourself being friendly with outside the office. But before you commit to anything serious (like a birthday party invite or riding the subway together), you might find yourself planning a casual group drinks situation. You want a place with at least one cool thing going for it, even if it’s just a reasonable Happy Hour or some good chicken wings - but you’re probably not looking for anything too full of strangers doing tequila shots. After all, you’ll see all these people at work tomorrow.
The Workweek Guide is presented in partnership with Cole Haan. All restaurants and bars featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team.
If you could command your Sims to go to a neighborhood Sims bar, the one in the game would probably look a lot like The Magician. Because (unlike most of the other spots on the LES) this place checks all the “normal bar” boxes: there are plenty of places to sit with a group, there’s a jukebox playing classic rock, and you can get a gin and tonic for around $7. (We don’t know the exchange rate for Sim dollars at the moment.)
If one of the things that unites your group of coworkers is the fact that you all keep talking about breweries during lunch, DBA is a good first non-lunch meeting place. This is a beer bar in the East Village where you can show off how much you think you know about pilsners. They have a ton of different beer options from all over the country (and world), and a backyard that happens to be dog-friendly. So go forth and argue with your coworkers and their dogs about whether or not cucumber beer should exist.
The dream: you like your coworkers enough to travel from Midtown to Bushwick and do something unusual like tap your own cider. The reality: you want to get home at a decent hour and you don’t care too much where you drink with these people (as long as you can sit). So come to this Garment District spot during Happy Hour, when you can get sangria for $8 and discounted bar snacks. There are usually sports on here, too, if that’s a selling point.
If there are only two or three of you, and you want to drink good tropical cocktails while catching up on the latest office gossip, try Donna in Williamsburg. It gets somewhat crowded, so we wouldn’t suggest bringing 15 people here (but you’ll get better intel with a small group anyway).
E’s Bar on 84th and Amsterdam has something for everyone: a burger, a big bar with TVs, jenga, and, sometimes, trivia and open mic nights. If you basically know nothing about these people (other than that they’re willing to drink with you on the UWS), these activities should help ease you all into friendship. Or at least a deeper sense of work-acquaintance-ship.
The Garret Nolita is crowded pretty much every night, and while it’s a fun place to come and drink slushies, it’s also pretty loud - so maybe leave it for the third or fourth time you’ve all hung out after work. Unless you want to scream that well-honed explanation about how your college major had nothing to do with what you do now.
It took a few months, but you just realized that your deskmate, like you, is into wine. As soon as you stop talking about making plans to drink together and actually do make plans to drink together, come to this Greenwich Village spot and try a Happy Hour wine flight.
This is a divey spot in Tribeca where there’s a Happy Hour until 8pm every day, the food is pretty good, and you can usually get seats. So use it when the citizens of your newly-minted private Slack channel decide to get spur-of-the-moment Thursday drinks “someplace easy,” and turn to you for a brilliant suggestion.
Coming here feels a little like walking into a Victorian fever dream, complete with stained-glass windows, golden taps, and marble fireplaces. This Nomad bar serves over 300 different kinds of whiskey, and you can make reservations online if you and your almost-friend coworkers want to be sure you can sit down.
It’s possible your office is in Midtown, but after 6pm, you’d rather pretend it isn’t. Before everyone goes their separate ways for the night, suggest The Polynesian. This is a tropical-themed rooftop bar from the people behind The Grill and Carbone, and like those places, it’s pretty decadent. Get some tiki cocktails - or a $65 fishbowl of punch that serves four, in the name of “bonding.”
Faces And Names is also within walking distance of the Port Authority, and more of a “have a beer or two” kind of place than The Polynesian. There’s a fireplace in the back, and a wall full of cartoon portraits of celebrities. So when you run out of work-related things to talk about, you can move on to bigger questions like, “Which Christopher Walken movie is the worst?” and “Should we move further away from this fire?”
Finding a nice place to drink cocktails in Kips Bay might feel even harder than becoming real-life friends with the people who share your office fridge. Stay Gold can help you with both things at once. It’s pretty casual, and you can get anything from a frozen bourbon cocktail to an interesting IPA. They also do a daily Happy Hour from 5-8pm, and have a backyard with picnic tables and string lights.
Holiday Cocktail Lounge can get pretty busy as the night goes on, but if you go right after work, it’s a nice, laid-back option on St. Marks. Grab a table or two in the back and get some Happy Hour drinks (and/or mini Long Island Iced Teas), plus a few snacks to share.
This West Village spot is popular, and bound to be busy. But it’s a fun place to talk to coworkers about non-business things like whether or not you’re currently equipped to be a good dog parent. There are a ton of whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails, and you may even wind up chatting with some strangers - whether you consider that “networking” or just “meeting people in real life” is up to you. (There’s a full dinner menu here as well, but the food is disappointing - so after a few rounds, go somewhere else in the West Village with anyone who wants to stay out.)
The alcohol part of Ethyl’s Alcohol & Food is pretty predictable (which is perfectly fine for this occasion), but the food is more interesting than what you’ll find at most other bars. There’s savory mozzarella French toast, calamari, cheese curds covered in gravy, and a good burger. So if everyone is hungry enough to eat dinner but too commitment-phobic to actually go sit down at a restaurant, try this ’70s-themed bar on the UES.
You come to The Scratcher for Happy Hour, and because it’s possible all of your closest work friends live in the East Village. This is the kind of low-key, subterranean place that puts a sign up turning away SantaCon drinkers every year. Their daily Happy Hour goes until 8pm, and you can get $2 off well drinks and beer that are already $7 or $8 in the first place.
Old Town has been around since 1892, and it has plenty of space, a long marble bar, a pretty good burger, and bathrooms that look like they haven’t been updated in about a hundred years. It’s also right around the corner from Union Square, so it’s pretty convenient no matter where people need to end up.
Yes, the name “Horses And Divorces” will probably get your colleagues’ attention on its own. But you should know that this place is also actually fun - and that all of the cocktails are $10. Play some pool, drink a martini, and boom: no more asking “How was your weekend?” without actually meaning it.