Fun NYC Bars That Aren't Charging Covers For New Year's Eve
There are a few nights a year when going out is an ordeal in New York City. St. Patrick’s is one of them. Halloween is another. But nothing is as hectic as New Year’s Eve. Every bar gets packed with people who felt obligated to go out, and lots of places charge covers. We can’t help with that first bit, but here are some fun spots you can get into without having to hand over $20 at the door.
Parcelle is on the Lower East Side, but it isn’t as chaotic as the other bars in the area. It’s a small, loungy place filled with couches, armchairs, and little tables, and it’s perfect for a fun night out that doesn’t veer into losing-your-phone-in-a-cab territory. They only serve wine, and there’s an extensive collection (because this is also a wine shop), so stop by if your priority is good champagne.
Another Lower East Side spot, Mr. Fong’s is on a quiet block near the Manhattan bridge, and it’s a cool, relatively normal bar that tends to stay the perfect amount of busy. The space isn’t huge, so it can be tough to find a table, but you can always just stand near the bar and mingle with people who shoot OOTD videos.
Corner Social always feels like a party, so you’re going to run into a crowd here on New Year’s Eve. This Harlem spot also happens to be a full-on restaurant (with plenty of tables), and their menu has everything from loaded nachos to lobster ravioli. Corner Social does, however, close at 1am on weekends, so you might want to have a place for an afterparty lined up.
A cross between a beer garden, a sports bar, and a neighborhood pub, The Jeffrey is a great place to celebrate another full calendar year with some hard-to-find beer and above-average bar food. We doubt anyone’s going to get dressed up to come to this UES bar, but maybe that’s what you’re looking for. Grab a table in the back with a few of your friends and eat a reuben as the ball drops.
While your friends are waiting in an hour-long line at an open bar down the street, enjoy some relatively cheap drinks at Holiday Cocktail Lounge. This East Village bar looks like a dive from the ‘70s, but they make some pretty good cocktails. It’s a fun, no-nonsense place with Christmas lights and wood-paneled walls, and on New Year’s Eve they’ll have a champagne toast and party favors.
If you know what’s good for you, go sing some New Year’s Eve karaoke at E’s Bar on the Upper West Side. In addition to karaoke, this classic neighborhood hang will also have a DJ, party hats, and a free champagne toast at midnight. They serve food like burgers, wings, and cheese fries, and you can sit in a booth and play board games with your friends while you eat.
A classic West Village dive, Cubbyhole is NYC’s best-known lesbian bar, and it’s a good place to dance (if you can find the space to do so). This spot gets busy, and with all the random decorations hanging from the ceiling, it always feels fun and festive. Just keep in mind that Cubbyhole is still cash-only. At 11:45pm, everyone in attendance will get some free champagne.
Katana Kitten, a Japanese-American spot in the West Village, is one of the best cocktail bars in the city. So you'd think they'd be throwing some kind of ticketed party for New Year's Eve. Not the case. Katana Kitten will be operating as usual on December 31st, with a few specials. They have a casual bar area upstairs with a few tables and some vintage Japanese movie posters, as well as a dark downstairs room with additional seating. Despite the two-floor space, this place fills up, so don't get here at 11:30pm.
If you drink in Crown Heights, you probably know King Tai. If you don’t drink in Crown Heights, you should go to King Tai. It’s a casual cocktail bar with a vaguely tropical feel, and it’s like a fun neighborhood clubhouse that you can pop in and out of. The cocktails all cost $12, and there’ll be a DJ on New Year’s Eve.
The disco ball at Doris is mesmerizing, and you should be under it at midnight on December 31st. A good portion of the neighborhood will be here as well, seeing as how this is one of the best places to stay out late in Bed-Stuy. The minimalist space has high ceilings and a handful of tables, but if you want to sit at one of those tables, get here early. Expect good music and folks spilling drinks as they dance.
Do or Dive in Bed-Stuy feels like somewhere you’d drink by the side of the highway on the outskirts of a city several decades ago. It’s filled with vintage beer signs, a few antique lamps, and some vinyl bar stools that look like they were stolen from a strip club or bowling alley. This is a popular place, and you can keep yourself up until midnight with a few of their boozy coffee slushies.
From the owners of Do or Dive, Williamsburg’s Rocka Rolla is another divey bar with endearing retro decor. It’s the kind of spot you stumble into at 1am on a Saturday to drink beer out of a big glass goblet, and it’s perfect for a relatively low-key night with inexpensive drinks. There will probably be a decent crowd here, but we doubt anyone will be wearing a tux.
This New Year's Eve, it's going to be business as usual at Twins Lounge in Greenpoint. A cross between a pool hall and a disco club, this two-floor bar is always pretty lively, and we assume that people will congregating under the disco ball on the second floor when the clocks strikes midnight. If you want to claim a booth downstairs, get here early. And if you want to snag a pool table, get here even earlier.
Aunt Ginny’s has everything you want from a neighborhood bar: shot-and-beer specials, pool table, X-Men vs. Street Fighter machine, etc. They also have a pop-up in the back serving stuff like wings, nachos, and fried chicken sandwiches—with plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians. If you live in Ridgewood, you probably already spend your Saturdays here, so you might as well stop by for New Year’s.
At Sek’end Sun in Astoria, you get the best of both worlds. There’s no cover at the door, but you can pay $100 (plus tax and tip) for an open bar from 9pm to 1am. (The open bar is completely optional.) The space, which looks sort of like an old cabin, is pretty casual, but there will be a DJ present, and you can make a reservation for a large group.