Where To Have A Birthday With An Open Bar
10 places where you and your friends can enjoy a buffet of alcohol.
Open bars aren’t just for cruise ships, weddings, and alumni events where you’re supposed to drink a lot of warm champagne and donate money. They’re also perfect for birthdays. If you have a party coming up and you want to find a place where you and your friends can drink without having to keep track of who’s buying the next round, here are a bunch of great options, with prices per person. (Needless to say, you should get in touch with your bar of choice to work out the details.)
photo credit: Ms. Kim's
The Deal: $85 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine;$95 For Two Hours Of Liquor/Beer/Wine, $45 For An Additional Hour; $110 For Two Hours Of Top-Shelf Liquor/Beer/Wine, $50 For An Additional Hour
A sleek, upscale Karaoke lounge in Flatiron, Ms. Kim’s is the perfect place to gather a group and sing some songs that used to be on TRL. They have a bunch of rooms lined with banquettes, and every open-bar package includes a two-hour reservation. Unlike many karaoke spots, this place also serves food like sushi, rice cakes, and wings.
The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
The Deal: $25 Per Hour For Liquor/Beer/Wine; $30 Per Hour For Liquor/Beer/Wine/Cocktails; $35 Per Hour For Top-Shelf Liquor/Beer/Wine/Cocktails
There are several reasons why Royal Palms is a top birthday destination. First off, it’s huge—about the size of an airport hangar. This Gowanus bar also has plenty of games, including their signature one, shuffleboard. If you have a group of 10 or more, there are a few shuffleboard courts with cabanas that you can reserve for $100 an hour. Just be aware that open-bar packages are required for these reservations.
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photo credit: Simmer Group
The Deal: $30 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine, $25 For Each Additional Hour; $55 For Premium Beer/Wine, $30 For Each Additional Hour; $75 For Liquor/Beer/Wine, $35 For Each Additional Hour
Oscar Wilde is a big bar in Flatiron that looks like a Victorian-era castle. It’s an elaborately decorated place stuffed with marble, stained glass, vintage chandeliers, and various other antiques—and it’s a great option for a fun, lively group hang. There are a few different spaces you can book, and you can add a food package if your group wants to eat.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
The Deal: $70 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine, $10 For Each Additional Hour; $85 For Two Hours Of Liquor/Beer/Wine, $15 For Each Additional Hour; $100 For Two Hours Of Top-Shelf Liquor/Beer/Wine, $20 For Each Additional Hour
If you want to go all-out and celebrate your birthday with 100 of your very best friends, try this always-packed rooftop bar on the Lower East Side. The whole space fits up to 450 people, but you can always book the terrace that fits 25 people seated or 40 standing. With its swimming pool and views of Lower Manhattan, this definitely isn’t a low-key option, but maybe you need your 30th birthday to feel like a Grammys afterparty.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
The Deal: $20 For One Hour Of Beer/Wine, $15 For Each Additional Hour; $30 For One Hour Of Mid-Level Liquor/Beer/Wine, $20 For Each Additional Hour; $40 For One Hour Of Top Shelf Liquor/Beer/Wine, $25 For Each Additional Hour
Printers Alley is a big Nashville-themed bar in the Garment District where you can sit under an old-timey neon sign and eat a fried chicken sandwich. It’s great for groups, and it’s a convenient place to throw a party if you happen to live or work in Midtown and need a bar where you’ll actually want to hang out.
The Malt House FiDi
The Deal: $70 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine, $25 For Each Additional Hour; $95 For Two Hours Of Select Liquor/Beer/Wine, $35 For Each Additional Hour
The Malt House is the rare sort of pub that doesn’t smell like old beer and isn’t filled with sports memorabilia, and it’s one of your best options for a casual group hang in FiDi. There are three floors with exposed brick walls and fancy light fixtures, and there’s some pretty decent bar food.
The Deal: $40 For Two Hours Of Beer, $10 For An Additional Hour; $45 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine, $10 For An Additional Hour; $50 For Two Hours Of House Liquor/Beer/Wine, $10 For An Additional Hour; $55 For Two Hours Of Premium Liquor/Beer/Wine, $20 For An Additional Hour
Tavern 29 has high ceilings and chandeliers, which technically makes it nicer than most other bars in the area. Mostly, though, it’s a just big pub with a good beer selection, a couple of floors, and a little rooftop where you can hang out in the summertime. If half your friends live uptown and the other half haven’t traveled north of Penn Station since 2009, this is a good compromise.
The Half Pint
The Deal: $35 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine, $10 For An Additional Hour; $45 For Two Hours Well Liquor/Beer/Wine, $10 For An Additional Hour; $55 For Two Hours Of Premium Liquor/Beer/Wine, $10 For An Additional Hour (Minimum Of 20 People)
The Half Pint is only a few feet from NYU, but you won’t feel scared and out of place here if it’s been several years since your last midterm. This is just a nice little pub, and it’s a good option for an open-bar birthday that isn’t too divey or hectic in Greenwich Village. When you want some food, get a big order of fish tacos or loaded nachos.
The Deal: $42 For Two Hours Of Beer/Wine, $19 For An Additional Hour; $54 For Two Hours Of Liquor/Beer/Wine/Select Cocktails, $24 For An Additional Hour; $68 For Two Hours Of Premium Liquor/Beer/Wine/All Cocktails, $31 For An Additional Hour
If you’re looking for something on the West side, Porchlight is a great cocktail bar in Chelsea that has chocolate chip cookies on the menu and bartenders who know what they’re doing. There are a few private room options, including a game room for 45 people with a dart board.
The Deal: $60 For Three Hours Of Select Beer/House Wine/House Mixed Drinks, $19 For An Additional Hour; $72 For Three Hours Of Select Craft Beer/Select Wine/Mid-Tier Mixed Drinks, $24 For An Additional Hour; $90 For Three Hours Of Select Craft Beer/All Wine/Premium Mixed Drinks, $30 For An Additional Hour
Are you friends with a bunch of beer nerds who ask about the tap list as soon they walk into a bar? If so, have your party at Fools Gold on the Lower East Side. A big sports bar with a rustic-cabin feel, this place serves a rotating lineup of various hard-to-find craft beers in addition to wine and cocktails.