A day-drinking bar should be bright and optimistic. You want to feel like your life is going somewhere even if, momentarily, you're really just putting alcohol in your mouth. There should also be room for your friends because drinking alone in the daytime is for 1950’s housewives. They own that. Get your own thing.
So here are the places where you can drink when you aren’t supposed to. Some of them are only open in the daytime on weekends, but if you need places to drink before noon on weekdays, you can use our upcoming guide called "Where To Drink When You Quit Your Job, Or Got Fired, Or Accidentally Hit Reply All When You Shouldn't Have."
As a winter day-drinking spot, Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club has a lot going for it. They have 10 shuffleboard courts that you can rent by the hour, there's a station where you can rent board games, and there are plenty of places to sit. They also have two bars. And all of that makes it pretty ideal for big groups. (The space is huge.) This tropical-themed bar is essentially an indoor pool party without a pool, and you could probably pass out in a corner and not get found for several hours.
The Levee isn’t a pretty bar. It’s just a Williamsburg dive that has board games, pinball, and a pool table. When you’re day drinking, you need stuff like this to distract yourself from the fact that you’re not reading a book or doing your taxes. The drinks are also super-cheap here, and they give you free cheese puffs. And the only thing that tastes better than free cheese puffs is, um, actually most things. But, at the same time, most things aren’t free. The Levee opens at noon every day.
This isn’t where you end your night, but it’s a good place to drink when it’s too early to stop being able to pronounce your full name. Bleecker Street tends to be either fratty or touristy, but this place isn’t really either. Stop by and have a beer. They have a good selection, and there are enough windows that you might catch a little vitamin D before the sun sets.
There aren’t that many good places to sit down and grab a beer on the Upper East Side. There are lots of pubs, sure, but there aren't many you can hang out in for more than a drink or two before things get weird. And that’s why The Jeffrey draws a crowd. Yes, it gets busy, but you can snag a big table in the rear when the backyard is too frigid.
The Wayland gets plenty of light, so you won’t have to worry about feeling like a vampire here. It’s also nice and charming on the inside, so you won’t have to worry about feeling like a barfly. You will be a barfly of course, but at least you’ll be one with good taste. The Wayland is one of our favorite bars of all time, they have great cocktails, and, also, good luck finding a seat. This place gets busy. But we have faith in you.
The official alternative to Radegast, Spritzenhaus is a little less popular because A) it’s slightly further from Manhattan and B) the setup isn’t as quaint and beer-garden-y. But the important thing is less popular means less crowded. For that reason, we’ll take Spritzenhaus over Radegast any weekend afternoon. Get a beer and sausage and sit by the fireplace. And if there are people who like you, bring them too. There’s plenty of room.
Sisters is a little precious. We know this. It feels sort of like a doll house for a doll that went to Wesleyan and double majored in Art History and Romance Studies. But isn’t that what you want when you’re day drinking? If you just answered yes in your head, read on. Sisters opens at 8am every day, and lunch starts at 11:30. They don't serve all their cocktails in the daytime, but you should be able to get something like a bloody Mary or a glass of wine. This place is a cross between a restaurant and a bar, it’s big and bright, and the whole setup is very relaxing.
The Rookery isn’t the best bar in Bushwick, but it also isn’t the worst. Mostly this place is just good for group hangs, late-night eats, and day drinking. They’re open for lunch (or brunch) every day, and there’s plenty of room inside. This place is also cleaner than your average bar, and it doesn’t smell like someone’s trying to mask the smell of vomit with a copious amount of bleach.
Ramona is pretty grown-up - but, in the daytime, that’s how you like to feel. The earlier it is, the older you act. So come to Ramona, grab a table on the second-floor balcony, and sip something while you stare out the window and make an implausible five-year plan. This is maybe the nicest cocktail bar in Greenpoint, but it’s still pretty casual, and they open at 2pm on weekends.
This place lacks sex appeal, so we wouldn’t send you here for a date night. If you need a quiet drink with a friend, however, it's perfect. Eastwood is a cleaner and brighter alternative to the many dives of the LES, and they have a good selection of Middle-Eastern pub food. Yes, they're beer and wine only - but that's a good thing. You shouldn't shoot tequila before banks close. Unless you're on vacation or you really want to.
We have to include Spring Lounge on this list because it's one of our favorite dive bars, and they open at 8 am every day except Sunday. So, say your parents are in town, and they want to have a weekend breakfast. Not brunch, breakfast - because they don’t understand the difference - and you all head over to Balthazar while the sun’s still rising. Fortunately, you can hit up Spring Lounge immediately after and take the edge off your Saturday morning before your friends are even out of bed.
The thing about drinking at a hotel in the daytime is that people might assume you’re on vacation, and then they won’t judge you. And that sounds like a check mark in the win column. You can eat breakfast or lunch here any day, or you can drink breakfast or lunch here any day. The choice is yours. There are also plenty of windows through which to watch tourists getting lost on Bowery, and if you stick around until night you can slur some words toward attractive downtown-types.