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Apr 21, 2009 06:39 AM

Bar Crawl NYC

Hi all,

I hope I've posted this in the right place! Am hoping for suggestions and recommendations of an area in Manhattan NYC where we can bar hop for an evening, so that the bars are close enough to walk to the next one, or get the subway. Basically I've been to NY a number of times but mainly done the tourist attractions and when I have had a night out its either been a dinner or a cab to one bar for the evening and I would love a native New Yorker to tell me where to head!

To try and explain what I'm after, here in London I could tell someone to head to a particular tube station in a lively area and suggest 4 or 5 pubs/bars they might want to visit over the course of an evening all within walking distance or a short tube ride away and include a suggestion of a place to finish up that would be open later if they got late night slightly drunken inspiration! I've never managed this in NYC and always feel like I'm missing out, so I'd love some suggestions from you guys. Usually we pick somewhere from a guide book or another recommendation and get a cab straight there and then do the same when we want to move on - would love to just find an area we could hang out in all night! I know there must be somewhere, I've just managed that horrible thing of always just missing it!

Am pretty open minded but would be cool if the bars werent overly touristy, I didnt come all the way from London to hang out with other English people (although I wouldnt not go to a fab bar just because it is popular with tourists too.)

All help appreciated.


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  1. 2nd Avenue Stop (F/V trains): Hipster bars and restaurants on Ludlow and Orchard going southward.

    14th Street (A/C/E): Trendy Meatpacking District clubs and bars in the area of Gansevoort/9th Avenue.

    33rd Street (6): Third Avenue bars for collegiates looking to get drunk and brawl and their admirers.

    79th Street (1/B/C): Amsterdam Avenue bars in the 80s for Columbia and Fordham students and alumni. Wine bars are also making a strong showing in the area below 79th.

    Prince St (N/R/W) and Spring St (6): Historic watering holes and yuppie drinking/dining dens in SoHo.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      Those general locations sound promising. But bars, like restaurants, are not interchangeable. Which specific venues do you like (and dislike) in those neighborhoods?

      1. re: squid kun

        LES: Pianos, Cafe Katja, Iggy's, Verlaine, Stanton Social; I try to avoid Meet the Johnsons.

        Meatpacking/West Village: 5 Ninth, APT, Sea, Corner Bistro; I steer well clear of the frat-tastic sh*tshow that is Tortilla Flats.

        Murray Hill: I have to be in a very special mood to go anywhere near Third Avenue. Either someone has begged me to tag along or I want to know what it would've been like to dorm at a Tier II school where all the shiny shirts bathed in Axe before dunking their heads in vats of gel. Of the bars there, Mercury is the most tolerable simply because I like the music.

        UWS: Jake's Dilemma, George Keeley's, Calle Ocho, Salumeria Rossi; Blondie's gets raves but I have always found it wanting.

        SoHo: The winebar beneath Peasant, Sweet and Vicious and Room 18. I've been to VigBar a few times but have never liked it.

        1. re: JungMann

          What's happened to Welcome to the Johnsons'? I haven't been since 2002, but it used to be a decent place to shoot pool and drink cheap beer while avoiding the proto-scenesters at Max Fish...

          1. re: planetjess

            Those proto-scenesters have matured and have invaded. Plus I just find the place kind of fake dumpy without any sort of redeeming charm.

    2. There are several neighborhoods where you can do this. It all depends what you're looking for.

      Are you interested in old-school dive bars with local flavor? Trendy places where you can take in well-dressed people and a spiffy room? Dancing? Live music? Pub grub?

      My favorite area for going out in Manhattan is the East Village. Be warned though: it is a nightmare on Friday and Saturday nights. Most locals enjoy the scene during the week and sequester themselves from the mobs on the weekends.

      Anyway, some of my favorite bars (and these skew heavily toward dives): Grassroots, Lucy's, Mars Bar, The Edge (absolutely nothing special about it aside good tunes and a local crowd), International Bar, DBA (go early for the lovely patio which closes at 10:30), Horeshoe Bar (aka 7B), Botanica, KGB Bar, The Scratcher.

      Swankier Places: PDT, Death & Company, Angel's Share

      If it's live music or dancing you're after, try Lit (love this place though the bouncers can be dicks; it gets pretty raucous late night), Niagra, Otto's Shrunken Head, Pyramid Club.

      The Lower East Side (just below East Village) is a live music mecca as well: Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Annex, Cake Shop, Living Room, National Underground, Rockwood Music Hall.

      The Delancey (also LES) has a lovely roofdeck in the summer.

      If you're more into the club scene, try Santos Party House (Chinatown) or Le Poisson Rouge (Greenwich Village).

      19 Replies
      1. re: cswim06

        Nice list. I agree with everything that was written here especially the part about Friday and Saturday Nights.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          I know. Weekends can be rough. Guess they keep the bars in business though, so I'll suck it up.

          Sissy, if you want to avoid weekend mob scenes, I'd hit either the Lower Lower East Side (East Side Company, Sweet Paradise, 169 Bar, Good World, White Star) or journey on over to Brooklyn (probably Williamsburg, maybe Gowanus if you're feeling really ambitious).

          Oh and a shoutout to Happy Ending (great weeknight dance parties), 205 Club, Lorely (German beer hall type place) and Sweet Paradise on the Lower east.

          1. re: cswim06

            All of these suggestions look fab - thanks for all your comments so far! We only have the one weekend night. Am going to NYC with my dad (49) and my bro (25) - both love a good night out and my dad is known to party hard (albeit with requisite embarrassing dad dancing)! We're meeting 2 friends of mine and my brother's on the Sat night and think the plan is to head to Lombardi's for pizza first then head out from there so I think I'll look at your suggestions cswim of either Brooklyn or Lower Lower East side for that night. If we go over to Williamsburg, what are your suggestions for there and what subway should we get off at? Then I think we may try some of the other places on the Sun/Mon/Tues we're in town. As I'm with my dad and bro I think we'll steer away from the achingly trendy places on this visit, dont want to bother with dress codes or queues or bouncers - I 'm leaning towards good neighbourhoody/local places/dive bars/somewhere welcoming and will save the hipster places for when I visit with the girls.

            PS. it's the same for me in London, I totally avoid "town" on a Sat night

            1. re: SissyGreen

              A good bar for parents and their children on a Sun, Mon, or Tue is Von. Nice neighborhood bar with a pretty diverse crowd and age range.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                I like the look of this Von Bar. Are there other places nearby to head to as well? Also, we are travelling with my dad but I'm 27 and my bro is 25 - if that helps at all with the recommendations!

            2. re: cswim06

              Good World on the LES is closed. I would also add Marshall Stack to the LES bar list.

          2. re: cswim06

            Could you let me know what subway stations are the best to head to for these places?



            1. re: SissyGreen

              Nearly all the places listed above are near the F or 6 lines. Astor Place stop on the 6 and 2nd Ave on the F line.

              1. re: SissyGreen

                Hopstop and Google Maps will give you point to point directions using public transit.

                1. re: kathryn

                  I have printed off each area from Google maps and have highlighted each bar on the map so I can go to that subway stop and see how close they are and can stumble from one recommended place to the next. Am I too eager to have a v boozy night out in NYC??!!! My trip is this weekend so I'll let you know what bars are my faves upon my return! Thanks again all.

              2. re: cswim06

                CSwim, I see you asked a similar kind of question in the London forum last year about spots to head to. Did you think that areas like Hoxton were comparable to the East Village?

                1. re: SissyGreen

                  Sadly I had a nasty case of food poisoning for 24 of the 72 hours I spent in London, so I didn't do nearly as much as I'd hoped. But I did get a similar vibe (galleries, hipsters, low-key bars etc.) Enjoy your trip! I can recommend other things in the neighborhood if you're interested, though it sounds like you're only here very briefly.

                  1. re: cswim06

                    That sounds awful - I hope you didnt get it from a Chowhound recommended restaurant! We're only in NYC from late Fri night to Wed evening, staying in Chelsea and already planning to do Lombardis Sat night, Babbo Mon and Peter Luger Tues so you're right it doesnt leave us much time! Always interested in recommendations though, I try and make it over as often as I can. Thanks for your bar recommendations, if I can do the same for you for London in the future just shout!

                  2. re: SissyGreen

                    Also, we're going to Babbo on the Mon night and Peter Luger on the Tues night. Food coma alert! Good bars around those restaurants or easy to get to would be a bonus.

                    1. re: SissyGreen

                      I really like Vol de Nuit (sp?) on West 4th, right near Babbo. Blind Tiger Ale House is also pretty close. It's a venerable beer bar.

                      1. re: cswim06

                        Vol de Nuit is nice, decent frites, sometimes absent service, though.

                        I like Blind Tiger Ale House, too, but it gets awfully crowded on the weekends, and a bit stuffy. I guess that's what happens when you're on Bleecker Street, between 6th and 7th, you know?

                  3. re: cswim06

                    Grassroots is great. Mars Bar is a total dive, and it's awesome that it's still around. Also in the area if you like beer is Burp Castle, Jimmy's No. 43, and McSorley's, all on 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. All are pretty popular on weekend nights.

                    For swankier East Village places I would also add Mayahuel.

                    LES music venues, note that most will have a cover/ticket charge and people tend to go more for the music than the drinking, so shows there do sell out and you may get glared at if you are too loud. For some of them, you can't go in and just have a drink, with others the music room is separate (Cake Shop for one, the music is in the basement). Santos and Le Poisson Rouge also have live music as well.

                    1. re: cswim06

                      Be warned that the Delancey also gets extremely loud on weekends, if you're not into that sort of thing.

                    2. The original comment has been removed
                      1. Sure - try this pub crawl of Manhattan's East Village: