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NYC has long been known for having an excellent restaurant and bar scene. Unfortunately, this also means that prices can get quite steep. Being a recently-turned digital nomad living in a pricey city, I’ve scoured the lower east side trying to figure out how to sustain my formerly-salaried lifestyle of grabbing drinks and trying new restaurants. Here are my favourite discoveries for balancing fun and budget in the form of the best happy hour spots in NYC’s lower east side.
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Verlaine is a bar & lounge that first opened in 2001. Their Hanoi lychee martini is one of their main specialties, and Verlaine claims to have sold over 1.5 million of them since opening. While Verlaine has evolved from one of the neighbourhoods best kept secrets to a highly frequented spot, there is still plenty of seating if you go early – even on weekends. During Verlaine’s 5-10 PM daily happy hour, you can grab their lychee martini for only $7. For the same price, you can also try their southeast sangria, select house wines, and basic cocktails. They also offer a $4 Narragansett beer from Rhode Island, as well as various food specials.
Address: 110 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
Contrary to its name, Hotel Chantelle is not actually a hotel. It is a restaurant, nightclub, and event space in the LES. During patio season, Hotel Chantelle opens up the retractable roof on their gorgeous outdoor rooftop area and bar. Their happy hour occurs Tues-Thurs 5-7 PM, and Fri 3-7 PM. The main deals include $8 select cocktails (or $42 for a pitcher) and wines, and $3-4 beers. If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, they have $8 food specials from chicken meatballs, to white truffle flatbread, and more. Best of all? The $1 oysters! Additionally, they are now offering brunch with live jazz and $4.92 brunch cocktails every Saturday and Sunday.
Address: 92 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
If you’re looking to have a night you won’t remember, 169 Bar is the place to go. The dive bar first opened in 1916, and has solidified its spot as a local staple. Its eccentric interior is a sight to behold, complete with palm trees and leopard print pool tables. 169 Bar’s happy hour runs from 12-7:30 PM daily, and they offer dangerously cheap deals. During happy hour, you can score $1 off all drafts, and $2 off everything else (all of which are already reasonably priced). If you get hungry from excessive partying, they also offer a unique mix of food including dumplings, borscht, and poboys, to name a few. As an added bonus, they’re located right next door to Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food.
Address: 169 East Broadway, NYC, NY 10002-5543
The Ten Bells is a wine and tapas bar set in a cozy, dimly lit den environment. Going here will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a local bar in Madrid, and makes for a great date spot. Their specialty is that they are an all-organic spot, and this includes everything – both food and drinks. They make their wine from organic and biodynamic grapes, and offer organic oysters and seafood tapas. Their happy hour runs from 5-7 PM daily, where you can try a carafe of their organic wine for $15, or their organic oysters for $1.
Address: 247 Broome St, New York, NY 10002
Walking into The Flower Shop will feel like a time machine just brought you back to the ’70’s. The retro interior extends through the restaurant on the top floor, and the bar on the bottom floor (there’s even a pool table!). Their happy hour isn’t advertised on their website, but it runs from 5-7 PM daily. During happy hour, you can score $5 drinks and $1 oysters. While a few other places on this list also offer oysters, these ones take the cake in my opinion. Instead of serving oysters with the traditional sauce, they use their house specialty – a cucumber mignonette sauce that perfectly complements the oysters.
Address: 107 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
Hop over to the East Village and check out more awesome bars.
Jadis is a French-inspired wine bar that I would best describe as a weekday happy hour location. The interior is intimate and dimly lit, and the brick walls emanate a warm, cozy feeling. While Jadis is technically a wine bar, their happy hour deals extend far beyond only wine. Stop by between 5-7 PM daily for $5 select wine, $6 cider, $7 prosecco, and $5 Stella pints. If you’re feeling extra boozy, head over on a Monday for 30% off wine bottles over $40. You can also find French appetizers, sandwiches, quiches, and more on their menu to pair with your pinkies-up drink.
Address: 42 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
Sel Rrose is, by far, the most ‘do-it-for-the-gram’ spot on this list. The bright and flowery aesthetic has made it on more than a few instagrams, but don’t worry – the food lives up to the deco. One of the main staples of Sel Rrose is the $1 happy hour oysters. In fact, the oysters are such a staple that they are the only thing included in the daily 4-6 PM happy hour. However, the exclusion of drink deals on Sel Rrose’s happy hour menu shouldn’t deter you from trying one of their unique cocktails. They have everything from Pisco Sours, to rosemary-infused grape gin, to ginger-egg white-pineapple rye, and yes – they all come in insta-worthy presentations.
Address: 1 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
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