Grabbing a cocktail in New York City can be notoriously pricey. Enter happy hour. It’s the best time of day to eat and drink at a reduced rate, allowing you to sample more of this kinetic, cosmopolitan city. Sip on rice wine at a group-friendly Korean gastropub. Hold court outdoors at a sleek Spanish spot in Greenpoint, where the ice-cold martinis are best paired with half-off oysters. Or drink at a tony French restaurant on the Upper West Side, and your blackberry spritz may pave the way for a steak frites dinner.
Though finding a seat can be a challenge, most of the picks below offer reservations, underscoring a growing trend. For the best happy hours in New York City, book at one of these 12 restaurants and bars now.
The Mermaid Oyster Bar (Greenwich Village)
This Greenwich Village seafood staple is hardly a secret. Known for a relaxed coastal vibe, its daily happy hour—also offered at its sibling restaurant, The Mermaid Inn, with three locations in Manhattan—kicks off at 4:30 pm. Enjoy select $6 beers, $9 wines and cocktails, plus $1.25 East Coast oysters or Littleneck clams until 6:30 pm. Should you get hungrier, the entire menu is also available, as are happy hour specials such as a mini portion of New England clam chowder ($3), mini fish tacos ($3 each), salmon tartare ($9), and a few more discounted chef’s specials. It’s easy to leave full—and a little buzzed.
La Grande Boucherie (Rockefeller Center)
Escape to Paris at this cavernous brasserie in a semi-hidden passageway north of Rockefeller Center. Grab a leather stool at the long bar under a stained glass skylight between 4 pm and 7 pm to sip on discounted $12 wine and cocktails, such old fashioneds and wine spritzes. Should the scent of a passing steak frites platter tempt you, consider taking advantage of the $59 pre-theater menu (served until 6:30 pm), which includes an appetizer, entree, and a dessert.
Dos Caminos (Various locations)
With several locations across Manhattan (including SoHo, Times Square, and Flatiron), this modern Mexican spot is always a solid happy hour option. Deals, available every weekday from 3 pm to 6 pm—plus after 9 pm—include $8 appetizers such as guacamole, chicken taquitos, queso fundido, and more. Pair the plates with Mexican beer, discounted margaritas, and tequila flights.
Dos Caminos – SoHo (SoHo)
Dos Caminos – Meatpacking (Meatpacking District)
Dos Caminos – Time Square (Times Square)
Dos Caminos – Park (Gramercy/Flatiron)
Barn Joo (Various locations)
This buzzy Korean gastropub, with outposts in Union Square, NoMad, and Koreatown, offers a nightlife vibe—even in the afternoon. Each location is decked with sexy lighting and a bright, full moon on the wall. It’s a great warm-up spot to prep for a hearty meal of Korean barbecue, banchan, and noodles. Sit at the bar from 4 pm to 7 pm daily for $4 beers, $5 wines, and $7 specialty cocktails. Select appetizers are also $7; raw oysters and cocktail shrimp are $2 a piece until 9 pm.
Barn Joo Union Square (Union Square)
Barn Joo 35 (Midtown East)
Barn Joo NoMad (NoMad)
El Born (Greenpoint)
Go to Greenpoint for a Barcelona-style happy hour, albeit a little earlier than Spaniards typically start their tapas gatherings. From 4 pm to 6 pm on weekdays and 4 pm to 5 pm on weekends, enjoy $5 glasses of vermouth or manzanilla, $6 sangrias ($24 for a pitcher), and wines, including cava, and $5 draft beer. Because El Born is adored for its excellent Iberian dishes, plenty of discounted food is also available, such as tapas ranging from $3 to $9, including patatas bravas ($5), a Spanish cheese plate ($9), and much more. In case you want to scarf down a meal before nightfall, paella goes for $16.
Lamia’s Fish Market (East Village)
With its submarine-esque globe lights, coral decor, and aquamarine mural covering the dining room, Lamia’s is a delightful aquatic escape. To those interiors, add a vibey playlist that will leave you dancing in your blue velvet banquette, and you’ve got the ingredients for a weekday party. From 4 pm to 6 pm on Sunday through Thursday, drop in for drink specials including $6 beers and $8 wine and cocktails, plus one of the best deals in the East Village: $49 for a dozen oysters, plus an entire bottle of white wine.
This chic Indian restaurant is eager to fill the bar from Monday to Thursday nights, when happy hour never ends. Sidle up for $6 beers and $8 wine and cocktails to pair with creative, spicy dishes such as a habanero chicken tikka served with habanero aioli and peri peri prawns with bird’s eye chile paste. If you’re craving late-night eats and cheap drinks, visit after 9 pm for bites like tandoori chicken cheese fries ($12), a paneer stuffed sandwich ($12), lamb sliders ($14), and more.
The Consulate (Upper West Side)
A stately French restaurant, The Consulate is a great spot to meet a colleague or date for happy hour, which runs weekdays from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Sit in the polished dining room or outside on the sidewalk for $6 beers, $9 glasses of wine, and $10 specialty cocktails such as the oui mademoiselle (blackberry purée, vodka, elderflower liqueur, rosemary, and sparkling wine). Food specials include hand-cut steak tartare with cornichons, shallots, and a quail egg plus toast; a mushroom flatbread with goat cheese and truffle oil; and escargot, grilled artichokes, a daily crudo, and more, all priced at $12 and under.
El Pingüino (Greenpoint)
Head into one of Greenpoint’s hottest Spanish seafood destinations for a happy hour that is both sophisticated and fun. Claim a small booth, bar seat, or table in the large backyard for $12 martinis, plus half-off oysters and sherry from 4 pm to 7 pm daily. The martinis are strong, icy and very sippable, so you’ll want to pair them with food. For a quick post-happy hour refueling, stroll down the street to Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop or Taqueria Ramirez.
Mezze on the River (Battery Park)
Just steps from the Hudson River, the aptly named Mezze on the River offers an indoor-outdoor oasis of cabanas and Mediterranean-inspired seating for an end-of-day treat. Between 4 pm and 6 pm on weekdays, treat yourself to $2 oysters, plus $8 beverages and cocktail specials. The breezy space can accommodate a large group, but is pleasant enough to enjoy with a book or drinking buddy.
Huertas (East Village)
One of the East Village’s most beloved happy hours unfolds at this long standing Basque restaurant. Here, you’ll find $5 beers and $6 ciders, plus discounted glasses of wine until 6:30 pm nightly. You can also feast on half-off pintxos. If you’re craving tinned fish, opt for the $12 can and conserva bargain—a date-night deal—which buys you a can of light beer and a tin of Spanish mackerel.
Sake Bar Satsko (East Village)
Regulars fill this East Village sake bar, where happy hour, known to get slightly rowdy toward the last few rounds, takes place from 5 pm to 8 pm on Sunday through Thursday. It runs late enough so you can still meet up after work for $4 draft beers, plus $5 house wines, and a selection of $5 nigiris. Though you’re likely here for the $5 sake: Satsko’s drinks menu includes thoughtful tasting notes and explanations. Covered seats are available outside.
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner is a writer based in Brooklyn, where she lives with her wife and rescue dog. You can follow her on Instagram @melissabethk and Twitter @melissabethk