What makes a good Happy Hour? (NYC)

I like to take a breather or sometimes meet friends at the end of a solid work day. Happy Hours are offered by many restaurants. What do you expect: specially priced cocktails, a special bar menu, convivial atmosphere? What are your thoughts, and if you would like to share: what are your favorites spots?

  1. A seat at the bar. I’m not going to drink standing up.
  2. Dollar oysters. Several kinds, not just Blue Points.
  3. A break on the price of at least one mixed drink, and hopefully a few beers and wines as well.

Sel Rrose, The Ten Bells, Upstate, The Leadbelly, and most especially the late, lamented Rodeo Bar.

1 Like

Manhattan, right? Thanks, small_h…

Aaaaaaamen to #1, @small_h! It’s rare that I’m willing to stand around in any bar, no matter how good, whether it’s at HH or not. Sitting at the bar means I can settle in and hang!

Here in Asbury Park NJ, we’ve got some great HH deals that I haven’t taken enough advantage of, but now that #localsummer is officially here, I plan to remedy that. Friends love Cibo y Vino and Barrio Costera; having been to the latter, that’s at the top of my list for HH.

@joonjoon and @NotJrvedivici can surely chime in on this one… :grin:

Yes, sorry - we should be able to put location tags on replies!

Ah…or maybe the thread should be on the NYC board… @hungryonion?

sure. done.

@joonjoon is definitely a better HH resource than I am. I think I recall him putting out a pretty good list at the other place of all the happy hour deals around the area. Sorry I don’t have much to contribute to this topic.

A seat (at the bar, or I like places that have high-top tables scattered about) is paramount. I’m fine with anything from convivial to subdued as far as atmosphere goes, as long as it’s not too loud to carry on a conversation. Free/inexpensive bar snacks or a menu of small, sharable things are always good. Drink specials are appreciated but only if they’re good - I would rather pay full price for a decent drink than $5 for a watery well vodka and soda. Also, proximity to transportation is key - it’s hard to get friends to gather when they have to go all the way across town from where they work or live. Midtown (within walking distance of Times Square/Columbus Circle/Grand Central) tends to be ideal but it’s surprisingly difficult to find a place in Midtown that meets all of the other parameters.

1 Like

Unfortunately there seems to be a phenomenon in manhattan where HH ends at like 6:30! I expect drinks and bar snacks at discounted prices yet the same quality of product as two hours later in the evening (ie don’t have a HH wine that is a lower quality than regular menu or watery mixed drinks)

Six months or so ago when i was working freelance and then in between jobs i’ve found some great spots- not sure if you have a neighborhood preference.
My all time favorite ever wine bar is Terroir, killer btg menu, knowledgeable staff, and actually amazing food. Their HH is fantastic and includes wines and food items. I think it’s tribeca only, not the highline seasonal location

I don’t eat seafood but the HH at Mermaid inn is great- however! You mist be seated at the bar for HH specials, so you have to go early to snag a seat. Good variety of bar snacks at HH prices including oysters, note the other food items are quite small

El quinto pino is on regular rotation for me, HH includes their delicious red sangria (skip the white), and ask about the food specials- they don’t volunteer what the HH specials are- which is obnoxious- but it includes sangria, a few mixed drinks or wine and several tapas. Just ask the server or bar tender. And get the fried garbanzo beans and pan con tomate.

Surprisingly Bubby’s has HH which includes several drinks and their (serious) burger plus a few other generous sandwiches

There are lots of $1 oyster HH if that interests you- off the top of my head includes cull and pistol, tertulia, the wayland (good drinks there too), ten belles, jeffrey’s grocery at $1.50, and upstate does a $12 beer and oysters special.

Agreed, I find this weird as well. Most people I know with jobs in Manhattan work until 5:30 or 6 at the earliest, so unless the bar is right next to their office, there’s no way to take advantage of happy hour. Very annoying.

I suspect it’s not an accident… ((Harumphhh!!))
Last night i went with co-workers to this hysterical cheesey tiki/surf themed bar in hell’s kitchen called Reunion, and they had fantastic HH specials til 8pm! Included several snacks too, i had my first (and probably last) few bites of “totchos” aka tater tot nachos.

1 Like

Depends on how hungry the restaurant is, I suppose. They may not want to have it cut into their regular business. Some spots start their happy hour at noon, believe it or not, just to get some kind of early business. But I do agree on a longer, later happy hour…

Amen. With point #2, are you referring to Flex Mussels? They come in solid for points 1 & 3!

No, my favorite dollar oyster happy hours are the places I listed in my post, plus Grey Lady and minus Rodeo Bar (loved the place, but would not have trusted oysters there). I don’t think I’ve ever been to Flex Mussels.

No, I know, what I meant was were you talking about Flex Mussels, but you said you haven’t been.
I miss Rodeo Bar, too!

According to Flex’s website, their Happy Hour oysters are 6 for $9, and they’re “shucker’s choice,” which makes me suspect they only serve one kind and it’s probably blue points. Therefore, Flex does not meet my dollar oyster happy hour standards.

1 Like

Correct - they are Blue Points.
Have you heard of the Pearl app? It’s free - amazing - and tells you what kinds of oysters are on menus across the city.

No, my life is pretty much app-free, and I like it that way. Also, I have an Android phone.

I don’t mind app’s, I mean nothing to big that they would interfere with my meal. Oysters, shrimp cocktail things like that make excellent apps. I guess if you have chosen to live “app free” more power to you!!

(I know your talking phone apps I’m just teasing) :laughing:

3 Likes
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold