Few antidotes to a long workday hit home quite like happy hour, that blessed brief window between quitting time and a microwaved Amy's enchilada. Obviously, New York City has plenty of places that'll shove cheap beer and well drinks into your body within moments of clocking out, making that subway commute back home just a tad less maddening. Here are our favorite happy hour spots in NYC; please leave yours in the comments, and check out last year's list for some more options.
BROOKLYN ICE HOUSE: In addition to boasting one of the best backyards in the bar business, this Red Hook spot serves up a super-long, satisfying happy hour deal, with a buck off all their already-cheap drinks from noon until 8 p.m. on weekdays. Once you've made your way through Brooklyn Ice House's extensive brew list, you can kick back with a plate or two of their pulled pork sandwiches that run two-for-$5 all night long, plus there are always $4 to $5 beer-and-shot specials to keep the fun going long after the happiest hours come crashing to an end.
Brooklyn Ice House is located at 318 Van Brunt Street between Pioneer and King Streets in Red Hook, Brooklyn (718-222-1865).
THE MAGICIAN: There are some happy hour deals that will forever stand the booze test of time. The Magician has been a go-to happy hour spot for years now, offering up drafts and well drinks for $3.50 a piece, with most other liquor running about $4. If beer's not enough to fill you up, they've also got a killer snack mix out for the taking, rife with nuts, soy sticks and sesame crackers. And though drinks are significantly more expensive once happy hour ends at 8 p.m. (it starts at 5 p.m.), you can to continue throwing back beer and whiskey at the ever cheap Welcome to the Johnson's right across the street.
The Magician is located at 118 Rivington Street between Essex and Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side (212-673-785). N.B.: Cash only.
HAPPYFUN HIDEAWAY: We can't heap enough praise atop this laid back Bushwick bar, which is wonderful enough to serve Franzia and Frito pie alongside grown-up drinks and vegan pork sliders. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and warrants a buck off all drinks, not to mention a $5 cocktail special that changes daily. Grab your drink of choice (CHOOSE FRANZIA) and head to the bar's patio out back, where you can lounge under an umbrella and imbibe in blissful peace.
Happyfun Hideaway is located at 1211 Myrtle Avenue near Willoughby Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn (917-999-8282).
AGAVE: Agave already earned accolades from us for its bottomless booze brunch, but the solid food-and-drink deals here aren't just for the midmorning weekend set. Happy hour here sets margaritas at a super low $5-a-piece from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., so you can get loaded on the tequila-heavy classics and flavored renditions ranging from prickly pear to blood orange. Best of all, the happy hour deal also caps appetizers at $5, so you can pair said margarita with discounted empanaditas, chips and guacamole, crab spinach dip and other treats to keep you on your feet while you drink.
Agave is located at 140 7th Ave South between 10th and Charles Streets in the West Village (212-989-2100, agaveny.com).
LOBSTER JOINT: At this point, it's no secret that pretty much everything at the Lobster Joint is the best—brunch, Bloody Marys, mac 'n cheese, the backyard, you name it. And happy hour at the seafood spot's Brooklyn and Manhattan locations is no exception, with stellar deals on food and drinks running weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Drafts run $4 (pitchers $16) and cocktails run $6 (pitchers $24), and you can score snacks like dollar oysters and $4 lobster, crab cake and fried oyster sliders to offset all that economical booze.
The Lobster Joint is located at 1073 Manhattan Avenue between Eagle and Dupont Streets in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-8990, lobsterjoint.com) and at 201 East Houston Street between Ludlow and Orchard Streets on the Lower East Side (646-896-1110, lobsterjoint.com).
SOFT SPOT: Soft Spot's drafts and well drinks run two for one until 8 p.m. (and until 2 a.m. on Tuesdays), they've got an adorable back patio, and the bar is located a block away from Vinnie's Pizzeria, home of the Veggie Mac Attack slice. That's pretty much all you need to know. Go sober, leave drunk, and unsettle your stomach with some garlic knots on your way home.
Soft Spot is located at 128 Bedford Ave between North 9th and 10th Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-7768, softspotbar.com).
ED'S CHOWDER HOUSE: Seafood fiends searching for some post-work food-and-booze relief should stop by this Lincoln Center eatery, where happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. and then again from 9 p.m. until close on Mondays through Thursdays. Bottles of Budweiser and Bud Light run $3, house wines are $7, and cocktails like peach bellinis, black forest martinis and mojitos run $8. Drinks usually cost upwards of $14 here, so that's a decent savings but here's the best part: you can score Atlantic oysters for $1.50 each and littleneck clams for a buck, with fried clams ($4), Angus and salmon sliders with fries ($9), shrimp rolls ($18), cod sandwiches ($12) and chowders ($4) all on tap as well.
Ed's Chowder House is located at 44 West 63rd Street between Central Park West and Broadway (212-956-1288, chinagrillmgmt.com).
CIENFUEGOS: Funky East Village joint Cienfuegos might be best known for its alcohol-packed—and pricey—rum punch bowls and Cuban fare, but if you head here from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily or from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays, you can score some pretty solid discounts, too. Select punches like the Barbancourt Blanc and champange-heavy Por Avion and the Sailor Jerry spiced rum-spiked Anchor, which normally run $38-$114, get knocked down to half price; cocktails like the rum-and-sugar-heavy Improved Daiquiri run only $7, and there's always a drink of the day option that clocks in at only $7 too, a solid deal for a space that doles its cocktails out for a cool $14 to $15.
Cienfuegos is located at 95 Avenue A between East 6th and 7th Streets in the East Village (212-614-6818, cienfuegosny.com).
MEXIBBQ: This Astoria Tex-Mex joint—with a new outpost on the Upper East Side—is another solid destination for post-work booze and bites, boasting a 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekday happy hour deal rife with margarita and appetizer specials. Half-pints of classic margaritas are $4, flavored margaritas clock in at $6 and red or white sangria runs $3.50. Chicken flautas and mini-quesadillas also run $5, with tostadas, fried pickles, fries and sliders running only $2-$4. And if you're a brew fan, MexiBBQ has about 48 of those babies on tap, with 10 select craft beers run only $3 to $4 during happy hour.
MexiBBQ has two locations in NYC: 37-11 30th Ave in Astoria, Queens (718-626-0333, mexibbq.com) and at 1633 2nd Ave between 84th and 85th Streets on the Upper East Side (212-837-8285).
BARBONCINO: This Crown Heights bar and pizzeria might be better known for its delectable Neapolitan pies, but it also offers up a pretty spectacular set of happy hours, especially for the late-night set. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, all draft beers, spirits and cocktails get $2 knocked off; and that same deal applies again from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. nightly, so you can get drunk, inhale a whole sopressata picante pie ($15), hit the gym and head back to do it all over again before eventually passing out on a bed of mixed baby field greens.
Barboncino is located at 781 Franklin Ave between St. Johns Place and Lincoln Place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-483-8834, barboncinopizza.com).
FRESH SALT: FiDi might seem like one giant Wall Street wasteland, but hell, if you're going to knock back a few après work hair-of-the-dogs, you might as well do it there. Fresh Salt, a decidedly non-douchey little spot right by the South Street seaport, serves up a killer happy hour deal from 4 to 8 p.m., with drafts and well drinks running only $4—a far cry from the high-and-mightier happy hour spots lining nearby Stone Street, after all. There's outdoor seating when the weather's fresh, and you can pair your cheap drinks with some of their signature sandwiches, though note that food prices don't get knocked down as part of the deal.
Fresh Salt is located at 146 Beekman Street between Front and South Streets in the Financial District (212-962-0053, freshsalt.com).
AMÉLIE: The happy hour deal at this Greenwich Village bar is a fine wine connoisseur's dream. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., you can indulge in a $10 customizable three-glass wine flight, or, if you're a lightweight, a $6 glass of wine (down from the usual $9 to $15). Sip Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache/Carignan until your lips pucker, exit Amélie in a perfect tannin-induced daze and forget about all those TPS reports you'll never, ever get around to filing.
Amélie is located at 22 West 8th Street between 5th Ave and Macdougal Streets in Greenwich Village (212) 533-2962, ameliewinebar.com).
BOAT BAR: Boat's got one of the best happy hour deals on Smith Street, serving up SUPER STRONG and super cheap libations from 5 to 8 p.m. Well drinks, drafts and bottled beer are all $4 (R.I.P., $3 happy hour deal), so you can spend three hours getting tanked on gin and tonics and Anchor Steams before forcing your fellow bargoers to suffer through a Cher song on the bar's infamous jukebox. There is no food here, so please preface your drinking with a pretzel roll from nearby Stinky's, lest you transform into a giant whiskey sour before the sun sets.
Boat Bar is located at 175 Smith Street between Wyckoff and Warren Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-254-0607).
ALEWIFE NYC: This LIC pub is first and foremost a beer bar, and a curator of the finest brews, at that. So while a $5 select beer deal may not seem like the most exciting happy hour offer, a cool Abraham Lincoln is a steal, considering how high quality some of these drafts are. From 4:20 p.m. (yes) to 7 p.m. daily, beers from the likes of Singlecut Beersmiths and Other Half Brewing run a cool $5, and you can also score $5 wine and $20 buckets if you so desire.