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Need a drink? A fancy cocktail? A cheap beer? Well, you’ve come to the right place. New York’s East Village, after all, is home to a trove of bars. There are dives and gaming bars, hidden speakeasies with well-suited mixologists shaking craft cocktails, and neighborhood joints where you can simply get a drink and a burger.
Neither reservations nor covert knocks are required at The Summit Bar. Instead, everyone is welcomed in for house cocktails, wine, beer and champagne. Snag a seat at the velvet banquette or simply belly up to the bar. The daily happy hour from 5pm-8pm offers a lengthy menu of $8 (£6) cocktails, $4 (£3) beers, $7 (£5.50) glasses of wine and dollar oysters.
This funky dive bar on Avenue A plies its regulars with cheap beer. Music is on at all hours, streaming from the old jukebox filled with punk-rock jams, and movies are often projected on the walls. The floors are sticky, the bathroom is coated in a layer of colorful graffiti and the bartenders are just as aloof as you’d expect. But all this doesn’t matter. After all, you’re here for the friendly folk, good music and inexpensive drinks.
There aren’t many places to stand (or sit, for that matter) at Blue & Gold, one of the East Village’s many dive bars. The ceilings are questionably low, the dilapidated pool table is merely functional and the bartenders are scruffy – eager to pour you a beer, but that’s about it. Yet that is the point of Blue & Gold, and the regulars who come back and come often to this watering hole will quickly tell you so.
Ruffian, a wine bar/restaurant slipped into a narrow storefront underneath an East Village walk-up, can barely fit the 19 seats it was designed to house. But that’s part of the fun. Here, you’ll rub shoulders with native New Yorkers, knock back glasses of natural wine and feast on an assortment of ever-changing small plates that include pork liver pâté and squid stuffed with smoked tapenade and romesco.
This modern cocktail bar is busy at least in part thanks to its very Instagram-friendly vibes (there’s a neon-blue bar, vines creeping down from the ceiling outside and American brunch food, to boot). For drinks, choose between the likes of Split Personalities (Redemption rye, Doctor Bird rum, banana, pandan, bitters) and On Wednesdays We Wear Pink (a nod to Mean Girls swirled with Fords gin, Linie aquavit, Campari, basil, lemon and watermelon), then grab a stool at the bar or cozy up on the patio spilling out onto East Eighth Street.
Mister Paradise bills itself as a mix between esoteric cocktail culture and a bona fide party, smack in the middle of the East Village. The cocktails here all have cheeky names – throw back An Awfully Big Mustache (aged rum, Islay scotch, beetroot caramel, toasted sesame, lemon) or take a shot of the Crossfit Breakfast (Venezuelan rum, coffee, coconut, malted pandan, whipped cream). Whatever you choose, you’ll want to finish with an apple-pie hot pocket: an elevated version of the familiar dish you might find at McDonald’s, and the flaky pastry is crowned with house-made ice cream.