After a long day at the office, nothing sounds better than meeting up with friends for a post-work drink or two. Once 5 p.m. rolls around, New York bars hurry to set up outdoor signs announcing special deals on drinks and snacks for thirsty patrons. Taking advantage of happy hour in NYC is not only a great way to relax and save money, but this is also a time when you’ll share the bar with people from all walks of life. Day-drinking old timers, suit-wearing professionals, hard-working construction guys, tourists, and creatives are some of the New York types with whom you may find yourself engaged in conversation. Whether you’re looking to get a couple of dollars knocked off classic cocktails or down a few cheap beers, these are some of the best happy hours in NYC.
Excuse My French, 96 Orchard St
After the success of Ladureé in SoHo, Parisian chef Johann Giraud and barman Ricardo Valdez opened Excuse My French on the Lower East Side. This bar has all the trappings to make visitors feel as though they stepped into a charming French café that existed decades before. Think blue and gold damask wallpaper, replicas of old paintings, ornate coffered ceiling, and warm lighting. The money saved on drinks can be used to sample the delicious French-inspired tapas and meat and cheese menu.
Happy Hour Deal: 2-for-1 on select beer, wine, and well drinks
When: Monday-Friday, 5 -7 p.m.
Porchlight, 271 11th Ave
This Danny Meyer outpost serves up good old southern hospitality in a sleek, modern setting. On-theme happy hour deals include the flask of punch and Fence Post (a 16 oz can of beer with Zapps Potato Chips) along with daily cocktail specials. Complete with an indoor porch and accompanying rocking chairs, Porchlight is charmingly spacious making it the ideal after-work spot to loosen the tie and kick off those four-inch power heels.
Happy Hour Deal: $5 flask of punch, $7 Fence Post, $10 daily cocktail specials
When: Monday-Friday, 5 -7 p.m.
8th Street Winecellar, 28 W 8th St
After cutting their teeth at Union Square Café, owners Johnny Cohen and Michael Lagnese funneled their expertise into 8th Street Winecellar. Located below street level in Greenwich Village, the bar exudes a warm, intimate atmosphere thanks to dark wood accents, gold-hued lighting, and exposed brick walls. The rotating wine list is handpicked and highlights small wine-makers in France, Spain, and Italy. Schedule a happy hour date here to catch up with a friend over wine and a meat and cheese board.
Happy Hour Deal: $6 glasses of house wine, $18 select bottles of wine
When: Daily, 4 – 7 p.m.
Réunion Surf Bar, 630 9th Ave
Taking its name from Réunion Island, a French-owned island off the coast of Madagascar, this Hell’s Kitchen spot takes the beach theme seriously from the cocktails and food menus to décor. Look forward to board-shorts-wearing bartenders serving your drinks. With happy hour specials on house originals like the $6 Acid Drop, Réunion Surf Bar is a place where you go to forget all about a bad day at work. And when you don’t want the weekend to end, there’s all-day happy hour on Sunday. That early morning meeting on Monday could be rough, though.
Happy Hour Deal: $3 Pilsner and Acid Shots, $4 IPA, $5 Surfer Girl, $6 Acid Drop Cocktails, Mermaids, and Paloma
When: Monday, Thursday, Friday, 5:30 – 8 p.m. and all day Sunday
The Wayland, 700 E 9th St
Finding a good oyster happy hour is always a plus, but finding one that includes a drink special is like winning the lottery. The next time you are hit with a craving for shellfish and a $7 Sazerac, head to the Wayland in the East Village. This is a bar that knows all about the craftsmanship behind making fine cocktails but doesn’t feel the need to tell you about it. Located between two community gardens, The Wayland is the perfect setting to relax after the workday.
Happy Hour Deal: Discounted cocktails, $1 oysters, $5 oyster shooters
When: Monday-Friday, 4 – 7 p.m.
Maya, 1191 1st Ave
Established by celebrated Mexican chef Richard Sandoval, Maya pays homage to Mexico’s local tequilerias where people socialize over small plates and drinks. Daily happy hour specials and a reverse happy hour every Thursday and Friday add to the festive mood at this Upper East Side bar and restaurant. We suggest coming on Tuesday when you can wash down two for $4 tacos with $5 cervezas and $7 margaritas.
Happy Hour Deal: $7 libations, margaritas, and glasses of select wines, $5 select beers, $12 snifters
When: Monday, 3 p.m. – close, Tuesday – Friday, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 5 p.m. – close, Thursday and Friday, Reverse Happy Hour (9:30 p.m. – close).