Finding a bar to meet a friend at can be a daunting task with the number of options a city like New York has to offer. There are a number of things to consider when picking the right place, but for me it comes down to convenience, affordability, and atmosphere.
(*above* Nowhere Bar NYC)
Convenience, because I hate traveling far out of the way to get somewhere. If I have to take more than one transfer I second guess going out for the evening. If I have to make more than two transfers, forget about it. Affordability, because, well isn’t it obvious? I don’t want to blow my entire paycheck on drinks. And atmosphere, because I want to be able to enjoy my friends company while we’re out, and not be fighting for their attention at some over stuffed hip spot where we can’t even hear each other.
Here’s a list of what I consider the best gay bars to have a chill drink at in Manhattan. They’re all fairly equal in terms of price and atmosphere, so convenience is the only separating factor. They also each have some great happy hour deals.
(*above* Barracuda NYC)
NOTE – Typically on weekends most gay bars become unruly dance clubs and tend to pack up with routy guys. These recommendations are bars I suggest hitting up on weeknights – when you want to have a chill night out with a friend or two and need to pick a place.
(Near Lower East Side/East Village)
A pretty divey bar, complete with a pool table. The Boiler Room is located in the lower part of the East Village, near the corner of East 4th St. and 2nd Ave.. What I love so much about this place is how divey it is. It’s not trying to be glamorous, or live up to any particular personality. It’s gritty. It’s cheap. It’s chill. Not to mention they have a good amount of tables and seating, so on most weeknights you can count on finding a seat. Drinks run about $7-$12 depending how fancy you are.
Daily, 4pm-8pm; Buy one drink, get one for $7
Daily, 10pm-4am; $4 well drinks
Wed, 10pm-4am; $6.50 beer and shot combo specials
Another dive bar that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard to be hip or trendy. Nowhere Bar is located right on 14th St. between 2nd and 1st Avenue. They also have a pool table and plenty of seating to get cozy with a friend. Drinks run about $7-$12 depending how fancy you are.
Mon-Thu, Sun, 3pm-9pm; $4 well, $2-$3 domestic drafts
Fri-Sat, 3pm-8pm; $4 well, $2-$3 domestic drafts
A bit more trendy than the other bars mentioned on my list, I like Barracuda because it feels more like a lounge. Barracuda is located on 22nd st. between 7th and 8th Avenue. When you first enter, the bar area feels like a dive bar. When you walk into the back room there are plenty of couches and seating that feel somewhat like a living room. This place is great if you have a larger group getting together. Drinks run about $7-$12 depending how fancy you are.
Mon-Fri, 4pm-9pm; two-for-one drinks
Sat-Sun, 4pm-8pm; two-for-one drinks
Barrage is definitely more of a scene. It doesn’t have the same deiv bar feel that the other bars on this list have, though it is a nice bar to meet up friends at. The layout is a bit wonky, and on Fridays and Saturdays it gets really crowded, but on an off night, it’s enjoyable. They have a fun cocktail list and drink specials depending on the night you go.
DAILY HAPPY HOUR:
5-8pm, and 11pm-12am: $2 off drinks
Well drinks – roughly $5
Well drinks run about $7
Monday nights: Frozen Cosmos and Regular Cosmos $4 all night long
Tuesday nights: Frozen Margaritas $4 all night long
Wednesday nights: Vodka/Cranberry $4 all night long