Drinker's Paradise

Chill Out With Frozen Daiquiris, Cool Coladas, Iced Vodkas, and Much, Much More

Chain, Chain, Chain

Palm Sundays: start the week at Cuba Café.
photo: Cary Conover
Palm Sundays: start the week at Cuba Café.

Chain restaurants suffer from the same maladies: blandness, no-frills decor; 45-minute waits; wailing kids everywhere; and food that arrives half an hour after you order (if you're lucky!). But they do have one redeeming quality—cheap, tasty, and unnaturally large libations. The icy, Caribbean-inspired Bahama Mama ($8) is reason enough to head to the cafeteria-like space of Applebee's (234 West 42nd Street, 212-391-7414). The fruity confection (sugar, Malibu, orange and pineapple juices) turns a blasé bar scene into a blithe, atmospheric party—that's what you call drinkin' good in the neighborhood. At Outback Steakhouse in Queens Place mall (88-01 Queens Boulevard, 718-760-7200), the frosty Wallaby Darned (peaches, DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps, champagne, and Smirnoff; $6.49) tastes like the last alcoholic beverage on earth. Or not . . . the Down Under Darned peddles an extra shot for $7.50—a sound investment. The Aussie-motif swordfish hangings, dim lighting, and a sporty bar serve as a prime spot for mallrat cruising, and if that doesn't work out, there's always rib-eye. And where would the world be without the obscenely wide array of bracing concoctions compliments of Friday's (1680 Broadway, 212-767-8326)? After gazing at a mélange of enticing substances from the menu, order a sublimely flavored June Bug (melon liqueur, Malibu, banana liqueur, Sweet & Sour Mix, and pineapple juice; $8.75). Settle in at the bar among excited weekenders clamoring for another glass and finger foods. Hey, most people are ashamed to admit that they even frequent these types of places, but when you're gulping a sugary cocktail the size of your head it's a lot easier to admit that deep down, they've won your heart. [franklin]

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