One good trip: an alcohol-doused respite from the cold

What to do when you've been fighting off frostbite for months but can't afford a plane ticket down South? You can always take a booze vacation à la The Lost Weekend, minus the moralizing. In Manhattan, the obvious destination is the Hog Pit, where it's always mid July in Texas: The smell of barbecued ribs ($12.95, with two sides) wafting throughout, ice-cold cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon ($2) sweating on the bar, and saucy, midriff-bearing waitresses forcing their way through the crowd. Your getaway is sure to be ruined, however, if you venture here on a Friday night between 6 and 10 p.m. During these hours, bodies pressed too tightly together generate most of the heat. You can try to escape to the back room, but the foosball and pool tables, as well as the Golden Tee Golf game, are almost always taken over. Across from all the fun you're stuck observing from the sidelines, greasy-fingered frat types scarf down chicken wings and shout over each other. Avoid the amateur keg party by arriving after 10 p.m., when the numbers dwindle a bit, the new crowd becomes more diverse, and the music switches over from Charlie Daniels to Zeppelin. Order a Corona with lime ($5), tip your beer to the taxidermic hogs' heads on the walls, and imagine pig roasts on long, sandy beaches—it'll do for now.

 
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