New Year's Eve Guide: Eats + Drinks

New Year's Eve Guide: Eats + Drinks

The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

Since opening its doors in 1913, the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant has been the spot for hiding in plain sight with a newspaper and an iced-down tray of raw ocean gems. In fact, it has been there for so long that it's easy to forget this dimly lit cacophony of clinking glasses and boisterous discussion. Anyone can sit on one of its red stools and imagine the decades of commuting suits nursing cocktails while waiting for their trains. But the thing that really makes this place stand out is the taproom off to the side of the main dining hall, where the bar has everything from Chimay White to Sixpoint Righteous Rye on draft. If you're heading into town by rail, this is the perfect jumping-off point for a night out. Get there early; doors close at 9:30 p.m. 87 East 42nd Street, lower level, 212-490-6650 oysterbarny.com

Summit Bar

In a town known for cocktails, you really have to have your shit together to get noticed, and the people over at Summit Bar have managed to get my attention. One 95-degree day, a friend marched me across the city, past at least 30 different spots, to get a drink. We arrived at this classy little hole off Avenue C, and he ordered two John Lee Hookers ($12 each). After my first sip, the sky brightened, and I heard birds singing. After my third, I wanted to climb a tree, build a pillow fort, and invent a new game of tag involving a strict no-hands rule. The drinks are just that good. Don't plan on staying long, though. You can get priced out pretty quickly if you're not paying attention.

133 Avenue C, thesummitbar.net

Dudley's

This little corner spot south of Delancey has been getting a lot of attention from all across the spectrum. Although the kitchen turns out some delectably simple fare, the real magic is found at the bottom of your cocktail glass. Dudley's is a great spot for drinks before and after a night out—especially if you need a cup of coffee to sober up before diving headlong into the strip of clubs along Ludlow. (It has its own dedicated street window strictly for this purpose.) This is the place to go if you're looking for something a little more intimate on New Year's Eve. The friendly and helpful staff gives the Australian-owned-and-operated establishment its own warmth in the middle of the harsh, cold months. Make a reservation for groups of four or more.

85 Orchard Street, 212-925-7355

dudleysnyc.com

Second Chance Saloon

Have you ever wanted to drive a Harley-Davidson straight into a brick wall but never had the chance? The good people at this East Williamsburg saloon have probably done it and are eager to tell the tale. The exterior of Second Chance Saloon might be nondescript, but the regulars who pack this place are most definitely not. This local favorite has been going strong for a few years now and shows no sign of slowing down. With no flashing lights or smoke machines in the joint, it gets by on charisma alone, and the backyard section is perfect for large groups of chain-smokers. Ask the bartender/owner, Eric, about the blueberry tattoo on his arm—it's one of his better stories. 659 Grand Street, 718-387-4411

GYM

GYM holds pride of place as New York City's premier gay sports bar. It supports a slew of gay athletics leagues and events, and on Thursday nights, the "Locker Room" downstairs holds flip cup competitions for the frat boy in all of us. GYM's $4 Long Island iced tea special will be in full effect from 9 p.m. until close, the perfect pregame cocktail for anyone on a nightlife budget before heading to Splash. (The Brooklyn Nets go up against the San Antonio Spurs at 7 p.m., by the way.) 167 Eighth Avenue, 212-337-2439

gymsportsbar.com

Sly Fox

The East Village is one of the few Manhattan neighborhoods that have managed to hold on to some vestige of immigrants past. During the day, you can still see little old Eastern European women making their way to the grocery store and giving the evil eye to anyone naive enough to offer them help. Brought up in the shadow of Stalin, they didn't get to this age by asking punks like you for help—they did it all on their own. It's that kind of attitude that keeps the doors of this Ukrainian grog cave open. Sly Fox's cheap pitchers of beer and deep booths offer you a nice, comfortable place to get incredibly drunk this year. If you're looking for the bathrooms, head toward the back and cross through the strange, out-of-place hallway reminiscent of a shopping mall in Topeka, Kansas. 140 Second Avenue, 212-614-3283

City Crab

With no shortage of seafood options in the area, you really have to know what you're doing if you want to keep your doors open—and City Crab has managed to do just that. This Park Avenue South destination turns 20 this March, and in celebration of this milestone, it's serving up five-pound lobsters, lamb, and a host of other special items for you to pair with its excellent wine list. After the free champagne toast at midnight, the staff will clear the tables and turn down the lights for an evening of revelry. 235 Park Avenue South, 212-529-3800 citycrabnyc.com

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