Finally, a place to while away a weekend afternoon, sitting in a lawn chair, getting drunk: At Yabby‘s (265 Bedford Avenue, 718-384-1664), you can sip sangria ($6) on the spacious patio and watch attractive hipsters stroll by from a jungle of lush trees and plants while purring Vespas and live jazz lull you into a state of semiconscious bliss. If the double threat of booze and sun starts to wear you down, make your way through the two open garage doors leading to the bar, grab a Heineken (4), and sink into one of the many plush couches—you’ll swear that’s an ocean breeze blowing over you. Is this Brooklyn or Big Sur? —Ken Switzer

Having come up from life in Miami, I assumed that all hotels rock a pool adjacent to the cabana bar, but inquiries made to hot spots like the Hudson and the Mercer were met with a startled “No.” One of the few hotel pools you will find is at Le Parker Meridien (118 West 57th Street, 708-7340,, 42 stories above the formerly old-school uptowner that’s kept in step with the Schragerization of the hotel industry—its super-sleek face-lift and Le Corbusier chairs suggest a starship deck rather than a vener-able five-star. “Uptown, not uptight,” bark the brochures, although the clientele suggests a slow transition: You’re hanging with a group of mostly kids and their idle parents, not high-glam jet-setters on their way to that sunset rave in Punte del Este. But honestly, does the Hudson have a glass-walled pool overlooking the park, with room service? My cosmo ($10, plus gratuity and $3.25 delivery charge) was so smooth it made me wonder if there was now a process in which limes are ionically bonded to cranberries. For the water-starved, there are two ways to access this oasis in the sky: (1) Be a guest or (2) Procure a one-day pass to the hotel’s gym, Gravity (, which, at $50, includes pool access. —José Germosén

Liquid City’s Index for Abaya Bar (244 East Houston Street, 777-7467)

  • Number of overgrown orange banquettes ballooning up to the ceiling like mutant pumpkins: 1 (runs the length of the room)
  • Ratio of orange Lucite slabs (i.e., tables) to burgundy vinyl tufts (i.e., seats): 1:2
  • Percentage of decor out of Wallpaper magazine: 75
  • Percentage of decor out of The Jetsons: 25
  • Price of summer house on Long Island: $1.3 million (approx.)
  • Price of a Long Island iced tea: $9
  • Number of Long Island iced teas needed to make one not mind the “ironic” dance music blaring from DJ booth: 3
  • Number of DJ booths that should be allowed in a lounge: 0—J. Yeh

    “These kinds of people are owners, not renters,” proclaimed Vapid Sister of Rhône (63 Gansevoort Street, 367-8440). Around the corner from Pastis, this candlelit converted garage, with exposed-brick walls and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, is a gilded saloon for those who ride the jitney, not the F train. Hence, Vapid Sister hustled us here to lure invites from strangers to the Hamptons. At the stainless-steel bar, with its glossy walnut paneling, Vapid chose a bland white Luberon ($9) while I picked the Lirac ($8), a potent, peppery red. Then we dropped a copy of The New York Observer and let two investment bankers with time shares in Quogue pick it up for us. Invest in some Lily Pulitzer prior to this sort of grifting. —Nita Rao

    Adobe walls, rustic wood beams, a clay-tiled roof over the ceviche station—are we in the Alamo? No, it’s the barroom of Chicama (35 East 18th Street, 505-2233), the yummy Nuevo Latino cantina with the OTT interior design, an olla podrida of movie-set Mexican and “primitive” Peruvian. What’s that over there? A terra-cotta potsherd, natch. Oh wait, you mean that glass overflowing with curly strips of fresh coconut like a Little Bo-Peep wig. The refreshing but barely alcoholic Chicama Colada ($8) contains passion fruit, not piña, so it’s sweet without being sickly. I’ll have one of those, and then the Chicamapolitan [a cosmo with blood-orange vodka], and then a pisco sour. . . . Easy, tiger. —J. Yeh

    Two weeks before her wedding, Nervous Nellie pitched a fit. She was in a snit. Her wheezy air-conditioning was the pits. So we met for beers at Broome Street Bar (363 West Broadway, 925-2086), because this unfrilled watering hole/bistro has a single-file row of ceiling fans, hardwood floors, superlative AC, menus scribbled on hanging chalkboards, and a restorative jukebox. “Gimme a Schneider Weiss ($6.50 for 26 ounces) and a Sloppy Joe ($6.50),” commanded the rather autocratic Nellie. The sweetie pie barkeep with the goggley glasses confessed he didn’t pour Bass Ale, so I politely requested a Stella Artois ($5). Then Nellie smoked a Camel and we pondered the mortifications of addressing her invitations with American Bison stamps. —Nita Rao

    Pride parade crowds got you down? You could take refuge at Monster or Splash, but for true relief take a detour over to BLU (161 West 23rd Street, 633-6113). The city’s only after-hours gay bar welcomes you with hard-body bartenders serving up their best mixes, like Raul’s Lemonade Load ($5.50), and low-price domestic beers ($4), plus an occasional guest celeb—last year, Jackie Beat paid all the BLU boys a conspicuous visit. All lesbians anxious for nightfall should speed up the clock by heading to Crazy Nanny’s (21 Seventh Avenue South, 366-6312). Unlike at Henrietta’s, two floors of nonstop partying dance space and three alternating DJs keep the adrenaline flowing. Summer drink specials and bartender signatures—like Lisa’s Tropical Paradise ($6.50)—are delectable treats, and as for eye candy, just look around or, better yet, head upstairs and gaze at the sultry dancers. —Keisha Franklin

    Should Giuliani crack down on ticket scalpers and Yankee games come to cost as much as a box seat at the Garden, ye olde stadium-side sports bar will remain a good place to come drink and listen to the Bronx cheers whistling over the sides of the stadium walls. At the Ball Park Sports Bar & Grill (810 River Avenue, Bronx, 718-665-5800), expect everything from soup to nuts to come alongside your drink. There’s a bowling alley, an arcade, a restaurant, and a comfy bar space reminiscent of a Knights of Columbus Hall. My taster noted that there were no beers on tap, but that it beats paying tourist prices for a Sam Adams and a three-ounce Häagen-Dazs bar inside the stadium. Here drinks are reasonably priced ($3 for domestic, $4 for imports), stools are chrome-plated, and the waitress is nicer than anybody. —Alexis Sottile

    Even a jaded bar-hopping hack like me is impressed occasionally by sheer style. Such hath Bot (231 Mott Street, 646-613-1312), whose boldly abstract plate-glass facade brings a splash of ultramod West Chelsea to Nolita. Inside, pink Plexi furniture and a long, undulating chartreuse wall face another of glass, opening onto the secluded garden. Recommended: the cocktails— grown-up wine coolers, as it were—served in champagne flutes ($9 to $10). There are sophisticated sangrias of pears, strawberries, and mint steeped in four Tuscan varietals; and prosecco (a Venetian bubbly) mixed with pomegranate, peach, or orange puree. Getting loaded at Bot isn’t cheap, but the surroundings will make you feel like a million bucks. —J. Yeh

    Dear reader, a confession: I am a prim matron with Ralph Macchio hair and a tendency toward visible panty lines. Still, umpteen cads battled to besmirch my virtue at the open-air, Europa-style Luna Park Café (1 Union Square East, 475-8464), with its Fellini-meets-Mall of America’s food court patina. There is a pot for every lid here. My suitors ordered tangy frozen margaritas ($9) and tart and limey bottles of Corona ($6) glazed with ice. At sunset in Union Square Park, we sipped the libido potions beneath a lattice of twinkling white lights. Knots of sexceptional, browned enchantresses suspended The Rules and got genteelly blotto with Preppy Handbook types via the big house. Mama mia! —Nita Rao

    With 20,000 shells this year, Macy’s retinal blitzkrieg is probably the best corporate-sponsored psychedelia all year. The trick is finding a place to really see it. Most people forget that you can guzzle Heinekens on the Staten Island Ferry (Whitehall and South streets, 718-815-2628,, with the bay’s mirror doubling the display. If you have more money to spend—and if you reserve soon—you can take the Circle Line Fourth of July Cruise (Pier 83, West 42nd Street and Twelfth Avenue, 563-3200, $20 to $24) and shower in the ash. But freeloading is really the key to fireworks pleasure. Some of the more overlooked and less patrolled vantage points include the streets close to the water in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. And don’t forget: You can get your fireworks fix on the beach every Friday night all summer long at Coney Island (see Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Open City). Call 494-4495 for Macy’s viewing info. —Bryan Zimmerman

    It was a pavement-melting Friday afternoon when the boss announced the start of summer hours, and all cubicles emptied in less than a snap. The bar downstairs was about to get rich. But Omar knew better. His was not a high-profile job; he could not afford to spend the day’s pay on $8 cocktails amounting to less than a tequila shot. Damn paycheck! He walked home angry, his throat dry, dirty, polluted. Mr. Garita had the impression he had a bunch of feathers stuck in his larynx. And then, his eyes caught the red-blue light of Dallas BBQ (various locations). Omar Garita cheered! Blue, orange, yellow margaritas served in fishbowls for only $6.50? Why, he could even bring a date! —Camila Gamboa

    Before you bother renting parachutes for your next rooftop kegger, get your cyber-ass down to, a Web site selling more than 200 brews (available in cases and kegs) ranging from gutter-trough (OK, if you consider Brooklyn Lager the Beast) to high-rise, and promising same-day delivery when you order before 1 p.m. With free delivery, pickup, cups, and tap and tub rental, about the only thing they don’t throw in is ice—oh, yeah, and roof-top liability insurance.—D. Shawn Bosler

    When near-triple-digit temperatures heat the city, the breezes that blow in Bryant Park Grill‘s (25 West 40th Street, 840-6500) open-air café are a welcome relief. Roof-deck dining, located behind the New York Public Library, overlooking three acres of open green surrounded by tall, arching trees, is an ideal respite from the midtown maelstrom. And if the margaritas and cosmopolitans ($8) don’t go well with your grilled Camembert cheese ($9.50), you can always switch to the vast selection of wine ($6.50 to $9) and beer ($8 and up). —Ioana Veleanu