Get a Little Closer at a Lounge Fit for a King—and a Pauper


Finally, a place that’s perfect for acts of debauchery only permissible in college. The Royale’s bland Irish-pub exterior is trumped by its dimly lit red decor—crimson banquettes, a zebra-print DJ booth, and plastic palm trees create an inviting sex den. The two-room affair brims with the most racially diverse and lively non-hipster crowd to be caught grazing this side of Williamsburg on a Friday night. Dreadlocked, clean-cut guys and primped ladies flirtatiously groove to funky soul, old- and new-skool hip-hop, and reggae as they down killer drinks on the cheap. An almondy, tequila-laden Matador martini ($7) makes revelers shimmy on the dancefloor while thrifty drinkers purchase “the bucket” (five seven-ounce bottles of Rolling Rock, $7) in anticipation of a long night. If you find yourself playing tongue twister with a handsome beau or lass, you’re sure to settle in as well.

40/40 CLUB

6 West 25th Street, 212.989.0040

A true playa’s paradise, Jay-Z’s new sports lounge is 8,000 square feet of grown-up fun: TVs everywhere, cigar room, V.I.P. lounges with pool tables and video games, and unisex bathrooms. A mixed crowd of after-workers, ballas, artists, and fans come here dressed to be seen as they down specialty drinks like the tropical Blue Yankee (blue kamikaze made with Armadale vodka, Bacardi 151 rum, blue Curaçao, and lime juice, $9) on one of the sexy white leather couches. Ya feelin’ it yet? Bastidas


324 Bowery, 212.677.6773

A sure way to channel your inner mamita or papi chulo is through the spirits (no, we’re not talking Santería! It’s all about the drinks!). And what better time than summer, when it’s already caliente? This hole-in-the-wall promises a good time and delivers. Multicolored stools, candles, and lively music set the mood; fruity tropical drinks like the Pasión de Agozar (Bacardi rum, passion fruit, lime, pineapple, and Chambord; $8) and La Habana Vieja (fresh fruit, Bacardi rum, and orange liqueur; $8) ignite it. Bastidas


29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 718.274.4925

Almost 100 years after Czech immigrants fled oppression from Austria-Hungary, landing on two Astoria farm lots where they built the Bohemian Hall and Park, this place still stands as the only remaining beer garden in New York City. You’re safe here, surrounded by the thick brick walls, the trees, the sky, and the wide array of cheap (!) Czech and German beers served in steins. While the occasional polka band plays, sit and relax at a picnic table among the locals. Kim


200 Eighth Avenue, 212.633.1570

This Cubano serves up pseudo-authenticity—slow-moving fans, fake palm trees, paintings of showgirls, waiters with thick accents—and liquid nostalgia. The sinfully delicious Latin Lover (coconut rum with orange, cranberry, and pineapple juices; $8) and hip-shaking Mambopolitan (rum, lime, triple sec, cranberry juice; $8) will have even the clueless reminiscing about those pre-revolutionary days. Bastidas


156 Seventh Avenue, 212.337.8000

If it’s the scene you crave but the sweltering sun and steamy studs are making you sweat, replenish a parched deep throat with raspberry lemonade ($9) at this hangout. Reaching new levels of chichi with comfort cuisine, Elmo’s Country Time redux concocts Stoli Razberi, fresh pink lemonade, and raspberry puree. Surrounded by cushiony chairs straight out of The Jetsons, mosaic tiles, mirrors, and mood lighting that slyly suggests Los Angeles, seductively sip your sinfully sweet drink. Kim


1680 Broadway, 212.767.8326

Where would the world be without the obscene array of bracing concoctions—cheap, tasty, and unnaturally large—some chain restaurants have on offer? Order a sublimely flavored June Bug (melon liqueur, Malibu, banana liqueur, sweet-and-sour mix, and pineapple juice; $8.75) and settle in by the bar among excited weekenders at this or any other Friday’s for that matter. As you gulp a sugary cocktail the size of your head, you’ll stop minding the bland food, no-frills decor, and wailing kids. Franklin


559 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, 718.599.4444

Faux-hawks, vintage tees, and studded belts prevail in the enormous backyard at this Billyburg locale. The latticework and wood decking juxtaposed with all the tattoos resemble a boathouse at some punk-rock summer camp for homosexuals. Cruise around with a potent tequila gimlet ($6) in hand while listening to one of the most gay-pleasing jukeboxes in New York—New Order, Stevie Nicks, Erasure, B-52’s—and relax under the kinda starry sky. Adkison


355 Bowery, 212.979.1818

The color orange is said to be a stimulant, which may be the reason that this Bowery newcomer has paid homage to this shade. Order one of the bar’s cocktails: The OV house drink (amaretto, sloe gin, vodka, and orange juice; $6.50) is a fruity concoction, and Christopher’s Lichee Martini ($7.50) is a sweet little number. Recessed lighting, dark wood, and faux-bronze tables add to the warming effect. Now, if only they’d forgo the Canadian-esque club music and show their true colors; after all, they have an address to live up to. Bastidas


12 St. Marks Place, 212.995.8400

The margarita can be downright fun and fratty. It’s the perfect cocktail to get wasted on. Purists argue tequilas, rocks, and salts, but we say, “Pull that slushee pump!” We’re overjoyed that San Marcos has settled down on St. Marks. Frozen mango, strawberry, and lime margaritas are a mere $5 to $5.50. After trying all three flavors, we recommend the mango; it’s tart, never medicine-y, and you can taste bits of the pithy flesh throughout. Spartos


41 Broadway, Brooklyn, 718.387.3182

An old man’s bar for young people, this rectangular brick room is quickly becoming known as the neighborhood “conversation” lounge. Whether it’s the friendly patrons or the hospitable bartenders, the fact is people are actually communicating—intelligently, even. With a great late-night scene, the tone is set with DJs spinning a few nights a week. Even sans DJs, the bartenders aurally create a mood that keeps the painted tin roof shimmering. There’s a happy hour from 4 to 8 with a dollar off all drinks. Bosler