New Yorkers who have shelled out for summer drinks at Luna Park or a rooftop hotel bar will at some point ask themselves the very wise question: Why does booze cost more outside? There are no walls. There are no English rose gardens at these places, no topiaries in the shape of Mickey Mouse, nothing that would require an army of gardeners to maintain. The Bud Lite still tastes, unfortunately, like Bud Lite.
There are other options. We gathered together some cheaper alternatives, bars with outdoor patios or gardens and a happy hour that extends at least until 8pm (the sad 4pm-7pm, buck-off deal is a joke, unless you are the 0.0003% of New Yorkers who leave work at three). Add to our list the usual beer gardens—Bohemian Beer Garden, Gowanus Yacht Club—and you have an inexpensive start to the summer.
Boxcar Lounge, 168 Ave B, East Village
Boxcar wins our vote for best outdoor happy hour.
The time: Mon-Thurs 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sun 4pm-8pm
The deal: Buy-one-get-one-free (per person) on all drinks except top shelf and a few drafts
Sunburnt Cow, 137 Avenue C
Head out Monday, and ten bucks buys you drinks and food.
The time: Mon 6pm-midnight (for food), 6pm-2am for drinks
The deal: $5 food (burgers, sandwiches, chicken skewers) and $5 drinks, including 16 specialty cocktails and beer
Barfly, 244 3rd Ave
The time: Mon-Fri 4pm-8pm
The deal: $2.50 well drinks; $4 martinis and cosmos; $1 off all beer
The Delancey The only time you can drink cocktails upstairs cheaply and without a cover.
The time: Mon-Thu 5pm-8pm
The deal: $2 off beer and well drinks (normally $5-$6)
XES Lounge, 157 W 24th St
The time: Mon-Fri 4pm-9pm
The deal: Two-for-one drinks
Bar Reis, 375 5th Ave, Park Slope
The time: Daily 5:30pm-9pm
The deal: $5 margaritas, $4 wine, and $1 off beer and well drinks
Patio Lounge, 179 5th Ave, Park Slope
This bar has not one but two happy hours.
The time: 5pm-8pm daily
The deal: $2 bottle of Bud, $3 Yuengling drafts, $1 off all drafts, $10 pitchers of sangria. (And from 11pm-12am daily: $10 pitchers of Yuengling, $12 pitcher of Stella)
Commonwealth, 497 5th Ave, Park Slope
This Park Slope bar just put in a new backyard patio this summer.
The time: Mon-Fri 6pm-8pm
The deal: $3 beer and well drinks
East River Bar, 97 S 6th St, Williamsburg
The time: Daily 5pm-8pm
The deal: Bartender’s choice, but usually involves $3 drafts and sometimes $5 margaritas
Daddy’s, 437 Graham Ave, Williamsburg
The time: Daily 5pm-9pm
The deal: $2 Bud and Miller Lite, $3 Brooklyn Lager, $1 off well drinks
Duff’s, 28 N Kent St, Williamsburg
Two-dollar shots all the time, the only $1 beer we’ve seen so far, plus free BBQ on summer weekends.
The time: Daily 6pm-9pm
The deal: $1 Pabst, and five different shots for $2 each all the time
Union Pool, 484 Union Ave, Williamsburg
The time: Daily 5pm-8pm
The deal: $3 Sixpoint pints, $4 well drinks, $6 for a shot of Jim Beam and a Bud