The relentless fancification of the Lower East Side achieved terminal velocity long ago, but not all of the newer arrivals are agents of $15-cocktail violence. Since 2013, Clockwork Bar has been a beacon in the gathering gloom, a no-nonsense, nostalgia-free gesture back to a time when rent was cheap, bars were scuzzy, and the punk giants of yore still walked the earth. Located right across from Seward Park near the East Broadway subway stop, Clockwork is all stripped-down functionality. There are walls (covered in graffiti). There is alcohol (a can of Genesee costs $3; if you really want to splash out on draft beer, you can spend $6 on a Sixpoint or a Founders). There’s a back room that feels like a shooting gallery. There is a bathroom (not quite CBGB-alarming, but take care). And there’s a steady diet of punk, either on the stereo or provided by the frequent DJs.
21 Essex Street, Manhattan