They say that booze is a good business to be in during a recession. This is true. Sure, sometimes we like to sit at home alone with a bottle of vermouth and a beret, but every now and then it's nice to take in some of the city's wonderful taverns and enjoy a sniff of ale, with people. So, in aid of getting beyond the fug of your beer-stale room, we offer our favorite bars in New York City.
Best Bar to Find Old Brooklyn Drinking with New
Three Jolly Pigeons
6802 Third Ave.
For a long time, 3JP was thought of as a "classic old man bar," but in recent years a crowd of local youths has claimed a place for themselves there. Stop in during the day and find the retiree horse-races crowd; come back later and find a mix of blue-collar Irish and perpetual college students. It's the best bar in the only West Brooklyn neighborhood still untouched by gentrification.
Best Artful Cocktail After an Afternoon at P.S.1
27-24 Jackson Ave.
The most far-flung outpost of craft cocktail revivalist Sasha Petraske's fast-expanding empire opened in Long Island City last summer, when the still drying varnish on the completely wood-paneled space was a little suffocating. Since then it's really shaken down nicely, mixing up delicious Queensborough-themed cocktails at a fraction (roughly three-quarters) of their Manhattan prices.
Best Pit Stop and Microbrew on Your Bike Rides Between Greenpoint and Williamsburg
43 Franklin St.
We couldn't even tell you the name or provenance of most of the obscure and expertly curated domestic and imported beers we've had at the Diamond, which is only partly because their relative affordability compels us to drink a little too merrily every time we visit this diamond in the North Williamsburg rough.
Best Dimly Lit West Village Spot to Find Jason Patric Acting Like a Dick
502 Sixth Ave.
Sit at the bar long enough in this classy bistro and you're bound to eye a few celebs—if not an Olsen or an Anderson Cooper, then at least notorious creep Jason Patric.
Best Drag Queen Karaoke, or Karaoke Period
Hope and Anchor
347 Van Brunt St.
By day H&A is a nautically themed diner, but most nights it transforms into a watering hole commanded by Karaoke (Drag) Queen Dropsy. We usually avoid our favorite bars on their karaoke nights, but at H&A, it's never too noisy; the song selections, strong; the crowd, encouraging; the talent on hand, inspiring; the drinks, affordable. (That last one is really why we go.)
Best Bar in the No-Mans-Land Between the East and West Villages
Black and White Bar
86 E. 10th St.
On a weird little block between Union Square South and Astor Place North, the cozy, dimly lit Black and White Bar—which is actually red all over—provides an especially welcome semi-basement refuge in winter months with its warm, flattering glow, thick curtains, hardwood floors, roomy booths and not-too-hip-but-not-too-douchey crowd of young professionals and students.
Best Bar in Which You Can Play Pinball, with a Miller High Life, in Peace
143 Havemeyer St.
Sparse in design and crowds, this minimalist bar is ideal for pinball aficionados who enjoy their booze. Here, you get the essentials: an attentive bartender, a couple booths you'll never sit in, and at least five ever-changing pinball machines. But, shh, keep the secret unless you randomly meet someone who starts talking about their favorite 90s Data East machine while sipping gin.