New York bars:
» EAST VILLAGE:
189 E. 3rd St. btwn A & B
Old school, rock'n'roll arty hipster hangout, with DJ sets and occasional live acts/open mic sessions. The interior decor looks like it was designed by someone on strong hallucinogens. We liked it.
website (212) 228-4811
Serving up ferocious cocktails, this old hairdresser's shop draws its inspiration from a 1950s beauty salon. There's hairdryers on the bar, vintage beauty salon chairs to relax on and even an in-house manicurist available. Open till 4am, we recommend visiting in the week as weekends can get horrendously crowded.
website (212) 539-1389
85 E. 4th St.
Formerly the local headquarters of a Ukrainian communist party, this East Village bar offers more than a dozen types of vodka, served under the shadow of old propaganda posters and framed portraits of bygone party leaders. There's also a theatre and a legendary reading series, where writers read their work for no pay but a few free drinks.
photo website (212) 505-3360
Korova Milk Bar
200 Avenue A, 12th Street.
Based on the Clockwork Orange bar, the black and white interior is very stylised with TV monitors embedded in the walls and naked manikins stuck on the walls. Famed for it's unique Martini and Margarita concoctions, the 4am bar can get very busy on the weekends. I'm afraid we found it to be more style over substance.
photo (212) 254-8838
194 Avenue A at East 12th St
*SADLY PERMANENTLY CLOSED AFTER FIRE
urban75's number one NYC choice! The Raven Bar was an unpretentious, down to earth, old-school East Village bar attracting a friendly and yuppie-free goth/alt/indy/ska crowd. Open till 4am, the beers were reasonably priced, and there was an open mic/DJ performances throughout the week. Our favourite nights were Wednesdays and Fridays when DJ DANDY SEX played a cheeky and eclectic mix of punk, glam, new wave and goth. Admission was FREE. We miss this bar big time.
photo website (212) 529-3956
» LOWER EAST SIDE:
47 E Houston St. (Mott St./Mulberry St.)
It's dark, dingy, the seats wobble and the furniture's shabby - so we loved it! Attracting a friendly, attitude-free, boho student/musician crowd, this has long been one of my favourite, unpretentious NYC bars. Guest DJs play a non-mainstream selection from Cockney Rebel to Sinatra, while the dimly lit back rooms offer ample space for chilling out. Open till 4am.
photo (212) 343-7251
The Keltic Lounge
132 Ludlow St (Stanton/Rivington Sts)
Apparently spelt with a 'K' to force Americans to pronounce 'Celtic' properly, this busy and bustling bar has a lively jukebox selection (Radiohead, Velvets, The Clash), with acoustic and Open Mic nights in the week.
178 Ludlow St. between Houston and Stanton Sts
A long-time Lower East Side institution, Max Fish sports a high-ceilinged main room, pool table in the back, booths at each end with a changing art show on the walls.
photo website (212) 529-3959
84 Stanton Street
A popular venue for new folk/country/acoustic talent, this much loved Lower East Side bar has recently moved from its tiny Stanton Street premises to Ludlow Street. The bar remains a casual, friendly hang out and well worth the one drink minimum cover charge (be sure to put some bucks in the bucket that goes around for the bands).
photo website (212) 533-7235
171 Ludlow St
Sadly now CLOSED. A victim of the increasing gentrification in the area, the owners are currently seeking new premises in Williamsburg.
photo website (212) 260-2323
Motor City Bar
127 Ludlow St (Rivington/Delancey Sts)
Owned by motor-crazy Detroit natives, this large, dimly-lit bar is bedecked with road signs and car memorabilia. There's comfy sofas, a huge street-facing window, no cover charge and reasonably priced beers. Music comes courtesy of in-house DJs who'll keep you going till 4am with their hangover-troubling mix of loud punk, garage rock, doo-wop and more.
174 Orchard Street (Stanton Street)
As befits its name, the SKINnY is a long, narrow, low-lit quaffery, with a bar stretching along one side. There's some seating upstairs next to the bijou DJ booth. Drinks are no-fuss domestic and imported bottled beer with decent cocktails a mere $5.
(718) 218-6662 » See pic
70 N. 6th St, Williamsburg
Situated between Wythe and Kent Aves, this enormous space bills itself as an art, music, dance, theater and performance space, gallery and bar. There's a stage in the main room with a big, arty rectangular reflecting pool. We saw an amazing hula-hoop tastic performance by Hoopalooza when we were there. Recommended.
website (718) 782-5188 » See pic
180 Grand St. Bedford /Driggs Aves.
With something of the ambience of an Irish bar without the gimmicks, this youngish bar is set inside an old candy store. There's some pleasant alcoves and window seats to suit your mood, with the music chilled out and hip.
(718) 384-5008 » See pic
256 Grand St., Brooklyn
Decked out in reflective wallpaper, clear plastic tubing and what looks like lap dancer poles, this long, narrow club attracts a mixed crowd of punks, ravers, straights, gays and lesbians. The vibe is unpretentious and fun with live punk and rock acts three or four nights of the week, along with some movie/club nights.
photo website (718) 599-1000
Montero Bar and Grill
73 Atlantic Ave, Hicks St/B.Q.E.
Its off-putting pink neon sign may not beckon you in, but once inside you can enjoy a feast of nautical paraphernalia recalling Brooklyn's 'On the Waterfront' era. It's definitely not one for delicate hipsters, this old school bar invites you to soak up the friendly atmosphere, play a game of pool and sup on some Bud (if you must).
241 Grand St., Brooklyn
Bravely resisting the local gentrification, this dark, smoky Williamsburg haunt is a real gem. Lit by bare red light bulbs and offering cosy booths, a great jukebox with local DJs, you can expect giant-sized Martinis, great service and a mixed and friendly crowd. We liked it so much we got absolutely hammered there!
Teddy's Bar & Grill
96 Berry St. Brooklyn
It's not particularly hip and our table had a definite downward slope about it, but this 100 yar old bar isn't a place for airs and graces. The food is (veggie) burger-and-fries simple and the Brooklyn Lager was as fresh as you'll find anywhere.
(718) 384-9787 » See pic
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Classic bar! Good beer and a great vibe.
Nice bar, well worth a few beers