Boozing on a Budget

Boozing on a Budget


Alcohol is Expensive

The majority of social life in NYC, for better or worse, revolves around bars. With small apartments, a spread-out city, 24-hour public transportation, and 4am closing times bars provide a roomy central meeting point.

This wouldn’t be so bad except a typical craft-beer-non-drink-special is $7, plus the $1 you leave for tip. Real cocktails fall into the double digits.

No worries though, there are still plenty of ways to get cheap booze.

Happy Hour Specials

There are a million happy hours in nyc. There are after-work happy hours (until 7ish), weekend daytime happy hours (until 8ish), and late night happy hours (after midnight).

There are specials (free pizza with a beer, 2 for 1 drinks).

Many brunches have deals with unlimited sangria, bloody mary’s, or mimosa’s (because who doesn’t want to be buzzed at 3pm?)

There’s even a bar that if your name is picked for the day you get to drink for free.

There are way too many happy hours around the city so here are a just few:

  • Alibi Bar in Fort Greene – $3 drinks until 8p
  • Barramundi in the LES – 2 for 1 drinks until 9p
  • Buttermilk Bar in Park Slope – $3 beer until 9p
  • Crocodile Lounge in the East Village – free pizza with beer
  • 4th Down in Williamsburg – bucket of beer specials, $6 beer + shot
  • Key Bar in the East Village – 2 for 1 drinks until 10p
  • Union Pool in Williamsburg – $ 2pbr, $ 3yeungling, $6 beer + shot until 8p

Become A Regular

Regularly go to the same bar, get to know the bartenders, be friendly, leave decent tips.

This can benefit you with free/cheap drinks.


NYC-based websites like The Skint are a valuable resource of events providing cheap & free booze.

Some events host open bars at a certain time-frame or no cover before midnight. Look for after-parties following a band/comedy show/other performance that will usually offer drink specials at a near-by bar.

Many events even include a complimentary drink. And if the booze isn’t free, they will likely have drink specials.

Take It Home

Ultimately, buying a six-pack and bringing it home is generally the cheapest option, if you have room to host.


What are your tricks for cheap drinking? What are your favorite nyc happy hours?


One Reply to “Boozing on a Budget”

  1. My tip is buying the bartender a shot, usually they just make them all free (or at least that’s what they do here). It has failed a couple of times, but it has also worked!

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