If you’re coming to New York City for Fleet Week this year, don’t be that person who spends the whole time hanging out at tourist traps in Times Square. Yes, there are lots of bright lights and actors dressed like Spiderman doing cartwheels in the street for money, but there is so much more to New York than that.
To help you get out of your comfort zone, the Task & Purpose team has put together a list of our favorite bars around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Brian Jones’ pick
Botanica | 47 E Houston St. New York, NY
Reason to visit: Try to find a more quintessential New York City dive bar, I dare you. Literally in a basement, Botanica has great happy hour specials, plenty of seating and space, great music, and no reference point for the concept of time or space in the outside world. The beer selection is solid and diverse and the happy hour lasts till 8 p.m. — what more could you want?
Sarah Sicard’s pick
The Copper Still | 13 First Ave. New York, NY
Reason to visit: The Copper Still is one of my favorite bars in the city. It’s an Irish bar with an incredible selection of bourbon. They serve Kentucky Bourbon Ale, which is beer aged in a bourbon barrel — probably my favorite beer of all time. The bar is casual, mostly standing room, plays great music, and does a three-hour happy hour from 4-7 p.m.
Matt Battaglia’s pick
Jimmy’s Corner | 140 W 44th St. New York, NY
Reason to visit: If you have to go to Times Square, this is the only real bar left. It offers $4 beers and the walls are covered in photos of boxing legends. It’s the best place to go in Midtown if you just want to bullshit and drink. There are tables in the back, seats at the bar and is best for small groups.
Lauren Katzenberg’s pick
Topaz Bar | 251 Bushwick Ave. Brooklyn, NY
Reason to visit: Now I know for people unfamiliar with New York City, Brooklyn is that neighborhood you often hear about that sounds both terrifying and alluring. It’s filled with organic, vegan, gluten-free, free-range food that you can’t pronounce made by smelly hipsters who rock unwashed hair and lots of plaid. But the trek Topaz Bar is worth having to ask yourself multiple times, “Is that dude homeless or just ironic?” Topaz is only a 10-minute subway ride to Montrose Ave on the L train from Union Square. It’s got amazing cocktails that are a lot cheaper than drinks in the city, and it is always filled with women. On a Friday night, there’s a great DJ and dance floor. Tell them Lauren sent you.
Adam Linehan’s pick
Turkey’s Nest | 94 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, NY
Reason to visit: There’s no better place to start a pub crawl in the summer than this blue-collar dive nestled in the heart of Williamsburg. Not just because the beers are cheap — $5 for a 32-ounce of Budweiser or Coors Light or mix drink — but because they’re served in styrofoam cups with a lid and straw, which means you can walk right out the door with them. I’m not aware of another bar in New York that lets you do that, and I don’t know if it’s totally legal, but, hey, everyone does it and therefore so should you. Even better: Across the street is McCarren Park, where you can lounge around for hours getting drunk. It’s heaven.
Lisette Voytko’s pick
The Charleston | 174 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, NY
Reason to visit: If you’re adventuring to Brooklyn, you don’t need to go far for this delight of a dive bar with a kickass jukebox — it’s literally across the street from the L train. $5 gets you a beer and shot combo (the Bandito, aka Tecate plus cheap tequila, is highly recommended by yours truly.) But even better is the free personal pizza that comes with it. Tip your pizza guy and your bartenders well, and they’ll reward you handsomely. There’s no way you won’t be stumbling out of here by last call.