A night out in “The Big Apple” is notorious for burning a hole through your wallet. Ritzy décor, pretentious clientele, and $20 cocktails are the norm in many posh establishments (something that is very much not the case in the rest of the United States).
Don’t fret if you’re in New York Cityand on a tight budget. There are still tons of places in the five boroughs that are loaded with the city’s true character and keep things simple.
From classic dive bars to charming Irish pubs, there’s a place for everyone to stuff their faces with greasy food and cheap drinks to wash down your meal.
Here’s a list of 29 cheap bars in New York City that won’t break the bank!
Manhattan | Brooklyn | Queens | Bronx | Staten Island
1. Rudy’s Bar & Grill – Hell’s Kitchen
Rudy’s Bar & Grill has been going strong since its opening in 1933 and remains one of New York City’s most famous dive bars. The joint has etched its mark for low-priced beer and free hot dogs with any purchase.
Order beer by the pint or pitcher, dance around to music from the jukebox, or watch sports games at this unpretentious space that’s one of the city’s many icons.
2. The Library – East Village
This punk rock-themed dive bar keeps the drinks flowing with two for one happy hour specials 5 pm-8 pm every day. Music blares from the jukebox and gritty artwork decorates the walls.
Books line the shelves of the Library, and the back of this hole-in-the-wall regularly plays corky films on a projector for movie buffs.
3. Jeremy’s Ale House – Financial District
Situated near the historic South Street Seaport, Jeremy’s Ale House is a fun-loving dive known for its beer served in Styrofoam cups and delicious seafood.
The quirky décor features bras hanging from the ceiling, and the low-key vibe welcomes regulars and out-of-towners from all backgrounds.
4. Sly Fox – East Village
A no-frills bar that captures the grungy East Village persona and offers some of the cheapest drinks you’ll find in Manhattan. Pick up Ukrainian food at the adjacent restaurant and wash down your meal with $2 PBRs at the Sly Fox.
Make sure you have cash when ordering at the bar since there is a $20 minimum to use cards.
5. Jimmy’s Corner – Times Square
Surrounded by the overpriced, touristy venues of the chaotic Times Square, Jimmy’sis a breath of fresh air for no-nonsense customers. The NYC institution was opened by renowned boxer Jimmy Glenn, and the establishment has survived decades of development.
Boxing memorabilia decorates the walls, and drink prices are a steal considering the tourist mecca its located. Don’t be surprised to find locals and tourists raising a glass together as music blares from the jukebox.
6. Clandestino – Lower East Side
Clandestino gives patrons a friendly welcome to the area with its low-key vibe, festive music, and the sociable crowd. The bar is stocked with delicious beers on tap, and they even have a top-notch selection of wines.
The bartenders receive rave reviews for their hospitality, and the tin ceiling adds to the cosy ambience of the venue.
7. Milano’s Bar – Nolita
This lively dive is a rare-find in the chic Nolita neighbourhood, and the friendly staff hosts all sorts of interesting characters. Whether you come alone or with a group of rowdy friends, the energetic vibe flows through every customer of Milano’stightly-packed watering hole.
Beer-and-shot specials are light on your wallet, and daily happy hours make this a staple on the Manhattan dive scene.
8. 169 Bar – Lower East Side
169 Bar has been serving cheap, boozy drinks since its opening in 1916 under its original name, “Bloody Bucket.” The eclectic atmosphere is heightened by groovy furnishings, like the leopard print pool table, and the mixture of funk, jazz, and soul music filling the airwaves.
Happy hour deals are available from 11:30 am – 7:30 pm every day, and a live DJ entertains patrons on weekends. The bar also gained notoriety for inventing the pickle martini and being the first bar in the world to offer text ordering from your table.
9. Johnny’s Bar – West Village
There may be no happy hour specials at this neighbourhood dive bar, but ultra-cheap prices make it a popular joint for a drink and some grub. Johnny’s Baris covered with stickers, license plates, and other memorabilia while friendly bartenders top off your glass.
Have cash on you before entering the bar since there’s a large credit card minimum due to the ATM’s exorbitant fees.
10. Greenwich Treehouse – Greenwich Village
Greenwich Treehouse is a second-floor bar in the vibrant Greenwich Village neighbourhood and one of the coolest hangouts to grab cheap drinks. The venue is decorated with Star Wars paraphernalia and large projector screens air live sports.
Nerdy personalities will adore the quirky backroom, arcade games, and trivia challenges offered at the bar. If you’re a party of 20+ guests, reserve the seating area for your guests.
11. Clockwork Bar – Lower East Side
Clockwork Bar pays homage to New York City’s famous punk rock scene with its edgy vibe and graffiti tagged on the walls. The venue offers patrons cheap drinks and a chill vibe perfect for meeting locals.
Don’t be surprised to waltz inside during punk-themed nights or an afterparty from a nearby rock concert.
12. Barcelona Bar – Hell’s Kitchen
For a night of shots, Barcelona Bar is the place to be with over 100 uniquely-named shots for a bargain price. Some selections require you to wear goofy hats or listen to funky music, so choose your shot wisely.
The fun-loving bartenders often read skits depending on your selection and might even take a shot with you. If you’re not in the mood for shots, the bar offers beer and other affordable drinks for a night of debauchery.
13. Nancy Whiskey Pub – Tribeca
Step foot into this homey whiskey tavern with friendly bartenders and delicious sippers for a quality price. The neighbourhood dive is a gem in the fancy Tribeca area, and the staff serves scrumptious burgers and onion rings with your drink.
Find the dram that’s perfect for your palate, enjoy a refreshing beer, sing along to the jukebox, or play shuffleboard at this no-frills pub. Nancy’s Whiskey Pub is consistently named one of the best dive bars in New York City.
14. Hibernia Bar – Hell’s Kitchen
Hibernia Bar is the premier place to watch live sports in Hell’s Kitchen with its high-octane energy, delectable pub fare, and extensive drink menu. Sports lovers pack the Irish pub on game days to watch their favourite teams compete while chowing down on wings and other lip-smacking treats.
The bar is stacked with Irish whiskeys, pints of Guinness, bottled beer, draught beer, and cocktails with daily happy hour specials from 12 pm-7 pm.
15. McSorley’s Old Ale House – East Village
Established in 1854, McSorley’s is a local legend and the oldest Irish pub in New York City. Walking inside feels like you’re in a living, breathing museum with its nostalgic memorabilia decorating the walls. U.S. presidents, musicians, authors, and other cultural icons have stepped foot into the establishment to enjoy a drink.
The saloon serves only two types of beer, dark or light, and the food menu consists of snacks and sandwiches. Make sure to have cash since credit cards are not accepted at this old-fashioned watering hole.
16. The Levee – Williamsburg
This relaxed Williamsburg watering hole keeps the drinks flowing and games going late into the night. The Levee is known for its free cheese balls and raucous music blaring from the jukebox.
Patrons are entertained with nightly sessions of billiards, board games, darts, Jenga, and Big Buck Hunter.
17. Boat – Boerum Hill
With its dark interior, pool tables, and pinball machines, this no-nonsense tavern is a cosy spot to hang out with friends or shoot the breeze. Friendly bartenders keep the boozy drinks coming at Boat, and the happy hour specials are tough to beat anywhere in the borough.
The jukebox is always playing interesting tunes, and the bar welcomes an eclectic crowd of locals and tourists of all ages.
18. Montero’s – Brooklyn Heights
Just a stone’s throw from Pier 6 of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Montero’sis a longstanding Brooklyn institution that once catered to dock workers. Much of the watering hole’s charm is still alive today, and the friendly bartenders welcome patrons with open arms.
Weekday nights are chill at Montero’s, but the bar is rocking on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights with rowdy karaoke sessions.
19. ALPHAVILLE – Bushwick
Cheap drinks, delicious grub, and live entertainment are on the menu every night of the week at this energetic dive. Musicians of different genres grace the stage, and the venue hosts numerous events such as karaoke and local comedians.
The food menu at ALPHAVILLE features mouthwatering burgers and chicken nuggets, and you can pick up combo specials during happy hour.
20. Rocka Rolla – Williamsburg
Rockers of all types will love this Williamsburg dive that blasts classic hits from the jukebox. Whether you fancy punk, alternative, or metal, all crowds are welcome in this no-frills establishment.
There’s a cosy backyard area at Rocka Rollato chill when the weather’s nice, and you can compete with your friends in a rousing game of shuffleboard.
21. Mad Donkey Beer Bar & Grill – Astoria
Mad Donkey has grown into one of the most popular hangouts of the neighbourhood due to its variety of craft beer on tap, mouthwatering food, and live sports. Wings and burgers dominate the food menu, but patrons can also fill up with complimentary peanuts.
The bar hosts weekend DJs and other events throughout the year to entertain patrons. If you’re up for a challenge, try the donkey bowl which is an enormous fishbowl filled with a collection of alcoholic and fruity beverages.
22. LIC Bar – Long Island City
At 100-years old, LIC Bar is among the most historic watering holes in Queens. The old-fashioned, brick-walled establishment is just across the river from Manhattan, and its outdoor beer garden gives you fantastic skyline views.
Easygoing vibes prevail at this no-frills bar, and you’ll find draft beer, whiskeys, and mixed drinks at reasonable prices. Stop by on a Sunday during the summer, and you’ll catch a performance from talented local musicians.
23. Maggie Mae’s Bar – Sunnyside
Maggie Mae’s offers customers a supreme selection of 18 craft beers inside an intimate space to hang out with friends. The staff handcrafts cocktails with the finest ingredients, and there are daily drink specials from 12 pm-7 pm.
House DJs entertain customers inside ‘The Whiskey Room’ every Friday and Saturday night, and the room can also be rented out for private parties.
24. The Quays Pub – Astoria
This no-nonsense Irish pub offers a comfy atmosphere and popular imports like Guinness and Irish whiskeys. Live music heightens the ambience, and friendly bartenders sling cheap drinks late into the night.
Warm summer days can be spent in the outdoor seating section at The Quays Pubwhile enjoying around with friends.
25. Stan’s Sports Bar – Concourse
Yankee diehards gather at this popular rendezvous before entering nearby Yankee Stadium for an afternoon of baseball. The gameday atmosphere is electric, and fans not attending the game gather at the bar to watch the action on TVs.
Friendly bartenders give out of towners a gracious welcome, and there are lots of hearty options on the food and beer menu at Stan’s Sports Bar.
26. McDermott’s Pub – Westchester Square
A no-frills watering hole with friendly hospitality and good food, McDermott’s Pubis a cosy neighbourhood joint to chill with friends. The menu offers lip-smacking burgers, wings, and fries, and the kitchen is open late at night.
The backroom is available to rent for private parties if you’re hosting a large group of friends or family. And they have comedy nights.
27. Mr. McGoo’s – Kingsbridge
This classic Bronx bar boasts a relaxed vibe and catches your eye with the sports memorabilia decorating the walls. A large backyard space hosts outdoor parties and live music events for patrons.
Have some laughs at a comedy night or enjoy the friendly atmosphere that welcomes all sorts of characters at Mr McGoo’s.
28. Steiny’s Pub – St. George
A short walk from the Staten Island Ferry, Steiny’s Pub is a neighbourhood bar that gives visitors a warm welcome to the borough. Top-notch service, an excellent choice of beer, and live entertainment create a dynamic atmosphere for customers.
Daily happy hour specials are available from 5 pm-7 pm and karaoke sessions are hosted every Thursday night. Check out their calendar online to see the full list of events hosted at the bar.
29. Lee’s Tavern – Dongan Hills
Established in 1940, Lee’s Tavern in Staten Island’s ultimate stop for pizza, beer, and friendly service. The family-owned establishment is all about making every patron feel at home and give them an unbelievable dining experience.
There have been tons of rave reviews about Lee’s thin crust pizza, and they even won ‘Best Clam Pie’ in Staten Island.
You could also mix things up one day and go for a bottomless brunch while in New York as they’re usually really good value for money.
Or if you fancy a break from the bar-hopping check out this 4-day itinerary for New York with tips on what to see in each of the areas with these cheap bars.