Food & Drink

DRINK: Where to Drink After Class in Union Square If You’re Broke

by Lea Faminiano

Welcome back, students!  At this point, you’re pretty settled into school, but let’s face it… you probably already need a drink.  Union Square can get pretty pricey and you’re already paying for those books, your MetroCard, meals, not to mention the likely to be astronomical rent… whether you’re from NYU, Pratt, or Parsons (represent), here’s a couple of places near school where you can escape the classes and projects, have a (fairly) cheap drink, and just chill.

Republic – Okay, so this Asian fusion restaurant is not actually a bar, but it does have one!  They change up their cocktail menu seasonally – this summer’s list included fancy schmancy drinks like a ginger margarita and a coconut caipirinha.  If you’re trying to drink, go during happy hour: it’s from 3-7 pm every day (and all day Sundays and Mondays in the summer).

During happy hour, beer is $4, wine is $5, and all cocktails are only $6, which is pretty good considering some are in the normally in the $11 range.  Student discounts also apply, but only on the food (bring your ID – I recommend the Pad Thai and Crispy Tofu appetizer) so you don’t have to drink on an empty stomach.

Republic is located at 37 Union Square West.

Reservoir – A dive-y sports bar, enough said.  The kind of place people go to watch the game, and it has its regulars, too.  Happy hour specials change up from time to time but it’s generally something like $3.50 pints of some beer and $4 well drinks.  As far as food goes it’s pretty decent burgers and wings – 30-cent wings on Sundays and Mondays and if I remember correctly, $1 tacos on Thursdays.  They’ve even got Big Buck Hunter – what more could you ask for from a dive bar?

Reservoir is located at 70 University Place.

City Tavern – A cute little two-story bar only a stone’s throw away from Union Square.  If you can, sit upstairs – it’s especially nice on a warm summer night when the windows are open.  The food is decent, happy hour is generally until 8 pm on weekdays, where $3 Yuenglings and Bud Lights often happen.  The place can get pretty pricey outside of happy hour, so I wouldn’t advise coming here otherwise for drinks – beers normally run at around $6 and cocktails around $10.  Big student crowd, super central location, good times for all.

City Tavern is located at 22 East 13th Street.

Bunga’s Den – A little farther away from Union Square, this dive bar is…not bad, for a dive bar.  It’ll admit it’s nothing special, but it’s clean, the people are nice, the prices are reasonable, everyone’s happy.  I’ve been here at different times on different days and it never gets too crowded (I’ve never not been able to grab a seat) – just try to get control of the jukebox before anyone else does.

I used to come here with my friends on Thursday evenings after class and never had a bad time – happy hour from 5-8 pm means $4 beer, wine, and well drinks.  Happy hour part 1 (12-3 pm) means buy 2, get 1 free – if you can handle that during the middle of your school day, then props to you.

Bunga’s Den is located at 137 West 14th Street.

And of course…

Trader Joe’s Wine Shop – If you’re really broke, head over to Trader Joe’s Wine Shop and pick yourself up a bottle (or more) of Two Buck Chuck.  Insert in paper bag, screw off the top, wander around Union Square, and just see where the night takes you.  That paper can wait, right?  We won’t judge!

Trader Joe’s Wine Shop is located at 142 East 14th Street.