Eat While You Drink: The Bars that Serve the Best Food

June 15, 2012 4:52 PM EDT | By Staff Writer
Some nightclubs have burritos. These are the good ones. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Eat While You Drink: The Bars that Serve the Best Food

by Staff Writer

Sometimes, you get a little hungry while you're getting drunk and having a good time. Sometimes, that hour may come at 2 AM when no restaurants are open and you're miles away from your favorite food truck. Other times, you're out, you're dizzy after just one drink, and you realize you skipped lunch and haven't eaten all day. Have no fear, weekend warrior! We're pointing you towards the best bars in New York that serve up good eats to go with their potent potables.

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1. Rudy's - Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan

No list of bars with food would be respectable without a mention of this New York City favorite. Rudy's, an overcrowded dive bar with a strict carding policy (hear that, kids?), is nestled just a few avenues away from midtown's epicenter. If the cheap pitchers of beer (the totally drinkable Rudy's Blonde goes for $7), then maybe you'll be won over by their chief selling point: they serve up Free Hebrew National hot dogs all night.

That's right: free hot dogs. No catch. No one-per-pitcher. No "between-the-hours-of" qualifier. No nothing. Just free hot dogs. Just ask for a hot dog how you like it, and they bring it right to you. The crowd is incredibly friendly, the backyard is the perfect place to smoke, and the gruff bartenders are winsomely charming in the most unpretentious way possible.

Get going.

2. Huckleberry Bar - East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

On the hoity-toity side of things comes Huckleberry, a bar on the best block in East Williamsburg (that'd be Grand and Lorimer for the uninformed) with a beautiful interior and delicious, albeit diluted, drinks. It's the kind of bar where you can enjoy a beautiful backyard, a fabulously summery drink (we like the Moon River, which pairs fresh blueberries, sweet cream, and vodka), and one of the most diverse bar food menus in the Northeast.

While it isn't free like Rudy's, it's still pretty darn cheap. The rabbit terrine ($8) comes with loads of cold, succulent rabbit, pickles, and pieces of toast. It's perfect for sharing with all of your friends. If you're in the mood for a sandwich, go for their blood sausage. It's truly excellent.

3. Noorman's Kil - East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

If you're a whiskey drinker like I'm not, Noorman's Kil is your new mecca. If you're the friend of too many whisky drinkers like I am, Noorman's Kil is your new mecca. With over 280 (!!!) whiskeys on tap, and knowledgeable bartenders that curate the experience for newbies like me, you're bound to find the perfect pour here. I learned that I'm a Whistling Pig kind of guy, but that's just due to the fact that I order stuff that I don't know based on how much I like the name (protip: that's how you should order oysters).

As far as eats go, grab yourself a grilled cheese while you're there. They'll run you just about six bucks each, and they're huge-- huge! Our favorite is their sweeter grilled cheese, which comes loaded with ricotta cheese and nutella.

4. Gusto - West Village, Manhattan

With a cocktail menu that's constantly rotating, it doesn't make much sense to talk about or favorite drink here. What we do need to talk about is their happy hours (they have two each day), which see cheap drinks being paired with tons of free food.

It used to be that they would bring you out appetizer after appetizer with your drinks, but they now settle on a pizzette per customer. These aren't just the kitchen scraps, either, like the stuff you'd get at Alligator Lounge: these are actual, chef-made, personal pizzas loaded with toppings like lamb sausage and fontina cheese. It doesn't help that their head bartender totally charms you into ordering more than you should. Follow his lead when it comes to drink recommendations: he's an expert, and he won't steer you wrong.

5. Sweet Afton - Astoria, Queens

So much depends upon your yearly trip to Astoria, so learn what the young locals already know: Sweet Afton is the place to be. This restaurant and bar is about as hip as Astoria gets, and while everything's wonderful here, we have to give special pause for their delicious burger and their Whiskey Root Beer.

That's right: whiskey root beer. It's my mother's favorite drink in the world. Combining rye whiskey, fresh vanilla, and house-made root beer, the stuff dazzles with a flavor that reminds you that being a young adult started began with being a little kid.

Eat, drink, and be merry all in the same place!


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