Cheap N’ Fancy

12 02 2009

Times is rough so I’m always on the lookout for a good happy hour. Thing is, to satisfy one’s thirst for the finer things in life, one either must be creative or have a hawk-eye for bargains. The following are two places in the East Village that I’ve turned to when a gal needs something a little bit above average for her palate.

Terroir, 413 E. 12th btw. 1st & A

Yummy wine! Beware of the sharp-elbowed yuppies

Yummy wine! Beware of the sharp-elbowed yuppies

While the fancy meets hipster sensibility is enough to make a gal’s stomach turn, the happy hour from 5-6 is worth leaving the office early for. This place really can get packed but you are certain to get a seat at happy hour. With 6 wines for $6 each (pretty sure it used to be $5), this is not the cheapest place to wash one’s work woes away but since wine at a bar often mean either the open bottle of Shaw your bartender digs up at your local watering hole, or $12 for a miserly pour, this ain’t a bad option. And the wine is fantastic. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this place services up tasty & creative little drinkie side-dishes and their olives are great. Be warned, coming here later in the evening often means being packed against yuppies of the loud and pink-shirted variety- despite the Bohemian sensibilities, you will not find any among the patrons. Also, it’s quite easy to run a tab that’s bigger than you bargained for. Website here, not recommended for those prone to seizures.

Back Forty, 190 Ave. B & 12th St.

Rustic, charming but see that little table on the right? Unless you're rolling 10 deep that's where you're sitting

Rustic. Charming. But see that little table on the right? Unless you're rolling 10 deep that's where you're sitting

People gush about this place: “local food!” “Great prices!” Meh. While the food is good enough, I find it’s a bit overrated as it really isn’t a huge bargain, nor are the cramped tables terribly comfortable. But this is a nice place to sit at the bar. Here the happy hour runs from the more reasonable hours of 6-8PM, as opposed to Terroir’s stingy 60 minutes, and the entire drink menu, more or less, is half off. The menu features 5 or so great microbrews served cold; at $3 each, it’s not too shabby but don’t expect a full pint. They have their own Back 40 wine from Long Island: the red is just OK, I haven’t had the white. As for the creative and delicious cocktails. My my! They’re good. On a recent night we had “The Back 40” which may have just changed my life: bourbon with lemonade and a splash of maple syrup. I might have to kill someone it was so good. Crappy cocktails are a dime a dozen and it seems like you have to pay at least $10 to get a decent one, $12 for call brands. At $4 a piece, I might have discovered a new vice. Happy hour used to include half-priced oysters which, tragically, we missed out on. Bar eats here are good though. When ordering off the menu for dinner, the problem is that their dishes are on the small side making a bit of an awkward dinner for two (unless you really just want to eat  four or five vegetable dishes or a main with no side, otherwise you rack up a bill quickly), but it makes for perfect bar snacking. The onion rings, with a light and crispy yet dense batter were about as good as onion rings get. The ginger-glazed donuts were warm and almost obscenely delicious. Website here. Their sister restaurant Savoy in SoHo has a similar culinary aesthetic but is a bit more precious.

So hold on to your pennies. Living the good life doesn’t mean lining up at the blood bank. Eat well, drink well!

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5 responses

13 02 2009
Sarah Pease

I think you should make a up some sort of table that shows the best happy hours by day/location! These are really helpful tips 🙂

15 02 2009
iammaya

Good idea! However that will require some more research on my part (read: drinking).

26 02 2009
Dunzino

There is a great Happy Hour in the alley behind the methadone clinic on 37th street from noon to one o’clock. See ya there!

26 02 2009
iammaya

Ho man Dunzino. I am laughing out loud at the moment. You truly are a Dunzino.

7 05 2009
BOTM of the Barrel « ROM (Restaurant of the Month)

[…] Props to the dudes for reasonably good taste! Back Forty is their #10 pick. I have shared my love hate relationship with this restaurant before, but they do make one of the few burgers that I find tasty (I just don’t go for burgers in […]

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