5 Best Manhattan Happy Hours: From Harlem to the Lower East Side

March 28, 2017 • 7 min read
Ahmad El-Najjar

Ahmad El-Najjar


If you’re a New Yorker, at some point you’re going to get asked, “What’re the best Manhattan happy hours?” The reality is, it’s always happy hour somewhere in the City that never sleeps. After all, New York City is a famed center of all things libations, spirits, and boozy with some serious culinary chops to boot. But, with upwards of 50,000 bars and restaurants in a City of more than 8 million people, finding some of the best Manhattan happy hours could be a lifelong pursuit (and a noble one I might add). Still, never fear, Townsquared is here to help you find the best Manhattan happy hours while leaving the hard work of drinking to you. 

First things first. How did we decide on our selection of our top 5 best Manhattan happy hours? Besides the required taste test, we set our criteria in line with the one single factor that makes New York City the great city it is: diversity. On our list, you won’t find any two-for-one car bombs or margaritas (don’t worry, you can still find them!) but, what you will find in the following paragraphs is an eclectic guide of diverse happy hours that represent a small slice of New York City’s incredible melting pot.

Best Manhattan Happy Hours: Harlem’s Lido’s

Lidos-best-manhattan-happy-hours image courtesy of Lido's

We start our journey in the cultural oasis of Harlem at Lido’s, at 2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026. This gem located along restaurant row in Harlem is helmed by author and chef, Serena Bass. Serena’s philosophy toward cooking is simple, “My aim is to give people food they absolutely love. Where they pause after the first couple of mouthfuls and say, ‘OMG!’” Which, from a glimpse at the reviews, OMG! seems to be the consensus.

While the food at Lido’s is definitely the biggest draw (with such dishes as the delicious Pan Seared Berkshire Pork Chop), Lido’s graciously offers a great happy hour from 5:30-7:30 with $5 specialty cocktails. But, if you’re not of the mind to wait til after 4pm for that first cocktail, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Lido’s for Sunday brunch and their legendary bottomless mimosas!

Best Manhattan Happy Hours: Upper East Side’s Eats on Lex

Eats-Restaurant-and-Bar-best-manhattan-happy-hours image courtesy of Manhattan Sideways

It’s no secret that craft cocktails and avocado toast are the new de rigueur for New York City. Still, sometimes you just want to keep it old school New York and have grab a cold Bud and some $1 oysters. Never fear, Eats on Lex has you covered—and, don’t worry, they even have craft cocktails. Making your way down from Harlem along Lexington will land your tush on a cozy tool at the bar of Eats located in the Upper East Side at 1055 Lexington Ave just off 75th Street. Starting at 4pm the world is your oyster at Eats…literally.

Best Manhattan Happy Hours: Midtown’s Davio’s

We don’t want you stumbling along too far from the Upper East Side so be sure to make your next pit stop at Davio’s located at 447 Lexington Avenue. One of Midtown’s most iconic and neighborhood friendly drinking and eating establishments, Davio’s has long held a special place in our heart. This special place may have something to do with the fact that they have a five hour happy hour from 2:30-7:30 with seasonal cocktails on special, half priced wines, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Ok, it totally is the reason that we love Davio’s. But seriously, owner Steve DeFillippo opened Davio’s back in 1985 at the age of 24 with nothing but a passion to bring the best ingredients and tastes to his community. More than 30 years later, Steve continues to deliver on his commitment to the finest in cuisine from Northern Italy. No happy hour tour would be complete without a stop in at Davio’s and, in our opinion, you should make that happy hour a dinner as well (get the gnocchi!).

Best Manhattan Happy Hours: Lower East Side’s Benson’s


So far, we hope you’ve treated yourself to home cooking and mimosas at Lido’s, the great experience of blue point oysters at Eats on Lex, and the culinary vision of fine Northern Italian cuisine paired with a great wine at Davio’s. But, maybe you’re in the mood now for something a little more casual like one of the best burgers you’ve ever had paired with a satisfying craft beer? Is that a yes? Great, then make your way on down from Midtown to Benson’s located at 181 Essex Street in the Lower East Side. Every night of the week from 4-7pm you get $2 off all craft beers which is a win but, if you’re looking to be more adventurous, then you may want to dive a little deeper in the Benson’s happy hour calendar where you’ll find these lovely daily specials:

Monday: 25% off wine bottles
Tuesday: Games Night! Beer Pitcher & Thick Cut Bacon appetizer $20
Wednesday: $5 bartender’s choice
Sat/Sun: $28 Brunch Combo = entree & 3 drinks

Personally, we’re a fan of the Saturday and Sunday Brunch Combo where you can get the  mouth-watering Benson Burger with bacon, egg, beet and pineapple salsa alongside three drinks for $28. Be warned, make sure you have stretch in your jeans.

Best Manhattan Happy Hours: East Village’s Sake Bar Satsko


Finally, what better way to close the happy hour tour than with some light and refreshing sake at the East Village’s Sake Bar Satsko located 202 E 7th Street. From 5-8pm you can find yourself at Satsko’s happy hour with a $5 sake or beer and some yummy nigiri. Still, while the happy hour is a bargain, treat yourself (you deserve it) to some of Satsko’s perfect shumai dumpling and the tuna tataki paired with one of their over forty sakes on hand. There’s a sake for just about any preference behind the bar with the helpful staff more than happy to educate customers. And, if it’s been a particularly long day, you can’t go wrong with Satsko’s collection of some of the finest Japanese soju (rice liquor with the punch of vodka).

Burgers at Benson’s, oysters at Eats, home-cooked Americana from Lido, the best from Northern Italy from Davio’s, sake at Satsko…at this point, you’ve sampled a little bit of the palate of NYC and discovered the best Manhattan happy hours from Harlem to the Lower East Side.

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