The old vanguard of New Yorkers, who remember going to see the Ramones at CBGB’s and the days when Alphabet City was a no-zone, have often complained that the “East Village is dead”. Maybe the neighborhood doesn’t have the “edge” that it did when it inspired the game-changing rock musical “Rent”, and the cost-of-living has gone up dramatically. But that’s not to say that a good time can’t still be had in this neighborhood, with 585 active liquor licenses in the neighborhood, you can be sure to find plenty of places to hang out with your friends over a couple beers, a plate of pierogies or an arcade game and have plenty of fun in the process. Here is a list of some of the top bars in the neighborhood, based off an article that I found online with some of my personal favorite places added in as well:
The 13th Step: If you’re looking for a super rowdy night, then this is the place to go. It gets crowded here, but if you’re up for downing a few pitchers of Bud Light with your buddies, then you can’t get much better than here.
Jimmy’s No 43: Located just around the corner from the famed explosion that shook the neighborhood last March, Jimmy’s is considered one of the top beer bars in all of New York, thanks to a pub-like decor, an excellent food menu and an ever-changing selection of delicious (and hard-to-find) craft brews. If you stop by, be sure to say hello to Jimmy Carbone, the friendly and fun-loving owner who can often be found chatting with patrons.
Proletariat: Located near Tompkins Square Park, Proletariat, like Jimmy’s, specializes in serving craft beers that you most likely won’t get anywhere else. The walls are decked with punk art, and the bathroom features pages from a book of Russian prison tattoos. The only problem is that the bar is a little narrow, so when it gets crowded it gets very crowded.
Standings: Conveniently located right above Jimmy’s, this sports bar offers a solid selection of beer in a dive-y atmosphere covered with Mets-related gear. The best bar in the neighborhood to watch a baseball game, there are a surprising number of TV screens to make the experience here truly immersive. For diehard sports fans, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Lois: Not too far from (and in the same group as) ABC Beer Co, where many of the bars on this list specialize in beer, here the name of the game is wine. There are 16 wines on tap in this slick, chic and inviting space, making it a must-visit for any wine nuts.
Alphabet City Beer Co: The cozy Alphabet City Beer Co offers an array of delicious craft beers, board games and notoriously comfy sofas. Visit on a lazy weeknight, sit down on a comfy chair, drink a beer, catch up on a book, or maybe bring a friend and you can play a few rounds of “Guess Who”. They also sell beer here, so be sure to pick up a few cans for your fridge at home while you’re leaving.
The Wayland: Few New York bars are able to nail the “rustic” look both on the inside and the outside, but few New York bars are like the Wayland. The cocktails here are something to write home about, using fun ingredients and interesting combinations that are hard to replicate at any other spot in the city.
Lovers of Today: While its underground location make it easy to miss, Lovers of Today is hardly a place that you want to miss. A snug and dark speakeasy haunt, it features a great menu of specialty cocktails, many of them a couple dollars cheaper than other speakeasies around the city. The only problem about this place is that on weekend nights it can get a bit loud and crowded.