New York City on a Budget

by Aaron Barker


The Dilemma
You know who you are: In the city that never sleeps, you're not here to catch up on shut-eye. Alas, the prospect of dropping $10 on a bottle of Bud (or $300 on bottle service) is even more dizzying than the alcohol itself. Never fear: New Yorkers aren't exactly known for their temperate ways, and the city caters to partiers of every tax bracket.

Early-Bird Special
Obviously, happy hour is your first order of business. Start your strategic strike at SoHo's Lure, where the brassy ocean-liner decor and $6 Dark and Stormys (between 5 and 7 pm weekdays only) will have you drinking like a sailor. Three stops north on the R or W subway will deliver you to Sapa, a French-Vietnamese restaurant in the Flatiron district where oysters are $1 a pop and martinis are $5 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. You'll save a dollar off each draught (usually $6) during the Blind Tiger Ale House's epic happy hour: 11:30 am to 8 pm. That means the only obstacle between you and one of the best artisanal beer selections in the city are the locals that pack this pub to the rafters.

Act Up
Take a cue from the folks at Comedy Central and head to the Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea—the network regularly poaches talent, like Amy Poehler and Matt Besser, from this improv and sketch comedy theater. Tickets go for as little as $5 and drinks start at $2. Reserve ahead when big-name comedians are booked, and go for the 8 pm show so you're out in time to see the headliner at the Meatpacking District's Highline Ballroom (pictured). The Highline isn't necessarily less expensive than other live music venues, such as the Bowery Ballroom, but for the price (tickets average $18) it's certainly more chichi: bathroom attendants, a powerful sound system, and during seated shows, optional bottle service and a full menu. Lou Reed and Amy Winehouse have already graced the stage.

142 Mercer St.
Tel: 212 431 7676

43 W. 24th St.
Tel: 212 929 1800

Blind Tiger Ale House
281 Bleecker St.
Tel: 212 462 4682

Upright Citizens Brigade
307 W. 26th St.

Highline Ballroom
431 W. 16th St.
Tel: 212 414 5994

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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