Whether you’re a displaced Southerner or just a cowboy (or cowgirl) wannabe, you don’t need to leave Manhattan to get a taste of country. If you’re looking to rock out to country music, chow down on BBQ ribs or even ride a mechanical bull, these six honky-tonks bring the best of the South to New York City. By Brooke Sager.
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Rodeo Bar is the longest running honky-tonk in NYC, and is arguable the most authentic. (The ex-governor of Texas, Ann Richards, has even hosted parties there.) Cattle heads, old guitars and Texas flags decorate the walls, and wagon wheel chandlers hang from the ceilings. As soon as you taste the Tex-Mex cuisine and order a ‘Recession Special’ (a PBR and whiskey shot for $7) from inside the old horse trailer-bar, you’ll forget you’re above the Mason-Dixon line.
Rodeo is also known for its live music—New York-native Norah Jones is known to play gigs there every once in a while.
The Patriot Saloon
For cheap eats and drinks and a jukebox blasting Johnny Cash, look no further than this two-story Tribeca haunt. This bar’s patriotic-frat house décor feels strangely appropriate. (We’re talking light-up beer signs and bras hanging from the rafters next to American flags.) While you’re getting down to some boot-knocking country music, you can order a pitcher of beer for the price of a Bud Light bottle at your standard NYC nightclub (No kidding!) Their $2 frozen margaritas, $3 Heinekens and $1.25 sliders are other wallet-happy specials.
The Patriot is a big space, but don’t be fooled—it gets pretty crowded and rowdy, especially Thursday-Saturday.
Coyote Ugly has become a chain since the making of the film in 2000 that shares the bar’s name, but of course, the one located on First Ave of NYC is the original. If you’ve seen the movie, the real-life space is much smaller and more ‘dive bar’ that the one on-screen. However, the more important aspects do ring true. From Toby Keith to Carrie Underwood, country music from all decades blares from the jukebox. And yes, daisy-duke clad bartenders (or ‘coyotes,’ rather,) do perform choreographed dances atop the bar. Be prepared—they’ll pull you up there with them when you least expect it.
Go ‘head—be the center of attention and take a ride on the 6 foot, 300 pound mechanical bull, which is quite literally, in the center of the venue. Not looking to channel your inner cowboy? It’s still quality entertainment to watch the others patrons do it.
Johnny Utah’s has a full bar and serves up both Southwestern and all-American food. It’s a pretty popular venue, so we do suggest getting there early. An even better idea is to check the place out on a weeknight in lieu of a Saturday—you won’t get hit with a cover, and their lengthy happy hour lasts from 5-10 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Tennessee’s own Southern gentleman, Justin Timberlake, is one of this bar’s creators. Southern Hospitality is the ‘it’ place to enjoy some authentic BBQ—their menu is packed with Southern favorites, ranging from pulled pork to fried catfish. We’re big fans of the fried pickles. The bar draws in a great crowd (celeb sightings are semi-frequent) without getting too packed. Stop by for Tuesday night trivia, or come on a Wednesday to really get your money’s worth—it’s $25 for all-you-can-eat baby back ribs.
The high-def TVs also make this restaurant-bar a great place to watch a game. During March Madness, it’s $10 pitchers during any NCAA game. Sport your school colors for a free shot.
Hill Country Barbecue
This barbecue joint, home to Texas Rangers fans in NYC, is a homestyle highlight by day, and a country music lover’s haven by evening. Live music by bluegrass and country acts are a main attraction at the Flatiron location’s lower level. Head to Hill Country for a taste of the South – and some serious sweet tea, along with two-for-one PBRs and buckets of Lone Star Beer for $20.
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