Is your summer getaway budget more Metrocard than Maldives? Or perhaps like many New Yorkers, you’re just too busy to risk losing cell phone reception. Although summer in the city can sometimes feel like a drag, take a deep breath and escape to one of these “staycation” bars. After a few sips of a cool cocktail, you’ll feel like you’ve traded bus fumes for tropical breezes. By Selena Ricks-Good.
The Surf Bar
139 N. 6th St.
The real sand on the floor at this surfer-owned seafood restaurant is the first hint that you are not in a typical Williamsburg bar. Look around, and you’ll see surf boards strapped to the ceiling, a bar covered in beachy kitsch and a backyard complete with picnic-style seating. Pair your clam basket or lobster roll with a frozen pina colada and you’ll be on island time in no time.
145 Ave. C
New York, NY
Vivid turquoise and green walls, festive lights, open windows and sidewalk seating make this Brazilian restaurant a popular choice during warmer weather. Live music every night adds to the Latin vibe, as well as the selection of caipirinhas and mojitos. The menu is full of affordable plates, and on Monday nights, order any bottle of wine for half-price.
The Rusty Knot
425 West St.
New York, NY
What, no cruise planned this summer? Embark on a sunset adventure at this kitschy West side bar outfitted to look like a sea captain’s rec room, and you’ll be swimming in cheap beer and tiki drinks. Sip a Dark ‘n Stormy or a Mai Tai while you munch on snacks like pretzel hot dogs and fish po’ boys. A pool table, a jukebox full of ’70s tunes and a bamboo-paneled bar round out the theme.
Pier i Café
Pier I at 70th St. & Hudson River
New York, NY
Set on the esplanade along the Hudson in Riverside Park South, Pier i Café (yes, the lowercase is deliberate) might at first seem concealed from the crazy rush of everyday city business. Yet it’s surprisingly close and easily accessible to anybody seeking shade, a soft summer breeze and a beautiful waterline vista (just descend the staircase at 68th Street and walk under the West Side Highway). There’s an outdoor bar & grill with two-dozen shaded tables (plus lounge chairs), the drinks are inexpensive (beer, sangria wine only) and the water is FREE and ICE COLD. Also, if you’re up for affordable noshes (all entrees under $20), try the La Frieda burger and fries, both of which are out of this world.
Beekman Beer Garden
89 South St (Pier 17)
New York, NY 10038
You don’t hit this beer garden up for its massive selection of brews (it’s only got a handful), but rather for the unparalleled harbor and East River views. Located below South Street Seaport, this sand-covered stretch of Pier 17 features surprisingly comfy plastic sofas and bench seating, above-ground fire “pits” and plenty of opportunities to gaze across the water at the Brooklyn Bridge. Grab a Blue Point or Ommegaang beer, or a cocktail from the full bar and find a place to sit with a special someone or a group of friends. It can get packed here, particularly right after work and on weekends, but if you catch it on the right evening, you might believe you’ve been transported to a serene stretch of the Hamptons or Cape Cod coastline. You know, with a cityscape.