Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › 5 Cool Places to Drink for Free in NYC

Sipping a cosmo at a rooftop bar in the Big Apple is every teenage girl’s NYC dream since back in the 90s (Sex and the City made it look so easy). Then they came here and realized the only thing they can really afford is a shot of low-grade vodka in an underground bar.

Drinking in the city can be outrageously expensive if you don’t know where to go. Here are five places where you can score a free drink, and while none of them are on a rooftop, some of them are just as classy.


  1. Gallery Hopping, Various Locations

New York City may have been a haven for starving artists in the 60s and 70s, but now it’s a hot spot for the world’s most elite artists. Trendy (and spendy) galleries abound, especially throughout the Lower East Side, Tribeca, and Brooklyn.

While you may not be able to drop five-figures on a canvas for your mid-century modern loft, what you probably can afford is free wine and hors d’oeuvres. Most of the time, galleries will offer both to patrons during events, and you don’t have to make a single purchase. You can even make a night of it, using artcards.cc to track down all the day’s art events and go gallery hopping.

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  1. Crocodile Lounge, East Village

While this one is technically free food with the purchase of a drink, it’s still one of my favorites. For every single drink you purchase here (it can even be a cheapie, like Miller High Life), you get a free personal pizza.

Yep, you read that right. An entire personal pizza — thin crust, NY style, cooked up in a brick oven and delicious. For every single drink you order. The default is cheese pizza, but you can add toppings for a dollar a piece. Although this one’s a freebie, it’s a good idea to throw a dollar or two in the tip jar. They have a Brooklyn counterpart called the Alligator Lounge that offers the same deal.

  1. Calle Ocho, Upper West Side

Boozy brunch is a big deal in NYC, but it ain’t cheap. Calle Ocho, a snazzy restaurant that combines food from all over Latin America with New York style, and it’s my personal favorite brunch spot for two reasons: guacamole, and free bottomless sangria.

With any single entrée order on their brunch menu, you receive the bottomless sangria of your choice (they have several whites and several reds to choose from) totally free. As if that wasn’t enough to make me want to move in, one of the menu items is bottomless Costa Rican breakfast tacos (split between 2). The platter comes hot and heaping with fresh homemade tortillas, eggs, cheese, guacamole, and chorizo, and you’ve always got a chilled beverage to wash it down.

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  1. Astor Wines and Spirits, Greenwich Village

This is one of my favorite shops in Manhattan for affordable wine and a good selection, but the cherry on top is that they hold free tastings pretty much every day. They’ll often be doing a wine tasting and a tequila or vodka tasting at the same time, and the bottles that are offered on the tasting are discounted. Being a fan of the bubbly myself, I usually head to the under $10 shelf and grab an affordable yet delicious bottle of $7 Prosecco.

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    Beauty Bar, East Village

Beauty bar is a hybrid bar, night club, and retro-nail salon all wrapped up in one pink-encrusted, glitter-filled, infinite 80s playlist hole in the wall. It’s worth going here for the DJs alone, but the main draw is their manicure and a martini deal.

Buy a $10 manicure (yes, you’re getting your nails done in the middle of a bunch of sweaty people dancing to Madonna), and you get a free martini. Both, surprisingly, are pretty good too.


All cocktailed up and ready to go? Check out the five best cities for karaoke in America. Can you guess which one snagged the #1 spot? Ready to move to the New York City with free drinks and the best karaoke? 

About :

Elizabeth writes on arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business. She has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her personal website.


  1. Adonis Villanueva says:
    Great list! Awesome ways to save money in a very expensive city like New York! Awesome take on the Gallery hopping 🙂

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