I've lived on the outskirts of the East Village for my entire life, and I'd defy you to name a better neighborhood in the city for neighborhood bars. I'm not talking about places with tasting notes on the beer list, or encyclopedic wine lists, or $14 cocktails. There's room in my heart for all that, but most nights I just want a cheap drink in a low-key setting. Some might call these places dives, but I don't think that term fits all the time—though I also believe that just because a place is a dive doesn't mean that it has to smell gross.
Some of these great neighborhood bars are cozy and quiet, and some are dark and loud. Some are true dive bars, and all are great places to unwind with a drink for not too much cash (of course, prices and happy hour deals are subject to change). Check them all out in the slideshow above.
About the author: Ben Fishner is Serious Eats' advertising operations administrator. He grew up on the outskirts of the East Village and has been drinking in the vicinity for nearly as long. He blogs at Ben Cooks Everything. Follow him on Twitter or Tumblr, won't you?