Editor's Note: There's little better than a good drink deal, particularly in a pleasant setting (with a bite or two) in those post-work, pre-sunset hours. We'll be checking them out each week and letting you in our finds around New York. Got a favorite happy hour to recommend? Let us know in the comments.
Sometimes it feels like bars and restaurants try to keep you from taking advantage of happy hour—"Oh, it's only at the bar!" or "Oh, you didn't know which beer was discounted?" It's not that way at East Village stalwart The Mermaid Inn. Happy hour runs 5:30 pm to 7 pm every day, and it's even open to those who grab a coveted spot in the quiet daffodil-planted back patio. There are a range of cocktails (normally $12, down to $7), plus house wines for $6, and a tempting snack menu. Waiters even make a point of warning revelers of the last call for discounted drinks and bites.
The Gotham is a Michter's Rye Manhattan served on the rocks, made with Carpano Antica. It's not kidding around (there's a lot of booze in this drink) but as the ice melts, smooth maple syrup flavors come out to play with the bitter Campari. Though we'd prefer to skip the race-to-the-perfect-dilution, it's a solid sipper for seven bucks.
The Chilly Margaret is strong and tart (until, of course, the ice melts.) Jalapeno sugar gives it a real burn; this might be more refreshing without the heat.
The teeny fish tacos are tasty, but lollipop chicken wings ($6) are a better bet if you're hungry. They're tangy and meaty, with dollops of blue cheese—it's bar food, grown up a bit.
The cocktail menu also includes a discounted Aperol Spritz (classic, sweet, peachy and friendly), a Tom Collins, and an Old Bay Bloody Mary, which might be the perfect pairing for the crisp fried oysters ($7). The oysters are juicy inside their crisp exterior and slightly briny; as you bask in the late-evening sun and devour them, you might forget for a moment that you haven't escaped the city for a weekend at the beach.