After a 1989 visit to Texas's National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Sherry Delamarter decided to open a rip-roaring spot of her own in the West Village, replete with staffers performing rope tricks on Hudson Street's now bygone parking meters. Today, Cowgirl's two daily batches of guacamole accent Texas-style cooking, which draws from Mexican, Cajun, and American culinary traditions. Brunches of huevos rancheros and lunches of fried-catfish salad or corn dogs make way for dinners of mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken-fried steak, and burgers made with free-range turkey. During its nearly quarter-century history, Cowgirl's blue-gingham-dressed tables have served country-music legends such as Dolly Parton and Roger McGuinn, who settled into steel Tolix chairs beneath longhorn skulls, portraits of horses, and decorative pistols.
One of Harlem’s favorite dive bars, Paris Blues Bar combines good music, cheap drinks and simple food inside a predictably rough-around-the-edges interior. The bar occupies the ground floor of a tenement building on the corner of West 121st Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard.. Thankfully, the owner Samuel Hargiss Jr., has done much to maintain Paris Blues Bar’s old school, no fuss atmosphere, meaning regulars have the option to get down on a small dance floor or belly up to the long bar. Music pulses from one of the best jukeboxes in New York, pushing out classic blues, jazz and soul riffs; on other nights, the bar hosts live bands.
Your chances of catching the perfect wave in Manhattan may be slim, but at Point Break NYC you can celebrate like you did. The self-described surf bar lauds the laid back lifestyle, even adding a coastal flare to its menu of pub food favorites. Fish tacos are served up with spicy avocado salsa, while BLTs gain an extra consonant with the addition of tilapia and a side of Dirty South fries. The festive vibe continues at the bar, where servers pour out PB Bombs and inventive mixed drinks. The boldest guests can drink their drafts out of the 96-ounce Das Boot, a giant boot-shaped glass that was modeled after Paul Bunyan's baby shoes.
Some people come to Pine Tree to enjoy its woodsy, far-from-the-city feel: exposed wood beams evoke weekends at a cozy cabin as taxidermied animals keep watch over the scene from their perches on high. Still others come for the Caribbean food that delivers its own type of cozy feeling—the kind that comes from rib-sticking bites of jerk chicken, curried goat, and escovitch snapper. On some evenings, live music adds to the spot’s relaxed vibe and groups are always welcome to watch games on TV screens or test the coziness of the bar’s leather banquettes until 4 a.m. every day of the week.
Drinks come cheap, fast and often at Ding Dong Lounge, a Manhattan Valley dive spot that’s home to many regulars as well as Columbia University students. A good chunk of the barstools are occupied by in-the-know locals from the Upper West Side and Harlem, while some cheeky drinkers swing through for the obscenely cheap $6 beer-and-a-shot happy hour deal. After more than a decade in the beer-serving business, Ding Dong is still going strong, thanks to its comfortingly dark walls, guitar neck beer taps, heavy metal pinball machines and a pool table. There’s live music on the weekends and a hook near the door that holds a small collection of hula hoops for anyone looking to show off their skills. Otherwise, this is a drinker’s heaven – particularly during happy hour – and one of Manhattan’s truly unspoiled dives.
1 Republik Lounge whisks patrons into a low-lit series of rooms decorated to evoke classic Hollywood, Rat Pack glamour, and the Land of Oz. Nine flavors of tobacco-free hookah add an aromatic complement to meals in the beer garden, where red tables polka-dot the patio like the spots on a zebra's back. NCAA season sends cheers coursing past tables along with Italian-tinged entrees such as shrimp scampi and pub snacks including bruschetta and meatballs. Meanwhile, versatile, outgoing bartenders tap beer, pour wine, and mix cocktails while adding to the conviviality of the dive-inspired lounge whose "hospitality is second to none," according to Shecky's NYC Nightlife.