Thanks to the short week and the fact that many people head back to hometowns to reunite with family and old friends, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest bar nights of the year. If you find yourself in New York City over Thanksgiving, here’s a few popular watering holes to check out on Thanksgiving Eve. There is no shortage of fun, weird, interesting bars in New York City, so we’ve narrowed it down for you.
NYC bars to visit on Thanksgiving Eve
During the day, the Freehold is packed with the freelance crowd clicking away at laptops, but once happy hour arrives, the vibe turns celebratory. The host can lend you games like Monopoly and Risk, or you can grab a paddle for a little table tennis. Wednesdays mean half-off all wine, both bottles and glasses, from 7pm to close, so you can add that to your list of things to be thankful for. If you’re meeting up with a crowd, check out the Waterbury Royale, a refreshing blend of vodka, blended watermelon, and sparkling wine that serves twelve.
Where: 45 S 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY
The iconic Grand Central Oyster Bar has been serving up oysters to famished travelers in Grand Central Station for over 100 years. If your journey home for Thanksgiving has you passing through Grand Central, you’d be crazy not to schedule a stop at to this New York institution for a few oysters and a martini. What better way to kick off the holidays? If oysters aren’t your thing, you’ll also find plenty of fried seafood options on the menu as well as a hearty Maine lobster roll.
Where: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY
If you want to boogie away all the calories you’re going to inhale on Thanksgiving, Baby’s All Right will happily provide the dance floor. Located in the middle of Williamsburg, Baby’s All Right is known for hosting intimate musical performances by up-and-coming indie artists and has quickly become a favorite of local music fans. On nights when there is no live performance, a DJ keeps the energy up and the dance floor hopping. If you work up an appetite and can’t hold out for turkey, you’ll find lots of interesting bites like rice balls, bulgogi, and shishito peppers on the menu.
Where: 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY
At Employees Only, bartenders with handlebar mustaches pour throwback cocktails like Pisco Sours and Manhattans under a pressed-tin ceiling and the glow of Art Deco lamps. The pounding 80’s soundtrack belies the Prohibition-era atmosphere and only adds to the fun vibe. If you want to know what the coming year has in store for you, consult the fortune teller whose mysterious shop provides the front for this modern-day speakeasy. Don’t miss the bar’s signature Ginger Smash, a cocktail featuring muddled ginger and other seasonally adapted ingredients.
Where: 510 Hudson St, New York, NY
If you’re in the mood for a no-frills sports bar, the 13th Step has you covered. With 32 high-definition flat screens and a 34-foot bar, the 13th Step is the perfect place to grab a beer and watch the game with friends before devoting the rest of the weekend to family activities. Beginning at 8pm on Wednesdays, you can get half-price drafts, bottles, and tall boys and $4 shots, so your Thanksgiving Eve outing won’t break the bank. You’ll also find all your favorite sports bar eats, so as long as you’re not trying to save room for turkey, you can load up on nachos, wings, and potato skins.
Where: 149 2nd Ave, New York, NY
6. Brass Monkey
The Irish bar staff will try to sell you on a pint of Guinness, but thanks to the Brass Monkey’s impressive beer list, that’s far from your only option. The Brass Monkey is expansive with 3 bars on 2 floors and a rooftop deck, so you won’t have to fight for space, but the brick and wood-paneled interior lend an air of coziness. The gastro pub menu features comfort food favorites like beef brisket and mac and cheese as well as fun shareables like smoky queso dip and jalapeño poppers.
Where: 52 Little West 12th St, New York, NY
You’ll probably have a bit of a wait on a night as busy as Thanksgiving Eve, but it’s well worth it to experience the magic of the Dead Rabbit, an Irish pub/cocktail lounge mash-up. This Financial District establishment received the coveted World’s Best Bar last year, and it’s easy to see why. The entry level has a relaxed pub vibe and an epic whiskey list. Upstairs in the cocktail parlor, things feel a bit more upscale and sophisticated, and the famously attentive servers will make you forget any time spent in line. The comic book-themed cocktail menu features a long list of creative concoctions with unexpected ingredients like curry leaf, sumac, and honeydew melon.
Where: 30 Water St, New York, NY
8. Mr. Purple
Located atop the Hotel Indigo, Mr. Purple’s rooftop bar offers striking views of the city, so whether you’re coming home and craving a fix of that NYC skyline or looking to impress out-of-town guests, this Lower East Side bar is a great bet. Inside the bar, couches are arranged living room-style for casual chats, and long communal tables are perfect for big groups. The bar’s signature cocktail, the Mr. Purple, combines the seasonally appropriate flavors of apple juice, allspice, reposado, and cranberry liqueur, making it the perfect drink with which to toast the coming holiday.
Where: Hotel Indigo, 180 Orchard St, New York, NY
9. Union Pool
This Williamsburg watering hole and music venue is beloved by locals for its friendly service, reasonably priced drinks, and the taco truck that stays open until 3:30 in the morning. The former pool supply store has a couple of different rooms featuring different styles of music as well as an outdoor courtyard. Union Pool is known for its thriving singles scene, so if you’re looking for love this holiday season, head to the dance floor. If you do meet someone special, make sure you immortalize the moment with a stop in the photo booth.
Where: 484 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Opened in 1993 by a retired dentist with a love of craft beer, Finley’s has become a Huntington fixture and the go-to spot for unique microbrews. Like any good neighborhood bar, Finley’s has something for everyone. There’s a stage for live music and the occasional open mic night as well as plentiful TVs for those who want to focus on the game. 3 bars means you won’t have long to wait long for a refresh. Another selling point? The generous happy hour prices are good Monday through Friday from noon to 8pm, so you can save your bucks for holiday shopping.
Where: 43 Green St, Huntington, NY
Whether you’re visiting for the holiday or returning home, heading out with a big group or looking for a love connection, New York City has the perfect watering hole for your Thanksgiving Eve needs.