Fridays Under $40: Drinking Outside With a Bite

Posted on: August 21st, 2020 at 5:04 am by

Photo: Sara Graham

In our new Friday column, “Fridays Under $40,” Boogie contributor Sara Graham hits the streets to find cheap eats and affordable things to do during these weird times.

A Sunday afternoon spent in a bar with a book, sipping a cocktail and chatting absently with the bartender is one of the great joys of New York City and one in which I look forward to enjoying again in some distant future. Until then, we must sit outside in the breeze while contemplating our existential crises alone. Since this column is dedicated to budget food and drink, and Governor Cuomo says you have to eat something if you drink, I’m not going to suggest drinks along with some fancy dinner out (not in the budget). Instead, I set out to find a few places that weren’t too busy, where you could sit outside and enjoy a drink with a bite or two.

Photo: Sara Graham

169 Bar now has a full menu of New Orleans-inspired favorites. In the spirit of cheap and cheerful, I get the Hot Popcorn, freshly made for $5 along with a Miller High Life (on draft) for $5. Their outdoor seating situation includes 6 tables with umbrellas and plenty of plants. Also of note, their shrimp po’ boy with pickled okra ($10) Deep River chips for $1, and an all-day brunch menu. Apparently, there’s internet you can pick up outside, too, because I notice a man struggling with it.

169 Bar, 169 East Broadway
Total: $10.89
Hours: Opens at 12PM

Photo: Sara Graham

Rustic Sicilian dishes and a really good daily happy hour are what this spot’s all about. Every day from 3-7pm you can get $8 drinks, and they’re all quality. I get the $8 Pinot Grigio, though a G&T is also calling my name, it’s only 2 pm, so…a basket of fresh bread arrives, so the sourdough in my stomach can get drunk instead of me. If you are hungry, get the lasagna covered in a 4-hour ragu sauce or the spaghetti pomodoro.

Sapori D’Italia, 105 Mulberry Street
Total: $8.71
Hours: 11AM – 10 PM

Photo: Sara Graham

As a last stop, I pop by Top Hops Beer Shop, situated on a quiet strip of Orchard. You order inside, with a mask and a pump of sanitizer. The bartender told me I had to get something from the kitchen in order to drink, so I get a sour rose craft beer and a hot dog with mustard (I passed on sauerkraut). I don’t even eat hot dogs, so I brought it home to my partner, all wrapped up, like the #zerowaste weirdo I am. Bonus: they have books of matches you can grab at the register. You never notice how much you rely on bars for matches until you stop going to them.

After an afternoon of only putting beige and yellow things in my body, it was time for a salad at home.

Top Hops Beer Shop, 94 Orchard Street
Total: $10.89
Monday-Friday, 3 PM – 11 PM
Saturday-Sunday, 12 PM -11 PM

Verdict: not quite like sharing an afternoon with my local bartender, who always knew I’d have a second round and helped me have a brighter outlook on life. But after that third drink and a little Vitamin D via the sun, it felt close.

Total cost of walkabout: $30.49
Costs recorded do not include tip, so tip generously. Wear a mask.

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