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New York City has a reputation for being expensive; exploring the city can cost a lot, every hotel seems like a splurge and the only meal that won’t cost you an arm and a leg is a hotdog from a corner street vendor. And if you’re looking to really take advantage of NYC’s incomparable nightlife, expect to pay upwards of $20 in Manhattan’s more serious cocktail lounges. But hidden gems and local (i.e. more reasonable) spots are out there. The folks who inhabit the Big Apple surely aren’t paying through the nose every time they meet friends out for a drink, so you’ve got to go where they go. Here we’ve rounded up the 10 best bars in NYC that won’t break the bank. 

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Clinton Hall: Financial District
Clinton Hall is singlehandedly breathing life into the FiDi drinking scene. The open-air beer hall has a sidewalk full of picnic tables, perfect for big groups to come, spread out and kick back. Feeling competitive? Try your hand at a game of giant chess and life-size Jenga. If there’s a big game, they’ve got it on TV for you. Beers are cheap and the food (like grilled cheese on a doughnut) is super Instagrammable. 

Mr. Purple: Lower East Side
High atop the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side, Mr. Purple provides killer city views in a swanky, yet chill setting. Lounge on the couches inside or grab a seat at one of the purple tables poolside on the patio. Cocktails average a hefty $16, but they’ve got several $6 beers on the menu, too. Plus, you’re getting skyline views at no extra charge. 

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The Hideaway: TriBeCa
This Downtown hole in the wall is always filled in the evenings with both neighborhood locals and Wall Streeters. Go early and pony up to the window seat to spend happy hour people-watching. The Hideaway happy hour never disappoints with good deals.

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Terroir: Chelsea on The Highline
While Terroir also has a TriBeCa location, the Chelsea spot is right on The Highline. This means you can sip vino and enjoy views of the coolest urban space in NYC. The wine list is fantastic and highly curated, and delicious small plates start at $4. Order a few and you can enjoy a whole meal on the cheap.

Blind Tiger: West Village
The West Village craft-beer pub has been a go-to watering hole in the neighborhood for years. With a great location off Bleecker Street, they offer an impressive selection of draft beers at acceptable prices. In a trendy neighborhood where hotspots come and go, this ale house garners an impressive loyal following.

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The Rusty Knot: SoHo
A legit tiki bar in the middle of West SoHo, the Rusty Knot is an old school hangout, and a favorite of locals craving a vacation vibe without the vacation price tag. Drinks served with umbrellas are festive and delicious, and they’re so strong, you won’t need many. Order a Spiced Colada for $13 then switch to a $6 beer.  

Dive 75: Upper West Side
Dive 75 is easily the most beloved, fun bar on the Upper West Side. The cozy quarters are always a welcoming refuge from the streets of New York City, any time of year. A great gathering spot to meet friends, the dive bar has a plethora of fun games like, four-square and trivia, to play over a pints of beer priced as low as $6.

Half Pint: Greenwich Village
The Half Pint is a great Irish-style pub. With more than 200 types of beers from around the world, it’s a beer drinker’s heaven and the place to go for those hard-to-find favorites. During the school year, you’ll find a fun, young crowd here and some well-priced pints. 

Holiday Cocktail Lounge: East Village
Walking into this East Village watering hole, you’ll feel tiki bar vibes in a retro setting. Their signature cocktail costs $13 and is a mix of vodka, amaro, lemon juice and your choice of sparkling wine or cider. 

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POD 39: Midtown East
Most rooftops in Manhattan charge wild prices for a drink with a view. They also tend to be small and cramped. None of this is the case with POD 39 atop the budget POD Hotel in Midtown East. This cool red-brick roof top, lined with pillars all around, is spacious and offers some fun drinks at normal prices, without paying a huge premium for the views. 

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Destinations, Food & drink, New York City

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