5 funky bars on the lower east side
1) Mehanata Bulgarian Bar
Gypsy music rules! Anything goes here, including the wildly popular ice cage, a refrigerated space where you put on Soviet military gear and fur hats and have two minutes to drink shots of vodka. A place to truly unwind and dance to music from the Balkans – and beyond – in a no frills setting with Bulgarians and locals.
2) Max Fish
The illustrious red-and-blue polka dotted LES establishment bar/art gallery moved to a new location in 2014, bringing along its famous cigarette-shaped light fixture. They still show artists work and act as a haven for downtown artists, skaters, and neighbors. Follow them on Instagram.
3) Home Sweet Home
Taxidermy enthusiasts will get their fill here in this space outfitted almost like a curiosity shop. If you like to dance, you’ve come to the right dive bar. They’ve got a lounge with a dance floor and the DJs play a quirky mix of 50s-90s-swing. Dancing usually starts after 10 pm.
4) Marshall Stack
A true LES gem that has an extra long bar with a great selection of decently-priced bottled beers. A mishmash interior of painted white brick mixes with exposed plaster and painted tin ceilings, with a 1950s-style jukebox (!) full of righteous rock tunes. Bar food, like Sliders and Tilapia Po’ Boys can be had too.
5) Welcome to the Johnson's
A dive in every sense of the word, from its sticker-covered old brown refrigerator holding 2-dollar Pabst Blue Ribbons and plastic-covered sofas. Imagine the 1970s basement of heroin addicts, complete with layers of graffiti covering every inch of the bathroom walls. They boast killer Bloody Marys and a pool table too.
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