Ah, the Wednesday hangover. 

You know, that thing that happens when you go out on a Tuesday for “just a drink” after work with friends and wind up down a black hole of KGB, Solas and other nefarious dive bars in the East Village like you’re an 18-year-old NYU student with a solid fake ID again? Just me? 20 pierogis from Veselka and 4 hours of drunken sleep later, you’re waking up bleary-eyed from the sound of your alarm for work. You mosey out of bed and question your life decisions. 

While most people in America might call this borderline alcoholism, we New Yorkers call it a regular Tuesday night. 

My close friends know that I can throw back about 13 well Vodka Tonics and still run a marathon. While I have always considered it a deeply honed skill — my doctor isn’t amused. 

What can I say, I love drinking! I love the taste of a good Negroni, the temporary bathroom friendships, having a weekly bartender to swap stories with. But as I get older, those 13 vodka tonics have turned into 10 and a mandatory Bacon Egg and Cheese in the morning. 

I’m a little older, the wear and tear has gotten to me physically, but my party spirit lives on. So I wondered, how would it feel like – to explore a place that might not give me the shakes? 

Whether you’ve given up alcohol forever or just for the night, you might be interested in Manhattan’s first alcohol-free bar. Listen Bar is a completely booze-free bar with solid drinks, nightlife vibes, and great music.

Bar founder, Lorelei Bandrovisch got the inspiration from a dry month challenge from one of her friends. The experience stayed with her as she returned to the “normal nightlife.”

“There are ten thousand bars in NYC, yet there were no nightlife options for nondrinkers,” Bandrovisch recalled during our interview. 

She’s right — Let’s face it, drinking is default in New York City. I tell all my transplant friends “We don’t have backyards, we have bars.”  It’s the standard place to meet up with friends, a date, or even your sister. Even if you don’t drink, your friends probably drink, and you’re stuck as the odd one out.

Of course, ordering a soda while out on the town is an option, but Bandrovisch didn’t think that option was enough. After months of reflection, her lightbulb-moment happened in a mentoring session.

“I want to open a non-alcoholic bar.” Bandrovisch proclaimed. When the room was floored – she knew she had something great on her hands.

She wanted Listen Bar to have three key ingredients:

– An alcohol-free environment

– A bar that actually had bar vibes

– A space where musicians could thrive

She envisioned a spot where her musically-inclined friends could bartend and promote their work. A place where bartending and music could nurture each other.

“Working as a bartender seems like a perfect gig when you’re a musician, but I’ve seen so many friends get drained. Why should bartending be at odds with your music?”

Music replaces alcohol as the main social lubricant. 

CBD BGB, photographed by Sasha Charoensub @sashabphoto

She replaced the question of “What are you drinking?” to “What are we listening to?” Don’t bother pulling up Shazam, ask the bartender! Every bartender is a musician with their own curated playlist. You might be jammin’ out to a track written by the guy who just poured you a Coco-Matcha! It’s a brand new way to interact with your favorite artist and humanize the person across the bar. Bandrovisch noted the dehumanization bartenders in NYC experience. “Bartenders aren’t just providing you a service. They’re humans and we’re equal. The music offers a connecting point for that.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen frat boys be massive douchebags to bartenders. Often, people forget the guy giving you your beer isn’t some Pilsner dispensing robot, they’re real human beings who don’t appreciate getting called, “Bro” for the 17th time.

Listen Bar isn’t just mixing great tunes and vibes, they serve up drinks with a creative kick. Often, flavor falls to the wayside with mocktails, but not at Listen Bar. “We’re working with a great team that’s working at a high level of creativity. It’s not just the taste, it’s the experience, the texture, the mouthfeel. We wanted to create a menu that created the craving for more than just one.”

“Instead of saying let’s pop in for a drink or two – I want people to think, let’s pop in for a song or two.”

It’s the first bar to combine the strengths of mixologists, herbalists, and nutritionists to develop a detailed menu with notations such as gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and even refined sugar-free mocktails. There’s something for everyone on what Lorelei describes as their “Greatest Hits Menu.” You can grab drinks named – “Me, A Houseplant” or “Ghost Me, Maybe”, both of which are gluten-Free, vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, caffeine-free but unfortunately, not money free. Try grabbing my personal favourite — Spicy Titties (Lime, Cilantro, jalapeno, Grapefruit and Jarritos) , which channels Lizzo in a glass. 

Listen Bar is a bar that has everything but alcohol.  “I wanted to create a place that felt like a bar, something with a sexy and fun vibe,” says Lorelei with a giggle in her voice. “Oftentimes, not drinking makes you feel like the odd one out, but here we’re all having fun in a community-centric space.” An occasional drinker herself, Bandrovisch is adamant about the space being open to everyone no matter their drinking status.

While the idea of not drinking might be scary to some, it’s worth a challenge. Being surrounded in a nightlife environment makes the venture a lot easier.

“You’d be shocked how many people come up to me and say, ‘I can’t do karaoke sober.’ Then ten minutes later, we’re belting their lungs out!!” Bandrovschi recalled their karaoke blitz a few months ago. The bar has a myriad of theme nights from, Modern Wellness, Cocktail Contest, and even Speed Dating (a night that sold out in less than 24 hours).

The bar is currently open once a month at 3 Bleecker St, NYC.  Located under VON bar, occasionally upstairs patrons will wander in with alcoholic drinks. “Sometimes people get defensive,” Bandrovchsi answered when asked if drinkers will sometimes attempt to smuggle in booze. Wanderers are always greeted and welcomed, just asked to leave the booze upstairs. “You’re not banished… but maybe don’t do that. They’re so many places for drinkers, by being ‘that guy’ you’re taking something away from the community we all formed together.”

And it is a community. Listen Bar opened in October 2018 and already has thousands of followers, both online and offline. Their campaign funding goal for a permanent location has nearly been reached. 

Bandrovisch won’t give us a hint on the location reveal just yet, she did reveal that the crowd campaign will be releasing a poll for locations on her shortlist.

“There have been so many surprises, and I’m happy people are receptive to the idea. Especially when people are willing to change their minds. I love after a night of partying when people walk out like “Oh, I get it now.’ It makes it worth it!” 

Listen Bar’s next event is on October 30th, 2019 with the theme “Costume Karoake.” You can get your tickets HERE.

Tessie Viola

Tessie Viola is a native New Yorker from Queens. When she's not writing for ciaooo!, she can be caught eating dirty water dogs near Lincoln Center.

Facebook Conversations

Happy hours aren’t just for weekdays anymore. Even if you’re broke as a joke on the weekend, there’s still a bunch of places for the weekend warrior that wants to stretch their budget in NYC.

Picture this. It’s Friday, and you’ve got plans for happy hour after work with some co-workers and friends, but Saturday and Sunday you’ve got no plans. It’s too beautiful out to spend the whole weekend Netflixing the entire series of Wild Wild Country, and you’re really not trying to have a 3 AM all-night drinking binge. We came up with a list of fun weekend happy hours in NYC, ranging from the dive-iest to the bougie-iest of bars for happy hour deals that stray far, far away from anything remotely Applebees.

Cheers to the weekend!

The Dive Bars

Photo via Yelp User Jimmy Y
Drink

The Library

Check out The Library, a dive bar in Alphabet City that features a BOGO happy hour on Saturday from 5-8PM & Sunday 10 -12PM. The buybacks are cute plastic dinosaurs or army men, which can be saved for future use. If you can get past the graffitied bathroom, grab your pint, check out the whatever film is being projected. Don’t forget to put a few quarters in the insanely good jukebox. My friends and I once shotgunned a Tecate with the bartender’s blessing.

Photo by Roey Ahram via Flickr
Drink

Local 138

Located across from Ludlow house, this place has an exact opposite feel. Their happy hour runs daily from 4 – 9pm. I was fortunate enough to spend last Christmas eve, drinking four dollar gins and sodas. Don’t let the size fool you, this bar always has a bumping playlist and crowd that’s ready to dance. With friendly and attentive bartenders, it’s never a miss at 138.

Drink

Botanica Bar

With a Happy hour that runs 5-8pm daily, it’s going to be hard to not make this your regular bar. Botanica nurses you in the door with discounted wells, wines, and their specialty frozen drinks! It’s a low key spot on Houston that can be missed if you’re texting and walking. Get there early if you’re drinking with the squad, Botanica is pretty big but with DJ Saturday and Karaoke Sunday — they might run outta room.

Photo via Victor Llorente for NY Mag
Drink

Winnie’s Bar

After four years away, Winnie’s is finally back! When cheap drinks bring out your inner pop goddess, Winnie’s is a must go. Now located on the second floor, you can twist and shout till 4am without the fear of waking up the neighbors. Try their famous Hawaiian punch, with eight different types of liquor!

For the In Betweeners

Bars for those that wanna of grabbing a cocktail or a pint while and not have to worry about the mysterious stain in the bathroom.

Photo via Timeout
Drink

KeyBar

In the East Village after brunch and looking to continue day drinking? Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, a-many times. KeyBar’s BOGO happy hour runs from 4pm-10pm on Saturdays and ALL NIGHT on Sunday and Monday. This happy hour is great for those looking for happy hour deals on more than just wine and beer. Their happy hour special includes a myriad of cocktails such as, a lychee martini, margaritas, and my personal favourite Dragon Tear! A lot specialty shots are included in the deal, if you get a bit too litty — you can save the BOGO cards for next time!

Photo Via Time Out
Drink

Home Sweet Home

If you love disco balls, taxidermy, and cheap drinks — this place is for you. Home Sweet Home’s Happy hour runs till 8pm on Saturdays. Underneath the discoball’s shimmer, grab a three dollar well and dance till your burn off that dollar slice from lunch. This place gets pretty crowded after 10pm, so grandfather yourself in and laugh at the suckers that are stuck in line.

Photo via The Folly
Drink

The Folly

Perfect for a date night or hanging with the bros, The Folly has cheap drinks and great food. The happy hour runs daily 12 – 8pm, featuring six dollar wines, drafts, and their frozen specialty. The décor is nautically inspired and usually dimly lit. With booths in the front, barside seat, and an upper level available, it’s really easy to find a spot to lay low and let your Jack Sparrow fantasies take over.

For the Bougie

When the riff-raff isn’t for you, but ya still wanna save a buck or two.

Photo Via Excuse My French
Drink

Excuse My French

Feed your inner Marie Antoinette at in this luxurious french railroad bar. Excuse my French has 2 for 1 on selected cocktails Saturday 5-7pm and Sundays 2-8pm! Each cocktail on the menu was handcrafted by their in-house mixologist. Don’t be afraid to talk with the bartenders, you might discover a new favorite.

Photo by Noah Devereaux
Drink

The Mermaid Inn

This seafood gem not only has a swimming deal on drinks, but on oysters too! Grab your shellfish fix for only a buck per oyster every Saturday and Sunday from 5 -7pm. With three locations, you can always find the time to have a nautical #SundayFunday

Drink

Burke & Wills

G’day mate! Fancy a Foster and a bit of exotic barbie? No Wuckas — Burke & Willis has your back every weekend from 5 -7pm. Okay, my Aussie accent is terrible but you’ll still have a great time at this upper west side bar. Known for their unique cut of meats (think kangaroo), you can grab a discount cocktail and potentially pick up some hotties from down under.

Tessie Viola

Tessie Viola is a native New Yorker from Queens. When she's not writing for ciaooo!, she can be caught eating dirty water dogs near Lincoln Center.

Facebook Conversations

It’s rooftop season, babbyyy!!

The sun has blessed us with its steamy return, and there is no better way to bask in the summertime NYC heat than to jump on a rooftop. With so many articles and rooftops to choose from, here are a few of our tried and true favorites to enjoy the sun (sans the insane touristy, fratty crowds). Dawn your romp-hims and sun hats, we have your back for the best rooftops in town.

Photo Credit: Noah Fecks
Drink

You Don’t Need to Be Good To Visit Good Behavior

Anyone else in the mood for a jungle vibe and the Empire State Building? On the 18th floor of the Made Hotel, Good Behavior offers a panoramic view of Manhattan. And get this! Happy hour Monday – Friday, 5pm to 7pm! If you’re on the chill side of things, get there before 11pm. The DJ starts pumpin’ jams after that. While you’re there, try my personal favorite drink, Sweat and Glitter!

Photo Credit: Tolga Dogan
Drink

Make Believe

If you’re in the mood for a Zombie and views, hit up Make Believe. The only rooftop tiki bar on the LES. You’ll find your heart’s desires on the 7th floor of 60 LES. Catch some views of Houston and Allen on the astro turf. This bar is so undervalued despite being nearly four years old. With its lush couches, it always seems to have space for a big group of friends even past 9pm. I love popping in for a lo-fi DJ break in between happy hour and dance team.

Photo Credit: HGU Rooftop
Drink

HGU Rooftop Bar

This Secret Gem is hidden right off 33rd st, at the top floor of HGU hotel. Once you take the elevator up, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a mellow wooden patio. Unlike most rooftops, the music is kept at a moderate level which makes it perfect for intimate one on ones. Though it’s small, HGU packs a punch. It’s barely crowded, and offers daily specials— my favourite Montauk Mondays. Any Montauk beer for only five bucks!

Photo Credit: Haven Rooftop
Drink

Haven Rooftop

Haven is the oasis of Times Square. At the top of Sanctuary Hotel, you’ll find a lush outdoor garden decorated with plush red seats. You’ll find $10 Margaritas and $6 dollar beers if you should up during happy hour. Don’t dawdle at the office, it only runs from 4-6 pm. If you’re too slow, come back on Sundays for their bottomless brunch special. Haven is an all year round rooftop! Keep it in your back pocket when you want to show off your winter rooftop game. (Don’t worry they have heat lamps)

Photo Credit: Noah Fecks
Drink

Westlight

Located inside The William Vale on the 22nd floor. Set your eyes on the Manhattan sunset and then stay afterward for a bit of a jiggy on the dance floor. Do eat before coming — the food menu is tiny and uninspired. If you want to save yourself some time, call ahead for a rezzy. You’ll feel like a VIP as you skip past the queue!

Photo Credit: Liz Clayman / Free Williamsburg
Drink

The Water Tower at the Williamsburg Hotel

Missed out on Night Heron– The water tower speakeasy for two? Don’t worryWater Tower is fits more than two (and has better cocktails!) Located on the 18th floors of the Williamsburg Hotel, you can catch part of the Brooklyn skyline with a kitschy late 60’s feel. Best to make a rezzy, the joint it pretty small. You can try your hand at walking in, but best not to do during peak times.

Photo Credit: Noah Fecks
Drink

Gallow Green

We promise you there is more to Gallow Green than Sleep No More. You can climb up McKittrick’s Hotel’s steps straight to Gallow Green. The rooftop is covered in green and a large amount of seating, perfect for the whole gang. If you plan well enough, you might be able to catch one of their free jazz sessions.

Tessie Viola

Tessie Viola is a native New Yorker from Queens. When she's not writing for ciaooo!, she can be caught eating dirty water dogs near Lincoln Center.

Facebook Conversations

What’s the first word you think of when I say opera?

If it’s not OLD, it’s probably EXPENSIVE.

If you stumbled upon my Instagram profile, you might think I’m a trust fund baby. Most of my posts are of chandeliers, ticket stubs, and various Opera programs. If I’m not at a bar, I’m at the opera.

You don’t need a #thicc wallet to get into the grand tier, I promise. There are affordable ways to reach America’s largest opera house. With close to 30 different operas put on each season, there’s always a chance to see something for cheap!

The Options

Fridays under 40

Cost point: Starting from $60

If you’re under the age of 40, the Met welcomes you. Every Friday performance comes with a deep discount for youthful opera fans. For sixty bucks, you can grab seats in Orchestra or Grand Tier. You can purchase tickets up to three months in advance! Occasionally,  a Friday will come with a pre-performance party. Tickets for those start at $80 dollars BUT come with complimentary drinks, and access to cheese!

Student Tickets

Cost point: $37.50

If you’re blessed enough to be a full-time student, discounted tickets are available up to a month in advance. With this special deal, you can bring yourself and three of your friends. Do keep in mind, your student ID from 2011 won’t work, they validate transcripts each semester!

Family Circle

Cost point: Starting from $30

Located at the top of the house, some opera fans say that these seats have the best sound. Great sound, but a terrible view, so make sure to bring your opera glasses.  If you don’t own any, you can rent some from the house for a deposit of twenty bucks. While this isn’t my favorite seat in the house, you’ll never run shy of friendly opera geeks willing to chat during intermission.

Rush Tickets

Cost point: $25

Perfect for last-minute planners, the Met Opera releases rush tickets for both their evening and matinee performances. Tickets go on sale for performances Monday through Friday at noon, matinees four hours before curtain, and Saturday evenings at 2 pm. For as little as twenty bucks you can nab orchestra seats, sometimes as close as Row B. That’s close enough to see an occasional spray of spit.

Standing tickets

Cost point: Starting from $20

If you don’t mind working out your quads for 2- 3 hours, standing room is usually available for every performance at the Met. You can purchase tickets the same day starting at 10 AM for either Orchestra or Family Circle. While again, the sound is better in Family Circle– the view from Orchestra will be a lot better.

Score Desk

Cost point: Starting from $8

Located within Family Circle is a well-kept secret, Score desks. They’re the cheapest way to get yourself in house. Leave your opera glasses at home, because these seats offer either an extremely limited view of the stage or none at all.

I wouldn’t suggest these seats for the first time or even new opera-goers. Score Desk is perfect for operas you know by heart, an opera you’ve seen already, or a production you hate but has great singers. The seats come with a desk and reading light which can be used to follow the score along — or write a lengthy journal entry. Whichever you prefer.

The Young Associates Program

Cost point: Starting from $600

When you start balling, becoming a friend of the Met may interest you. Riddled with a bunch of free events throughout the year, $600 bucks buys you lectures, preview parties, and your weight in free Prosecco. Certainly not the cheapest option, but if you’ve caught the opera bug, complimentary tickets and backstage tours could be cool.

Tessie Viola

Tessie Viola is a native New Yorker from Queens. When she's not writing for ciaooo!, she can be caught eating dirty water dogs near Lincoln Center.

Facebook Conversations

The 4th of JULY!

Summer Fridays, rooftop happy hours and dirty flip flop feet, could summer in NYC get any better? Of course, it can! NYC on the 4th of July weekend is one of the best experiences on the East Coast.

Besides spending your long weekend day- drunk, here are some things to do in NYC this summer to celebrate AMERICCCAAAAAAA.

Photo by Fraunces Tavern
Drink

Fraunces Tavern

Ready to go really old school?  Bring it back to the 18th century and visit George Washington’s old haunt. Fraunces Tavern is a nifty museum that focuses on the Revolutionary War AND has a whiskey bar.  If you’re into live jazz, head in on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re into Celtic folk music, grab a Sunday pint! John Adam’s quote says it best — “The most splendid dinner I ever saw, a profusion of rich dishes.” My favorite is the chicken pot pie; I frequently have dreams about it. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/22711505@N05/27509492665 Source: Ron Cogswell
See

American Merchant Mariner’s Memorial

After a whiskey flight, head south to Battery Park. There you’ll find the American Merchant Marines Memorial. The monument is based on the sinking of the SS Muskogee by German U-boat 123 on March 22nd, 1942. It commemorates all lives lost at sea during WW2. Every high tide, the two soldiers are covered by the New York bay, reminding us of the horror of war.

Photo by King of Hearts
See

General Grant National Memorial

Hidden away in Morningside Heights, late President Grant and his wife Julia lay entombed not buried. It’s one of my favorite places in all of upper Manhattan! Pop into the visitor’s center to watch a short documentary or head straight into the tomb. The place is more inspiring than creepy— I promise. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and, I won’t lie, a perfect place to spend time in sweltering July heat. Much thanks to our 18th president.

Before you pop off, don’t miss out on out the resting angels engraved on the top of the tomb. “Let us have peace.”

It’s open Wednesday to Sunday till 5 pm. Even if you miss the mausoleum times, a walk around Riverside Park should never be skipped.

Source: Public Domain
See

Ellis Island

There are few things in New York City that are more inspiring than Ellis Island. For less than twenty bucks, you can grab a ferry to BOTH Ellis and the Statue of Liberty.

The former immigration station processed over 12 million immigrants and accounts for almost half of Americans even to this day. It now operates as a museum with over 120 hours of content that chronicles Ellis’ history in three parts. It’s an incredibly moving experience and worth the twenty bucks. In these times, even us natives need a reminder of what it means to be an American.

Drink

William Barnacle Tavern

I’ve walked past this place a hundred times and never knew about the history until one of my British friends dragged me along! Located on St Marks Pl, between an off-Broadway theatre and the American Gangster museum, is William Barnacle Tavern. Don’t let the musty smell deter you– you’re walking on the same tile that prohibition dodgers passed out on. If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of their many absinthe drinks. (After a tour, drinks are one dollar off!) If you’re there on a Monday or Tuesday, tell Joshua — Tessie sent ya!

Tessie Viola

Tessie Viola is a native New Yorker from Queens. When she's not writing for ciaooo!, she can be caught eating dirty water dogs near Lincoln Center.

Facebook Conversations