Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” was an asshole. That said, he/she was mostly right; rarely is there anything free in this world. Luckily being a broke-ass makes you resourceful, so not having to pay for food once you’ve already paid for a drink is the kind of thing that makes life awesome. So, I’ve put together this fine list of bars to get FREE food from in NYC. It’s originally from my NYC book and I’ve just updated it for internet publication. When you tell your friends about this list, you’ll probably be like, “Yeah, that motherfucker Stuart is kinda a douche bag, but at least he gave me all these places to eat free food.” I hope you enjoy filling your little bellies with all these goodies, and if so, buy me a drink if we ever meet. Also, don’t forget to tip on the mandatory drink that you have to purchase at these fine (and not so fine) establishments.
Note: What places am I missing on here? Please leave them down in the comments section.
Ryan’s Maguire’s Ale House: 28 Cliff St. btw John & Fulton Sts.
Bless you Ryan Maguire, you sweet Irish bastard, for giving out free food during happy hour from 5-7pm Monday-Friday. Wings and pasta my not be traditional Irish food, but then again, I’m not Irish.
Civic Center, Chinatown & Little Italy
The Spring Lounge: 48 Spring St. @ Mulberry St.
According to my notes they have free bagels on Sundays and free hot dogs on Wednesdays. My notes never lie…most of the time.
Soho & Tribeca
Cupping Room Café: 359 W Broadway btw Grand & Broome Sts.
What the fuck is a cupping room? Apparently it’s a place that gives out free bar food and ½ off drinks from 4:30-7:30pm everyday.
11th St. Bar: 510 E 11th St. @ Ave. A
While I advise coming here during the week for some free live music, which often includes a traditional Irish music session, I endorse visiting on Fridays from 4-7pm even more wholeheartedly. This is when they give out free wings.
Aroma Kitchen & Wine Bar: 36 E 4th St. btw Lafayette St. & Bowery
At Aroma, aperitivo means from 4:30-7:30pm, $15 you get a flight of 3 wines and antipasto platter. Is this considered free food? I guess it’s all in the way you look at it. Aperitivo sound awfully sexy doesn’t it?
Cha An: 230 E 9th St. btw 2nd & 3rd Aves.
Monday-Thursday, buy some sake, wine or beer and the fine people of Cha An will send out 3 small appetizers. Hooray for them (and us)!
Crocodile Lounge: 325 E 14th St. btw 1st & 2nd Aves.
A free personal pizza with every drink, all the time, is just about the best you can ask for in life.
Croxley Ales: 28 Ave. B btw E 2nd & 3rd Sts.
Goddamn the wings here are good, and they’re free on Friday from 5-7pm.
Cucina di Pesce: 87 E 4th St. @ 2nd Ave.
Free mussels in marinara all night long with purchase of a $6 beer. But all beer costs the same from Bud to Stella, so you can’t go wrong.
D.B.A: 41 1st Ave. btw 2nd & 3rd Sts.
Help yourself to some free bagels and lox on Sunday from 1-4pm.
Standings: 43 E. 7th St. @ 2nd Ave.
Free cheesy pizza every Friday night is better than no cheesy pizza on Friday night. I learned that somewhere. They also do a free bagel bar on Sunday afternoons.
West Village & Greenwich Village
El Cantinero: 86 University Pl. btw E 11th & 12th Sts.
El Cantinero does a free buffet during happy hour with Mexican treats like chimichangas and chicken wings (are either of those even really Mexican?)
Spain Restaurant: 113 W 13th St. btw 6th & 7th Aves.
A groovy little Spanish restaurant (duh), this joint doles out free meatballs, chips and other appetizers at the bar.
Union Square & The Flatiron District
Tarallucci e Vino: 15 E. 18th St. btw Broadway & 5th Ave.
Stop into this Italian sounding place from 5-10pm to catch some quiche, olives, and sandwiches.
Rocking Horse: 182 8th Ave. btw 19th & 20th Sts.
It’s just chips and salsa at this joint, but a real broke-ass knows that there is no “just” when it comes to free food.
Keen’s Steak House: 72 W 36th St. btw 5th & 6th Aves.
Oooh this one’s fancy! I wish I could afford to eat the steak here, but I guess I’m satisfied with the free bar appetizers like tuna salad on Monday, wings on Tuesday, ribs on Wednesday, meatballs on Thursday, and crispy shrimp on Friday. Plus they have hard boiled eggs at the bar at all times. All this could be yours for the price of a $6 beer from 5:30-7pm.
Hells Kitchen & The Theatre District
Langan’s: 150 W 47th St. btw 6th & 7th Aves.
On Wednesday nights if you bring 10 or more people Langan’s puts out free platter of food for you. I doubt it will be too tough to find nine other broke people.
Rudy’s: 627 9th Ave. btw 44th & 45th Sts.
I love you Rudy. I may just name my first born after you. May he be a strong masculine son named free hot dogs.
Williamsburg & Greenpoint
Alligator Lounge: 600 Metropolitan Ave. @ Lorimer St.
When you get a free pizza with every drink you buy it’s easy to get frivolous with that shit. It kinda makes you feel like the king of Pizzaland and say things like, “Only peasants eat the crust.”
The Charleston: 174 Bedford Ave. @ N 7th St.
Remember what I just said about the free pizza at Alligator Lounge? It applies here too, you crust eating peasant.
Metropolitan: 559 Lorimer St. btw Metropolitan Ave. & Devoe St.
Can I make a weenie roast joke about a gay bar and it be funny? Not at two in the morning after a 10 hour day writing I can’t. Free bbq and wieners on Sundays from 5pm until food runs out. Not in winter though I think.
Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens
Brazen Head: 228 Atlantic Ave. @ Court St.
Free wings on Mondays, cheese on Wednesdays, and bagels on Sundays. Not too shabby eh, pal?