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Follow Your Booze Nose to Bia Garden

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Yes, yes, yes, the speakeasy fad of bars is on its waning days, thank goodness. I prefer to barely remember my name when I go drinking, much less have to drum up a password. Now that the hype is done all that remains of the mildly secret watering holes are actually some pretty solid bars deserving of not being pigeonholed as “trendy” but rather are worth regular patronage. Most skew pretty dang expensive and not worth it (anyone ever been the Back Room? Yikes) but some hit the sweet spot of nice, secluded, and boozy. For this, we have Bia Garden on the Lower East Side.

Let’s get this out of the way- it ain’t traditionally broke ass. It’s on the Lower East Side and it’s got sizable rent to pay. But it ain’t a killer either. To access Bia Garden you go into a small little Vietnamese counter restaurant and make clear you’re there for the bar. The hostess will lead you through the back of the house and into the backyard, which is bedecked in bright paintings, plants, and benches. You may have noticed the homophone in the name- this is a beer garden, in a way. All the beers are in bottles, sadly, but you order an ice bucket of them and they sit as a centerpiece. You only pay for hat you drink, so unopened bottles aren’t added to the tab. During your libations of East Asia’s finest like Tiger, Sapporo, and some less frequent (and cheaper!) brews like 33, you can also get some snacks from the restaurant you walked through to get where you are. All in all it’s a nice place that’s rarely too crowded and can seat your errant band of miscreants without issue. No passwords required.

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Dan Cerruti - 99 Cent Store Cowboy

Dan Cerruti - 99 Cent Store Cowboy

I've lived in New York all my life, and been a cheap ass for longer.