I don't care if you live in Manhattan, or in Brooklyn, or wherever.
LIC Bar is the only bar in the city that's worth more than a 10-minute trek. Yes, it's in Long Island City. But it's probably closer than you think--just one stop away from Grand Central on the 7 train. The drinks--mostly microbrews, Belgian beer, and single-malt scotch--are deliciously cheap. The interior hasn't changed in 100 years; it's gorgeous, covered from floor to ceiling in ornate woodwork. The backyard is perfect for summer nights: two giant weeping willows seem to erase the general noise of the city. In the winter, there's always a fire going in what used to be a carriage house. There's live music every Sunday. There's a photo booth. It's never too crowded or too quiet, or too hip or too unhip. LIC Bar effortlessly is what so many bars in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side fail to be--an authentic, relaxing, happy place.