What to expect when you're Connecting: Happy hour spots near ICNY

Our favorite picks for continuing the conversation over drinks at the end of the day during Inman Connect New York

After a full day of networking and learning at Inman Connect New York, there’s nothing quite like kicking back at happy hour to make new friends and cement your bonds with your established posse. When it’s time to belly up to the bar, if you’re not sure where to go, a few things should determine your choice — your preferred poison, proximity to the hotel and an atmosphere that’s conducive to relaxing with the beverage of your choice.

These are our favorite venues for imbibing a drink or two (or more) within an easy shouting distance of the Inman Connect New York headquarters.

1. The Rum House
228 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

The Rum House serves some of the best cocktails in Manhattan, which is impressive in and of itself, but especially for a hotel bar (it’s attached to the Edison). The rustic atmosphere inside and quality live music make it a great place for stopping by for a quick drink or planting yourself and your crew for the evening. Happy hour runs from noon to 6 p.m.; try the rum punch (light and dark rum with pineapple, lime and bitters) or a daiquiri, or opt for some beer and wine. It’s not on the happy hour menu, but the rum old fashioned is one of the most deservedly popular cocktails on the menu, and if you’re looking for something you truly can’t find anywhere else, there are several house specialties (try the Star F**cker, made with Starr African rum, cold-brew coffee liqueur, Giffard Abricot du Roussillon, grapefruit, demerara and egg white) that are guaranteed to wet your whistle and prepare you for whatever the evening brings.

2. Reunion
357 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Sure, a surf bar might seem a little strange in the midst of winter, but if you think about it, what better way is there to prepare for the advent of summer than by downing some frozen cocktails and dreaming of the sun? Tacos, burritos, burgers and dogs can be prepared by the kitchen if you’re in the mood for some “grindage” (also known as “lunch or dinner”), but the cocktails and frozen drinks are the main attraction here, such as the Mermaid (a frozen mojito) or the Paloma. If you’re really not interested in a frozen alcoholic beverage, try the Mexican mule — mezcal ,passionfruit, lime, chartreuse and ginger beer — or go all in with one of the double-strong options like the Zombie, with aged dark and light rum, grapefruit, lime, house mix and bitters. Reunion also offers Pacific Punches, pitchers of cocktails that serve five to six people, and you haven’t lived until you’ve tried one of the custom house shots like the Acid Drop: grapefruit-infused vodka with fresh grapefruit juice and a rim coated in vanilla sugar.

3. Proper West
54 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

If a sports bar is what you’re craving, Proper West has got you covered, with tons of big televisions showing an array of games and plenty of space to sit and relax while you watch. There’s a decent wine list and a dozen beers on tap, plus bottles, and an array of signature cocktails, too — like the plum and thyme prosecco mixture, the Campfire S’mores (vanilla vodka, Baileys, rum cream liqueur and milk, garnished with a toasted marshmallow and chocolate graham cracker rim). If you’re on a mule kick, try the Cranberry Mule with Ketel One vodka, cranberry juice and cranberry bitters, lime juice, rosemary syrup and ginger beer; you can also build a margarita with your choice of jalapeno, sweet and smoky chipotle or spicy habanero agave blanco infused tequilas.

4. Blue Ruin
538 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Sometimes a dive bar is exactly what you need, especially in the midst of the glitz and glamour of Manhattan, and if that’s how you’re feeling, look no further than Blue Ruin. There are board games, classic metal on the jukebox (look for the “dad rock” mix CD), plus a pool table that gets a lot of use. The prices are very reasonable, especially for the area, and the bartenders are friendly and efficient. There’s a pizza place next door if you get hungry in the midst of your drinking session, and as far as decor goes, the copper ceiling in the main room and wallpaper in the men’s room (vintage Playboy as far as the eye can see). One thing to note: It does get loud in Blue Ruin, so if you’re not there to take advantage of the jukebox and enjoy a crowd, you might want to reconsider your choice.

5. Hellcat Annie’s Tap Room
637 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Beer is the main attraction at Hellcat Annie’s, which offers 22 beers on tap and five different canned varieties — even the pickiest beer-drinker is bound to find something worth sipping with this menu. But Annie’s also has a decent food menu and quite a few cocktails, including a couple of beer-infused cocktails that might bring out your adventurous side — try the Michelada, with lager, tomato juice, fresh lime juice, Worcestershire and a salt rim. The food is typical bar fare that’s atypically delicious — the sliders or the nachos come highly recommended if you start to feel peckish — and the atmosphere is laid-back and welcoming, making it a great place to spend an hour or three with old or new friends.

6. Faces and Names
159 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019

For a more lounge-like atmosphere with your happy hour, try Faces and Names, which serves traditional American bar food and can easily and happily accommodate larger groups. Every day of the week, there’s a different $7 special, and you can also find beer in bottles and on tap, including a worthy selection of microbrews from all over the country. The food is good, though the menu is not extensive — snacks, appetizers, sandwiches and salads — and Faces and Names is open until almost 4 a.m., so it’s an excellent spot for a late-night bite to eat or that last beer or cocktail before you head back to your hotel room.

7. The Brazen Tavern
5425, 356 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

The Brazen Tavern might be a smidge more on the restaurant side than the bar side of the bar-and-restaurant divide, but there is a full bar and plenty of space at the numerous barstools you’ll find, so if you’re hoping to run in and out for a quick drink somewhere — with maybe a bite to eat to accompany your imbibing — this might be perfect for you. You’ll find some typical bar food that’s made and served with atypical attention to detail; if you’re hungry, try the shepherd’s pie with ground sirloin steak or go with an old faithful burger, and if you’re a little less hungry, the Bavarian pretzel sticks with Blue Moon beer cheese sauce will hold you over until your next meal. The atmosphere is very old-school pub, warm and inviting, and although this tavern doesn’t have much in terms of upscale beer or craft cocktails, the drinks are served quickly and are reasonably priced.

8. Stitch Bar & Lounge
247 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018

The happy hour at Stitch is seemingly never-ending; it stretches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and features a $5 draft-of-the-day, $6 domestic bottles, $8 red and white wine, $8 red and white sangria, and $9 Cosmopolitans, appletinis and Moscow mules, plus 20 wings for $15 on the food side. Add that to a fun and vibrant environment, enough seating to accommodate groups and some standout cocktail items that are hard to find elsewhere (such as the vividly colored indigo Empress gin, or the pear cocktail), and you’ve got a drinking establishment where you might not want to leave when happy hour is (finally) over. Stitch serves food, too, so depending on what your plans for the night entail, you might end up hanging out well past the 7 p.m. happy hour cutoff until the bar shuts down at 2 a.m.

9. The Australian NYC
20 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

Only in New York will you find a restaurant and bar called the Australian, and only in this city does it somehow work perfectly in its location near Times Square. If you want a place to watch cricket or rugby while you drink — or just have a hankering for a sausage roll or pavlova for dessert — then you’ll definitely want to check out the Australian, which also features a late happy hour (for both food and drinks) plus daily specials — come in on Tuesday, for example, and enjoy any 16-ounce can of beer for a mere $5. You’ll find a ton of Australian wines on the menu and a good selection of beer, too, plus hard cider and some mouthwatering cocktails; try the Hibiscus Royale, with an edible Australian hibiscus flower and hibiscus syrup.

10. The Houndstooth Pub
520 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018

There is a ton of space at the Houndstooth Pub, which serves happy hour all day until 7 p.m. or from 10 p.m. until close featuring $5 bottles of Budweiser, a $5 draft-beer-of-the-day, a $7 white and red wine, $8 fruit-infused martinis, $8 red or white sangria, and $8 Moscow mules, appletinis or Cosmopolitans — and you can stick around and try some pub fare with a twist if you aren’t feeling like finding dinner elsewhere. You’ll find bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and much more on the menu if you decide to stay for food, and if you’d like to swing in for a cheap drink before hitting the hay, the Houndstooth is open until midnight on weekdays.

Did we miss your favorite happy hour haunt? Let us know where it is in the comments!

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