Jimmy’s No. 43

A lot of places have opened up in New York over the past couple of years claiming to be gastropubs, but perhaps no establishment is more worthy of the inherently cool title as Jimmy’s No. 43, a basement bar that used to be a Polish social club. A destination for anyone at all interested in the New York craft beer community, whether you’re attending a tasting led by an expert or grabbing drinks with a friend. Definitely plan to order some food — the kitchen serves a changing menu of elevated pub grub, like pork belly tacos and adobe wings.

Sing Sing Karaoke

Avoid the faux-punk crowds of St. Mark’s Place and go to the Avenue A location of this necessary karaoke lounge. Sing at the bar or get some friends together to reserve a private room. Drinks are cheap, especially when they’re $4 at happy hour, and if you booked a room, servers bring them to you. It’s pretty shabby but aren’t all good karaoke bars?

Proletariat

If you like, no, love, craft beer, this St. Mark’s bar is for you. The bartenders know their stuff — tell them what you normally drink, and they’ll give you something a) better and b) that you’ve never heard of. The space is small and hallway-length narrow, so it’s not great for groups — more of a place to catch up with a friend and/or grab a beer before dinner.

Elvis Guesthouse

The people behind Williamsburg’s Baby’s All Right opened its East Village version in March 2015. The age range of the indie clientele changes with the night, but everyone is either at the basement club for the live DJ set or the live band set to perform. Drinks are priced within the same range of other non-divey Avenue A spots, with $6 beers and $12 house cocktails.

Bugs

A rare, female run sushi restaurant from Sushi Yasuda- and Jewel Bako-trained chef Sho Boo. Super fresh nigiri, sushi with shiso, ume, and salmon roe toppings, as part of a well-priced omakase. You’ll notice no soy sauce (because it’s just that good without it). Order a la carte, too. It’s a tiny, two-person operation, and like eating in someone’s minimalist, red-countered kitchen. The restaurant’s name alludes to the way insects gather around a bright light… just try to think of it less literally.

Decibel

Despite the fact that the name of this sake bar sounds more apt to an EDM club, this dimly lit Japanese spot, down a grungy flight of stairs, is overrun with partakers. Go there for the selection of over 80 rice wines, hot, cold, and at every price point, and stay for the unusually heavy Japanese pub food (wasabi shumai, takowasa, sticky rice balls) to soak up the alcohol – but you’ll have to wait in line before they even let you in.

Empellón Cocina

Guacamole with pistachios, queso fundito with lobster, masa crisps with sea urchin mousse, and more ambitious Mexican from chef Alex Stupak. (Desserts by Stupak’s wife, former Babbo pastry chef Lauren Resler). Right now Stupak is offering one table a chance for the newly added prix-fixe tasting menu – everyone else can still order a la carte. Bar stocked to the gills with mescal and tequila. Day of the Dead paintings and a psychedelic blue rooster cover the walls.

Prune

Sardines on Triscuits, fried sweetbreads, Dutch pancake, and bread with chocolate and olive oil (order it all) at Gabrielle Hamilton’s (2011 winner of the James Beard Best Chef award) quirky, cramped mainstay, packed since 1999. There’s a long wait at brunch, but it’s worth it, and each of the 11 Bloody Marys comes with a Red Sripe beer chaser. Mismatched silverware, wait staff in pink shirts to match the menus, but none of it matters when the food’s on the table.

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings

Simple, fresh, local and organic pot stickers made by sisters Marian and Hannah Cheng the same way their mother Mimi made meals for them. Just three varieties: classic pork, mighty veggie (kale, shiitake, egg, zucchini), and the Mimi Cheng (chicken and zucchini). Wipe the idea of grease from your mind, these are delicious, healthy, and Chinese mother approved. Inside it’s light-filled, white-walled, with yellow barstool or light wood picnic table-style communal seating. Or get it to go.