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Free Eating and Cheap Drinks in New York - Part 1

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
Published April 2nd 2011
Ah, one of the many joys and wonders of New York is finding the perfect place to relax with a few (cheap) drinks, soaking up the atmosphere and being served tasty cheap or free food. What could be better than settling in for whatever duration you choose and ending your night feeling as though you'd discovered your new favourite special place? But better still, is the thrill of finding that your wallet hasn't taken a beating.

The only trouble with New York is that every establishment you visit can easily become your new favourite special place. Last year (my third visit to New York) I stayed for three weeks in mid town Manhattan at West 42nd Street, the "Hell's Kitchen" area. Really the pulsating heart of Manhattan's most diverse food district, you'll find the avenues between 10th and 8th an absolute mecca of bars and restaurants. Like many of the Manhattan precincts, you'll see bar after bar; restaurant after restaurant beckoning the passerby with promises of cheap drinks, free food, bonus entertainment and more.

Here are just a few gems I found around the Hell's Kitchen area:

RUDY'S BAR . I love to take photos, and after strolling up 9th Ave, I found this one a head turner.

It's always good to include a little history because sometimes history is part of the appeal of a place. In 1933 the Rudy family opened this bar and it had one of the first liquor licenses issued in New York City after the end of prohibition.

That's just part of the charm of this area. Rudy's still has the original wood door from the day it opened. When you walk through that door the feel of the old neighborhood saloon is still there with cheap beer, free hot dogs, and great people! You can get a pitcher - yes a whole pitcher of my favourite beer, Michelob Ultra for just $9. Pints start at just $2. Hotdogs are free. Free hotdogs with cheap beer? Does it get any better?

Phone (877) 360-3580
Location: 627 9th Ave

is a terrific bar/restaurant located not far from Rudy's on ninth avenue. My companion and I stumbled across this place while trying to shelter from a fresh snowfall. We wanted somewhere warm and cosy and I thought it would be a great first time to try "gumbo". This place was perfect. Louisana style food is pure, unadulterated comfort food, and warms you from the inside out. We were lucky to have a seat by the fireplace, and immediately were brought a basket of corn bread. We ordered a seafood gumbo - a rich tasty seafood stew for me. Luckily I decided just to have a cup instead of a bowl for $6, as the serving was huge.

My friend had a deep fried shrimp po'boy - a foot long Louisiana submarine sandwich, which came with soup, for just $10. Beers were $5 each, cheaper during happy hour. But we left happy enough.

Phone: (212) 956-0934
Location: 700 Ninth Ave, at 48th St.

There's no way you can come to New York and not visit an Irish pub. They're everywhere. Some are dark and deliciously dingey, others are upmarket and quite swish. All are friendly and inviting, cheap and the food is always wonderful. Here are just a few in around the Hell's Kitchen area.

The Mean Fiddler located at 266 West 47th Street

Emmett O'Lunney's located at 210 West 50th Street

The Irish Rogue located at 356 West 44th Street

You'll never go hungry or thirsty in New York, and you can enjoy great atmosphere and soak up the vibe that is Manhattan for just a few bucks. Half the fun is discovering these places.
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Why? Because you don't have to pay big bucks to eat and drink well
When: This is the city that never sleeps
Where: Manhattan, NYC
Cost: Cheap and affordable
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