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Free Food in New York

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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 March 21st 2011
They say there's no such thing as a free meal, but I beg to differ.

New York is a smorgasbord of amazing food, encompassing every type of cuisine you can imagine. Most of it, you have to pay for of course, but there are hundreds of spots where, if you get the timing right, you can enjoy a glass of wine, a pitcher of beer or cocktails - and get free food to go with it.

5 Ninth
I stumbled upon this place whilst wandering around in one of my favourite areas of New York - the Meatpacking District. After working up a big thirst and feeling peckish after taking photos all day, I ordered a beer and was pleased to find it was happy hour (after 5 pm) and that they brought out free "pigs in the blanket" and soft pretzels.

Beers were only $3 for 4 hours. The menu at 5 ninth is wonderful, and very affordable even if you do want to pay for something more substantial.

5 Ninth is located at 5, Ninth Avenue Free food served Sunday to Thursday between 5 and 9pm.
Phone: (212) 929 9460

Spain Restaurant
is another one I stumbled upon during an exploration day. I had a hankering for some Paella, and when arrived, the place was quite busy. I ordered a jug of Sangria, and almost immediately, was presented with a plate of salad, and three dishes of shrimp, ribs, mussels, chorizo and a basket of bread. I did order the Paella, which was magnificent but my companion and I couldn't finish it. We were so full we decided to walk the 20 blocks home. You need to be very hungry to eat here.

Spain restaurant is located at 113 W 13th Street (between Avenue of the Americas & 7th Ave).
Free Food is served regardless of whether you need it or not.
Phone: (212) 929 9580


Croxley Ales has the tastiest chicken wings, made even more so by the fact that they're free on Fridays between 5 - 7 pm.

But even so, you can get them for a tiny 10 cents on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Saturday and Sundays they're only 20 cents each. Next best thing to free in my opinion. In fact if you fancy something more substantial, lunch specials are only $5.95 Monday to Friday.
Croxley Ales is located at 28, Avenue B, Manhattan.
Phone: (212).253.6140

Cucina Di Pesce is famous for its great happy hour every day between 4 and 8 pm. It's half price for all drinks, and free mussels at the bar. If you decide to order off the menu, the servings are huge, and not expensive.

Cucina Di Pesce is located at 87, East 4th Street between 2nd & 3rd Ave Phone: (212).260.6800

Those listed above are all freebies that I have tried. But if you really wanted to, you'd never have to go back to the same place twice. There are literally hundreds of spots in New York that offer free food and cheap drinks. If you'd like to explore more, the website Wined & Dined is informative and has extensive information on all things eaty and drinky.
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Why? Because sometimes you don't have to pay
When: All day every day
Where: Manhattan
Cost: Free and cheap
5 ninth is one of my favourite places.
By sherr22 - reader
Wednesday, 13th of April @ 05:29 am
Have been to Spain many times. One of my favourites. Yes you are right their Paella is to die for.
By giovanni - reader
Thursday, 14th of April @ 03:46 am
Cucina Di Pesce is right round the corner from me. Not really one of my favourite spots but Croxley Ales is def worth the visit.
By tmaugney - reader
Thursday, 21st of April @ 01:50 am
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