There are a ton of great Happy Hour deals in Manhattan, NYC. But, quite often, you get what you pay for. And that bar with $5 drink specials looks as cheap as the offer.
There are many situations where you would have higher standards for your night out drinking:
- To make a good impression on a first date
- For a business meeting with drinks
- To enjoy great cocktails with real ingredients
In cases like these, dive bars won’t fit the bill – an upscale bar will.
An upscale bar is a bar that offers a high-end experience, which typically includes premium beverage and food selections. The interior is well-maintained and designed to be aesthetically appealing.
And when the situation calls for your best nightlife fashion, like that seersucker blazer or A-line dress in the far reaches of your closet, then a fancy lounge bar may be your preferred choice over a pub.
Lounge bars are bars that focus on style and comfort, and often found in restaurants, hotels, airports, and other hospitality-oriented businesses.
So, today we’re keeping your bar hop classy, with a list of “Awesome Happy Hours at Upscale Bars in Manhattan.”
This list of trendy bars, upscale lounge bars, and modern restaurant bars was curated by yours truly, a nightlife expert and NYC local, with simple criteria in mind:
- Aesthetically pleasing interior design
- Craft cocktails and/or a large wine selection
- Great Happy Hour specials or pricing relative to the experience
Now, let’s proceed to find the perfect Happy Hour near you, with great ambiance at a great value, that will make you say, “Ooh, this place is nice” when you step in.
Obao is a luxe Vietnamese and Thai restaurant and bar in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan that stands far above its peers nearby when it comes to style. Its luxurious interior design is outlined with gold trims from the bar near the main entrance to the upper level, and decorated with eye-catching Asian-inspired decor and paintings.
Obao’s Happy Hour is the icing on the cake, with great drinks specials every day from 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM. So, whether it’s for a boozy lunch or after-work drinks, you can enjoy signature craft cocktails like their Chocolate Martinis or Bruiseberry Mojitos for just $10.
This is by far one of my top restaurant bar picks for a classy dinner date in Hell’s Kitchen.
Every day from 11:30 AM – 6 PM.
Happy Hours at Obao include food and drink specials:
$10 Frozen Margaritas
$10 Signature Cocktails
What should you wear to Obao?
What type of night out is the ambiance at Obao perfect for?
Obao is the perfect setting for a romantic first date, date night with a significant other, drinks with colleagues.
Viv is a stylish modern Thai restaurant and bar in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan that I found to be a great setting for a date night. The ambiance is unique, with gold lamp pendants and statues, random splashes of floral decor, and blue neon lights highlighting a neon dragon hanging from the ceiling. Don’t try to interpret the mash-up of decor, it’s just a vibe.
Viv offers an assortment of delicious craft cocktails on its menu for $15 each. But every day, they offer Happy Hours from 12 PM to 7 PM with drink specials for just $8! So, you can select from a variety of red or white wines, and flavored martinis or margaritas. My recommendation is to start with the lychee martini – you can’t go wrong with it.
I have tried numerous cocktails, and food dishes at this establishment, and I have been impressed by them all, as well as my “company.”
Every day from 12 PM – 7 PM.
Happy Hours at Obao include food and drink specials:
$8 Pinot Grigio, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, reisling, sparkling Brut
$8 Cabernet Sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir
$8 Flavored Margaritas
$8 Flavored Martinis
What type of night out is the ambiance at Viv perfect for?
Viv is the perfect setting for a first date or date night with a significant other. You could also grab drinks at the bar with colleagues and friends.
Gu Japanese Fusion Sushi & Bar
Gu Japanese Fusion Sushi and Bar is a modern Japanese fusion restaurant in the Midtown East neighborhood in Manhattan, NY, with a minimalist modern design. It has a well-reviewed menu of sashimi and sushi, which makes it great for a casual but intimate dinner or first date.
Gu Japanese’s daily Happy Hour promotion offers a huge 50% discount on select beers, wines, and specialty cocktails. So, you can enjoy unique craft cocktails, like their lychee-tini, plum wine spritzers, and Sakepolitan for as low as $6 each. Or you can spring for their creative signature cocktails like their Gu Cosmo, Pomegranate Flirtini, or Lychee Mojito for $8 – $10.
The chill atmosphere and killer late-night Happy Hour deal that runs until 10 PM makes this a great choice for a casual boozy dinner with friends or co-workers, and a good idea for a late-night Tinder first date without breaking the bank!
Every day from 3 PM – 10 PM.
Up to 50% off select beers, wines, and cocktails.
What should you wear To Gu Japanese Fusion?
What type of night out is the ambiance at Gu Japanese Fusion perfect for?
Gu Japanese Fusion is the perfect setting for a casual dinner date, or dinner with friends or colleagues.
Flute Champagne Bar
Flute is a quaint jazz bar and lounge in Midtown near Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, that boasts a selection of 100 champagne and wines. It was once an actual speakeasy during the Prohibition Era, and they preserved those vibes with its dim red-hued lighting and alcoves where couples can sip champagne whisper sweet nothings to one another.
Their best Happy Hour offer is on Tuesdays, with 2 for one drink specials. So you can treat yourself to a double dose of their specialty cocktails like the Pomegranate Margarita with Don Julio Blanco, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, and a splash of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne for just $14.
If you don’t need the Happy Hour, they have live jazz performances on Wednesday nights. The vibe and entertainment make this a good intimate bar for a romantic date night or a chill night out with close friends.
Tuesdays from 4 PM to 8 PM.
Two drinks for the price of one (essentially half off).
What should you wear To Flute Bar?
business casual would fit well with the vibe and mature crowd at Flute.
What type of night out is the ambiance at Flute Bar perfect for?
Flute Midtown is the perfect setting for a date night, drinks with close friends, or bar hopping.
Valerie bar is a popular upscale cocktail bar and lounge in the Diamond District of Manhattan, with an elegant, art deco-influenced interior with brass-colored trimmings and burlesque artwork displayed in its rear Gatsby lounge.
Valerie often gets packed to capacity when the local after-work crowd rushes in. This makes absolute sense given their excellent weekday Happy Hour menu featuring unique craft cocktails that would make a mixologist smile. You can enjoy concoctions like their “Waiting Game” (empress 1908 gin, blanc vermouth, Salers Aperitif, grapefruit bitters) for just $11.
Verlaine is a good bar for any casual occasion, meet up with friends, or drinks with coworkers – that’s if you are lucky enough to get a seat.
Monday – Friday 4 PM – 7 PM
$11 select craft cocktails
What should you wear to Verlaine?
What type of night out is the ambiance at Verlaine perfect for?
Verlaine is the perfect setting for a casual date night, drinks after work with friends or colleagues, drinks with business partners, bar hopping, and networking.
STK Steakhouse Midtown
STK Steakhouse is an ultra-chic restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, with a futuristic interior that is reminiscent of the Oculus at the World Trade Center. The vaulted ceilings arching over the plush booths within its open floor plan make it a piece of architectural artwork that you can’t help but admire.
Despite STK Steakhouse being an expensive gourmet restaurant, it has a surprisingly good Happy Hour from Monday through Friday with signature cocktails, Chimay bottles, and select wines for just $9. Pair them with discounted appetizer specials like Wagyu meatballs and beef tartar for $9, and you have yourself quite the gourmet tasting.
This luxe restaurant is an appropriate place to throw on your best nightlife attire for a romantic date, or business wear for after-work drinks with coworkers. And if you are looking for an fancy restaurant to take a high-value client out for dinner with drinks, then this Happy Hour spot should make a good impression while staying well within your entertainment budget.
Monday – Friday: 3pm – 6:30pm
Happy Hours at STK Steakhouse Midtown include food and drink specials:
$9 Specialty Cocktails, wine, chimay bottle
$3, $6, and $9 appetizer plates
What should you wear to STK Steakhouse?
business casual wear, business professional, or semiformal wear would all fit well with the atmosphere at STK Steakhouse.
What type of night out is the ambiance at STK Steakhouse Midtown perfect for?
STK Midtown is the perfect setting for a semiformal date night, drinks after work with friends or colleagues, drinks with business partners, and a business dinner.
The 40/40 Club
The 40/40 Club is a high-end sports bar and lounge in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. It is a posh venue through and through with art deco-inspired decor from plush booths to the chandeliers on the ceilings. The careful attention to detail is apparent in each room, with nods to sports greats in the monochrome photos, artwork, and vintage basketball jerseys in plaques along the walls.
The 40/40 club has a long list of unique craft cocktails on the menu, but takes it a step further to outshine the competitors nearby with a weekday Happy Hour that that lasts until 7 PM, and offers craft cocktails for as low as $7.
Whether you are planning on a casual date, a boozy business meeting, or just want a classy bar to watch a football game, the 40/40 Club is an ideal choice.
Monday – Friday 5 PM – 7 PM
$7 Sangrias and Cocktails
What should you wear to The 40/40 Club?
business casual wear or business professional wear are ideal for the vibe at The 40/40 club.
What type of night out is the ambiance at The 40/40 Club perfect for?
40/40 Club is the perfect setting for a casual date, drinks after work with friends or colleagues, business meetings with drinks, bar hopping, networking, or watching sports on TV.
When these Happy Hours end, you can find plenty of great bars to go to next on my popular list, “The Best Late Night Happy Hours after 6 PM in Manhattan.“
And be sure to bookmark this page before you go, not just to support this blog, but also because I’ll add more great upscale Happy Hours to it as I discover more hidden gems!
Enjoy your classy night out, cheers!