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The Best Bars for Free Food in NYC

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Everything in New York is ridiculously expensive; your apartment, the subway, groceries, bars—especially dining out. “Cheap,” “affordable,” and, god forbid, “free” are not words you hear in the city that often. So when an opportunity to have free food in the big apple presents itself—you take it. And if you can have yourself a drink with it, you’re living the New York dream. From free hot dogs to free bagels (fixings included) to free tapas, here are 13 of the best bars in New York to get free food.

Rudy’s

This historic Hell’s Kitchen dive bar is not only one of the best bars in New York, it also happens to be one of our favorite bars to score some free food. With every drink purchase, you get the option of a free hot dawg, and there’s no limit on how many you can receive in a night. Toppings include the standard fare, so don’t expect fancy relish, onions or sauerkraut. But hey, it’s free. Also, these franks are on par with some of the best street cart dogs you can find in New York.

El Cantinero

This NYU Mexican cantina has a righteous Margarita and one of the best happy hour buffets in lower Manhattan. Every Monday night (open till close) you'll find platters of flautas or chicken wings (both if you're lucky). If you’re still hungry, the bar also features an all you can eat special for $12.95 that won’t break the bank or empty your wallet.

Spring Lounge

Perfect for after-work happy hours, this SoHo bar features free beer-soaked hot dogs (yes, you read that correctly) every Wednesday from 5 p.m. until they run out. To celebrate early morning, weekend drinkers, the bar also hosts a Sunday brunch at noon with free bagels—expect cream cheese and fixins—and Bloody Mary specials to cure your hangover.

The Levee

This Williamsburg watering hole offers customers a bottomless supply of cheesy poofs, though they’re technically only a light snack to whet the appetite. While you enjoy bowl after bowl of the neon orange, finger dyeing, zesty snacks, snag yourself some cheap beers (cans come served in kitchy, neoprene koozies) and a game of pool in the back room.

2A

This beloved East Village hang is not only a great place to spend the early evening in conversation with the regulars (or the bartenders who have worked there since the ‘80s), but the bar also features free, buttery-delicious popcorn that you can serve yourself throughout the night, completely free of charge.

Spain

A 13th street fixture since 1967, Spain was the patron saint of the finger-snapping, turtleneck-wearing beatniks and poets who once lived and dined in the neighborhood. Somehow still in existence, this strange West Village bar and restaurant remains untouched by time—and is all the better for it. Enjoy the nostalgic decor with a decadent Sangria at the bar and indulge in a hefty plate of lobster-laden paella. If you’re patient, well-mannered, engage with the host behind the bar, and are willing to spend the money on a round or two of drinks, you may find yourself being treated to the free appetizer sampler of traditional tapas, which may include chorizo sausage, mussels, lamb ribs, or Spanish meatballs paired with a salad of iceberg lettuce (just like your grandma serves it) with a generous helping of French dressing.

Blind Tiger Ale House

This West Village ale house not only has a wide variety of craft beers and microbrews, including over 28 beers on tap. They also offer free food every Wednesday starting at 6 p.m. sharp. Besides discounts on beer, wine and mead, you can expect a smorgasbord of cheeses (from neighbor Murray’s Cheese), spreads and baguettes to forage through. Just keep in mind that this place is a free-for-all (pun intended) at happy hour (especially when there’s free food to be had) and the snacks are first come, first served—when they’re gone, they’re gone.

The Brazen Head

This pub in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, features free food two days a week, every week. On Sundays, the special includes $6 Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas, with free bagels and fixings; and every Wednesday is Ladies Night, which features free cheese with baguettes and $1 off wines.

Crocodile Lounge and sister bar, Alligator Lounge

You may have eyed the Crocodile Lounges’ auspicious, long black awning as you’ve traveled down 14th street in Manhattan. Inside, you’ll find a cozy bar with cheap drinks and free personal-sized pizzas. We suggest that you come hungry — each drink comes with a ticket for a free pizza. For all of you Brooklynites, the Manhattan bar has a sister restaurant in Williamsburg that also features the same deal. It’s only $1 for additional toppings like jalapenos.

The Charleston

This divey, sorta punk, sorta metal bar in Williamsburg draws a crowd for its free pizza special. With the purchase of any drink, you can order a personal-sized cheese pizza (which tastes like a greasier version of a Domino’s pie), and there’s no limit on how many drinks or pizzas you can have in a night. Hours for the special are from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with additional toppings for only $1 more. An even more clutch deal starts at 8 p.m., when the personal pizzas will only cost you $1 each.

Lucky Dog and George & Jack’s Tap Room

There are a lot of reasons why you should seek out Lucky Dog, a laid back, old timey bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not only do they have skeeball, a backyard and a dog-friendly policy, but the bar also features a free spread of bagels and cream cheese, with toppings that include cucumber and fresh onion, every Saturday and Sunday. Come at noon (when the special starts) for a hydrating Bloody Mary, and stay for the bagels and dog kisses.

Fellow Williamsburg bar George and Jack’s Tap Room (owned by the same owners as Lucky Dog) also features the same bagel special on weekends. During the weekdays, seek out George & Jack's free popcorn, which is dressed with Old Bay, garlic powder and salt on the side.

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