Midtown Happy Hour: The Grand Central Food Court is Full of Booze
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week we’ll post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap. For this week’s recommendation we’re back to Profiled Midtown Lunch’er Kate.
This one goes out to the commuters. Or the non-commuters who just like to hang around train stations, like me. Grand Central Station is a veritable treasure trove of deals for cheap drinks and tasty bites, if you’re willing to deal with the hustle and crowds. Gathered in its lower level are food stands that rep for some of the more notable restaurants New York has to offer, along with some of the most reasonable drink deals I’ve ever seen. So here I bring you my mini-tour of what Grand Central has to offer.
Long is the tradition of trains and drinking, so naturally my friend Matt and I started at â€˜the bar car’ which is a string of stands set up in font of the tracks solely to sell drinks to commuters. Here, we assumed the best deals would be. $4 for a bottle of domestic… not bad, but clearly not wonderful. We dug around some more and found that the real drink specials were hidden in the food stands.
If you’re in the mood for some Margaritas the place to be is Zocal’s, where from 4-6pm they have Jimador Silver Margaritas for $6. At the Manhattan Chili Co. you can get a huge glass (16oz) of delicious Sangria for $3.95. And at Masa’s they have small bottles of sake for $4. That’d be quite the train ride home.
What I am most interested in though, is the beer deals. Yeah, $4 for a beer isn’t bad, but if we’re talking about hanging out in a train station, I want to get buzzed for cheap. Which we did. Matt and I determined that we had a tie for the beer winner. The first was found at Central Market Café, where a 32oz beer (Bud, Bud Light, Michelob) is $4.25. Make no mistake — that’s a lot of beer. We had barely finished those when we came across our second favorite offer; $2.90 for a 24oz can of Budweiser. Yes please. Passing time in the basement of a train station is not looking so bad anymore is it?
In addition to the booze, we also soaked in some of the foodstuffs they had to offer. While you’re getting your drinking squared away, you can score three big samosas at Café Spice for $3.35, Beef or Chicken Jamaican Patties at Golden Krust for $2.95 or get any variety of pretzel starting at 2.50. Of course I feel obligated to say that if you’re willing to spend, Grand Central Station is home to some of the more famous watering holes such as Oyster Bar, Cipriani Dolce, and the Campbell Apartment. Oh to dream.
Grand Central Terminal, 87 E. 42nd Street (on Park Avenue)
Photos and Post by Kate Schruth