Midtown Happy Hour: $1 Tacos Make Wharf Bar the Perfect ‘I Just Got Laid Off’ Spot

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, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will 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.

Wharf Bar

There I was, just this past week, feeling the bitter sting of another round of layoffs at my job. Most of my friends were bearing the weight of additional duties on top of suffering pay cuts (Here! Take on some more work for less money and BTW we’ve stopped our retirement contributions). The song ‘nobody knows you when you’re down and out’ rang in my ears. Yes my friends, we’ve gone from bottle service to boxed wine and if this keeps up I’ll be reviewing Franzia ‘chillable red’ from my stoop next month.

So what’s a gal to do when her purse is light and the market is low? It turns out a safe bet is Wharf bar (on 587 Third Avenue) to indulge in $3.50 beers and $1 tacos. Thank God for recession specials and Lord knows we need them!

Wharf Bar

Drink specials change daily, but on Wednesday night they had Yuengling and Sam Adams for $3.50, well-drinks for $4, and frozen drinks for $5. Also available was a strangely sweet shot special that came in a Robitussin sized plastic cap for $3. The place was surprisingly busy and the loud buzz of laughter and conversation gave the bar that comforting feeling that you were getting away from it all. Wharf is also rather spacious, with an upstairs room complete with a second fully stocked bar and a deck that is enclosed for the winter months but open air during the summer. A group of my friends and I opted for table seating with waitress service.

Wharf Bar
Required bartender hunk shot.

We set ourselves up with a round drinks and I went hog wild on the $1 taco special of the night. We got 3 beef, 3 fish, and 3 chicken. Now $1 tacos from a bar might seem dubious to most people, but here at ML we scoff in the face of Salmonella! We spit in the eye of E. Coli! Bring it, we say! I’m hell bent on torturing my stomach as well as my liver. And damn, judging from the comments on this board I can see a few of you have no qualms about wrapping your lips around a dirty fish taco.

Wharf Bar

To start, the chicken tacos were flavorful and had a nice spoonful of tangy tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese on top. The beef was good, but it was your run of the mill ground beef filling. The fish tacos were crunchy, fried and battered fish fillets diced up with the same great tomatillo salsa that came with the other tacos. This wasn’t Baja style, but they hit the spot and for $1 I think this might be the best deal in all the four boroughs.

Not afraid to give in to gluttony we also ordered gravy and cheese waffle fries (that came on a huge dinner plate, $4.95), shoestring fries with cheese ($3.95), jalapeno poppers ($7.95) and the quintessential bar snack: hot wings ($5.95). Everything was flavorful and the waitress was always there when you needed a refill and made sure to check in on us to see if everything came out like we ordered. Given the mass amount of people that were in the bar, service was surprisingly attentive and gracious. Turns out when you’re down and out there are some places that will show you love.

Now to kick it ML style:

The +

  • Food specials for economically challenging times: $1 tacos, 30 cent wing nights and a full menu of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers.
  • Great drink specials from 4 to 7pm, including an all day happy hour on weekends
  • Big space and welcoming service
  • Just got laid off? You can eat and drink for under $10 here

The -

  • I suppose some people would rather drink in a quieter, less packed bar
  • Definitely on the outskirts of midtown, so it’s not convenient for everyone
  • $1 tacos scare me. No thanks, I’d like to avoid dysentery

Wharf Bar, 587 Third Avenue (btw. 38+39th)

Photos and post by “Mamacita”


  • Thanks so much for this review! $3.50 beers and $1.00 tacos, all the bar needs is some Matchbox 20 and She by Green Day and it’s like the mid 90′s all over again!

  • Another wonderful review, M. Drown those sorrows in beer, gravy & gooey cheese. But that headline misled me – I thought it said “I Just Got Laid”

    Speaking of which, where’s Anastasia?

  • I go to this place alot, except thursdays and fridays, (too crowded). I like getting their salads; the cob, or chef salad. they cover the salad with a very generous portion of fresh deli meat and cheese. the greens are fresh too. (I actually come here for dinner sometimes)

  • Great review, nice to see some places in Manhattan have seen the light as far as pricing goes.

    And….I need a new ‘Emily’.

  • I think I see the top of Jenn’s head in the first pic ascending just above the level of the bar top on the right hand side

  • What night(s) do they offer .30 wings?

  • Bunsen, Sundays and Mondays. But I’m sure it varies. They had taco night on a wed. when the website says it’s on Thursdays.


  • Mamacita, you know how to keep me happy with the eye candy.

  • This place sounds like happy hour heaven… and it is my corner of Midtown. Thanks for the review!

  • Mamacita, if it does come to that, the Silk Road Palace offers free franzia when you order food. It’s in the UWS though.

  • Ha! Thanks Heidi for looking out for me. Yup, it might come to that.

  • I used to live a few doors down from Wharf and spent a ridiculous amount of time there. .30 wings are on Sundays and Mondays every single week. The mac ‘n’ cheese on the appetizer menu is pretty good (and its a great value, too), especially with chili. Salads are ginormous (I was fond of the Surf Shack)…and the $3 mystery shots are addictive!

  • If you are into hot wings there seems to be some good deals out there on certain days. This place and Bull Moose does a cheap wing nights and their bar food is pretty cheap.

  • Amazing. Perfect. This is totally in my budget. Also in my budget? Franzia on the stoop. Let me know when you do that ML Happy Hour.

  • Thanks for reporting on this spot. I will definitely hit it up for happy hour next week. I once got dysentery, likely from drinking unpasteurized cow’s milk that went straight from udder to drinking glass, but I’m prepared to brave the risk for $1 tacos.

  • DDR…if the FDA and the USDA let americans have a ‘few’ bugs….ya wouldn’t get so ill…despite spending more on health care per capita (privately, i may add) than the rest of the world)

    Enjoy ya weekends Guys/Guyettes……. and, ever call me Dude…i’ll rip you a new ‘arse’ hole :)

  • oh Wayne, you incorrigible flirt, you.

    Yet another lesson learned about fries and Mamacita. Biotch ate ‘em all again.

  • Anastasia… be still my heart

    we must stop meeting like this, illicitly on the Friday bar review

    if Mamacita catches on she’ll shank us for sure

    (after wolfing down all the waffle cheese fries….. with gravy)

  • She’s shorter than I am. I’ll just put my hand on her head and watch her swing her homemade shiv wildly.

  • Are we talking about Jen again?

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