Midtown Happy Hour: Rodeo Bar is Proof We Will Go Anywhere for Free Nachos

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.

Midtown Happy Hour: Rodeo Bar

Rodeo Bar is pretty far outside the ML boundaries (3rd Ave. btw. 26+27th) but when I heard they had free nachos and chicken at happy hour, I knew it was going to be worth the trek. Plus, due to the recession they have extended their happy hour to 9pm! That means that those of us who work in Midtown proper can make it down there and revel in their drink specials, even if we get off work late. Included in the deal are $4 drafts, $7 strawberry or lime margaritas (frozen or on the rocks), daily shot specials and a whiskey shot with a PBR back for $7. The frozen margaritas come out of a big slushy machine —that’s how popular they are, and you can order your drink mixed with half strawberry, half lime.

Midtown Happy Hour: Rodeo Bar

Rodeo Bar claims to be the longest running honky-tonk in New York, but most of it’s allure is just brilliant interior decorating that tries to replicate the down home feel of a Texas or Nashville roadhouse. The two-story pub has a true old west icon: a taxidermy buffalo perched on a ledge above the bar.

horse trailer

The main bar top is laminated with classic Texas license plates from the 40s through the 70s. There is a plethora of great vintage tin signs, rock and roll memorabilia, antler chandeliers, and in the back a horse trailer transformed into second bar.

Midtown Happy Hour: Rodeo Bar

Happy hour offers some sort of chicken and nachos. The nachos were not exactly what I expected. They were just oily fried tortilla wedges topped only with microwaved Jack cheese. I guess that’s to be expected from free grub. The chicken was the fun twist of the night. Instead of hot wings, we had quartered chicken breasts baked in jerk seasoning. With a little bit of adulteration from the Cholula hot sauce at the tables the chicken ended up being a nice snack. Unfortunately, by 6pm the trays were empty mostly due to a big old guy that set up shop right next to the hot trays.

Midtown Happy Hour: Rodeo Bar

With the elbow-to-elbow crowd at the bar, I’m pretty sure the food would have been gone nevertheless. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Midtown Happy Hour: Rodeo Bar

Even when the grub was gone there were still baskets full of roasted peanuts, whose shells littered the floors like a crunchy old carpet. (Insert your “free nuts” joke here.) If you are having fun and in no hurry to go home, Rodeo also hosts live music 7 nights a week with bands coming on usually around 10pm.

The + (what someone who likes this place will say)

  • Great honky-tonk vibe, with live country and rock and roll bands nightly
  • Long happy hour means you can drink up for cheap until the bands start playing
  • Free Grub! I love free chicken, nachos and nuts!
  • Frozen margaritas that can be poured with half lime and strawberry (I’m a sucker for a cute girly drink, what can I say)

The – (what someone who dislikes this place will say)

  • The food tray does a pretty good vanishing act by 6pm
  • The bar gets packed with suits, so you might have to settle for table service
  • I wish this bar were in midtown proper!!

Rodeo Bar, 375 3rd Ave (btw. 26+27th), 212-683-6500

Post and photos by Mamacita


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