Keen’s Serves Up Quality Happy Hour Freebies

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so 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. Mamacita is taking this week off, so Clay has stepped up to the plate.


Steakhouses don’t often make the pages of Midtown Lunch. There are plenty of them in the area, but few are ever what you’d call a bargain – unless you count Tad’s Steak, which I don’t. (Sorry Zach!) But, when Mamacita told me she’d be out of town and needed a sub for this week’s column, she mentioned that she heard Keen’s gave out freebies during happy hour that might be worth investigating. I was skeptical – not because I didn’t want an excuse to go to Keen’s, but because I’ve never thought of it as a place for a bargain. Still, I’m not one to turn down a chance to freeload, so I stopped in yesterday to take a look.


Walking into Keen’s is always a little weird. A room full of suits talking shop isn’t typically my scene, but I’ve been there before for their amazing mutton chop and even snagged their tasty burger ($16) for lunch a couple weeks back. The food is worth the company.

I found a spot by the bar and checked out the drink list – the beer list includes some gems like Victory Golden Monkey and Anchor Steam, but at $7.50 for drafts and bottles between $6.50 and $7, I decided a glass of wine was the better value – mostly because I don’t know that I can drink the same one for half the price elsewhere.


So, what’s this about free snacks? It turns out that each day from 5:30pm to 7pm, the kitchen rolls out small hot dishes for drinkers to share as they continue to order $7+ beers. The Thursday special is Swedish meatballs. Whether you’re alone or with friends, you get a platter of eight meatballs doused in sauce.

These are bigger than the nuggets served up and Ikea, about two bites each, I’d say. The ladies next to me turned theirs down because the blend used includes veal, but I was more than happy to eat them. There were chewy bits of what seemed like bacon mixed in and the sauce was thick and savory. Meatballs will always win me over.


If you’re looking for a bit more variety in your free snacking, they’ve also got a giant bowl of pretzel chunks around the bar and a stand with boiled eggs.

I didn’t get the official schedule of snacks that are served up throughout the week, but the other options include ribs, wings and drunken shrimp (that’s Friday’s I’m pretty sure). I work just a few blocks away from here and would usually skip out on a pricy spot like this, but I definitely intend to go back to investigate the ribs and wings.

Keen’s Chophouse, 72 West 36th Street, off 6th Avenue. 212.947.3636


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    Do you have to have a seat at the bar to get this, or will someone just walk up to you and hand you a platter if you’re standing in the bar area?

  • The pub area has a counter that goes along the whole back and side wall, so there seem to be enough surfaces to go around. I haven’t seen it super-packed, so I’m not sure how they deal with that.

  • Clay, you forgot to mention the trivia blackboard and the delectable “Ms Keens” painting. My kinda gal.

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