Banc Cafe’s Happy Hour is Long, and Wine’s The Way to Go

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 posts 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.

Whilst sitting in my local pub in Queens last week, a fellow walked in the door at about 9 pm, and he was completely wankered — but in a good, happy way. I asked him where he had been, and he said he’d been drinking all day at Banc Cafe (3rd Ave btw. 30 + 31) in Midtown that was in the space of an old bank. Even though it’s right on the edge of the Midtown Lunch boundaries, I checked out their website and it showed many happy hour deals that spanned several hours of the day. Here they are, slightly higher than the website claims:

Monday – Wednesday 4 – 10 pm / Thursday 4 – Midnight / Friday 4 – 8 pm
Selected cocktails, $7, Cab or Chardonnay $6, or Pints of Bud Light or Banc Ale $4.50, or Bottles of Miller Lite $4.00. Wowie!

With the decor and lighting, you could never classify Banc Cafe as a dive. But it did indeed have a friendly crowd and a happy hour, which is more than I can say for a lot of places. Notably, the service was excellent. The first bartender checked on us every few minutes with a smile, then his replacement was a wonderful fellow who engaged us with his banter immediately.

The Banc Ale, which is “just like Killian’s Red” was good for $4.50, but it was definitely not an Imperial pint. Tiny. And the IPAs for the same size were $7.

Wine, however, was a better deal. For $6, you get a nice-sized pour. I was happy with that, especially after expecting a thimble on a stem.

The menu wasn’t the traditional pub fare. No wings. Oh well. They had balls of goat cheese, and I thought why the hell not? The balls were alarmingly small for the price, although delicious. If one of those balls would’ve fallen on the floor, I might have cried.

We also ordered an entree, and the great part about an entree is the AWESOME bread and seriously incredible olive oil it comes with. So if you want to get filled up on the cheaper side, maybe do an entree (with bread) and a $6 side and share it. We chose the salmon, which received applauds all around and the mac and cheese.

The mac was very small portion, definitely something that Lunchers would scoff at. But it’s buttery and filling. Just don’t forget to add some salt.

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

  • This happy hour is long. I can be well along the journey to intoxicated before I stumble home tonight.
  • I’m a wino, and the pours are big. Cheeeeeers!
  • You can get full on the cheap if you get an entree with the fabulous bread.
  • The service is really, really good.

The – (what someone who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • This is no dive. Fuck this.
  • No wings, no mozzarella sticks, no poppers? Not my scene.
  • Yeah, the happy hour is long, but the pints are small.
  • These goat cheese treats are delectable, but $9 for these tiny balls? Hmmph.

Banc Cafe, 431 3rd Ave (3rd Ave btw. 30 + 31), 212-252-0146

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