Lillie’s Times Square is A Beautiful Bar, But (As Predicted) Too Expensive

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.

A few Saturdays ago, I ran into some friends I consider to be pretty awesome catching a cab in my neighborhood. They were on their way to Midtown to have brunch at Lillie’s in Times Square, which they described as “beautiful” and “pretty cool”. Although Chris was unhappy with their hidden online prices, and Sarah was somewhat disappointed with the food quality in the Union Square location, I wanted to find out if their happy hour was anything to rave about.

The most attention-catching aspect of Lillie’s is that the Victorian-style bar is indeed beautiful. The space is truly overwhelming when you walk in. The long room is well-lit by a huge stained glass window. It has an ornate, incredibly high ceiling, and the walls are filled Victorian antiques and art (which may or may not be knockoffs, but I suspect it’s a mix of both).

But unfortunately for Lillie’s, we’re not here to critique the bar’s aesthetics.

Unsurprisingly, there was no happy hour special. Beers were small and expensive, with draft pours in a baby glass. Of these, Bud was the cheapest at six bucks, but you can get some decent USA drafts like Lagunitas Lil Sumpin and Goose Island IPA for $7.

None of the entrees or appetizers on the menu were under $10, and the portobello burger I got for $15 was just OK. The sweet potato fries were good but a bit soggy as Sarah noted she had read on Yelp. I should’ve ordered them extra crispy too. The meal was filling, thankfully, so I left full for the evening.

What else? Service was fine although just a tad slow because it was quite crowded that day. And to be fair, for a place so close to Times Square and the theatre district, I was surprised the prices weren’t higher. Most things were under $20, and there were a few sides for under $10 like truffle fries and sauteed asparagus.

To sum this all up, I would certainly not call this a Midtown Happy Hour, but if you must choose a bar in Times Square and you would like to have drinks or dinner in a very nice atmosphere, this isn’t a bad pick at all. I would recommend it for an early-relationship date before the theater, for meeting friends who are on vacation in Manhattan, or for Victorian era enthusiasts.

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

  • I’m a sucker for all things Victorian, and I’m transported back in time at Lillie’s!
  • Whether you like Victorian kitsch or not, the space and the lighting is incredible.
  • If you absolutely *must* go to a bar in Times Square, you could do much, worse than Lillie’s. The prices are bad, but they ain’t *that* bad.

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

  • I don’t give a flying fuck what the “space” looks like. This is no dive and I’m not going.
  • Lillie’s is out of my price range; and for mediocre food!
  • Did you say Victorian kitsch? I would rather go to Guy Fieri’s than subject myself to that!

Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Restaurant, 249 W 49th St (btw. B’way+8th Ave). 212-957-4530


  • Why post a “happy hour” review that acknowledges the place isn’t a MLHH? It’s a big city; there are TONS of places with solid happy hours. I’m *this* close to stepping up and volunteering my review services.

    “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.”

    Yes, I think I can do this. I don’t want to come here on Friday and read about not-cheap/lame-and-not-in-a-cool-way places that aren’t really HH destinations. I suspect other ML reader’s don’t either.

    P.S. Will the ML Forums *ever* come back??????

    • And twitter tracker?

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        Yea what’s up with the twitter tracker not working anymore?

        And agree on the Happy Hour… Why do a write up on a place that is doesn’t meet or at least come close to meeting the Midtown Lunch standards? Not criticizing the writing, but the choices always seem to be either pretty lame places, or over priced bars… someone HAS to know someone who knows someone who can recommend places that serve good drink deals… serve good food deals… and have a good atmosphere…

        And when I say good food deals, I am totally OK with reading about a bar that meets the pricing, but the food sucks… i rather read that than read… oh the foods great but its way out of the ML range.

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Maybe money is of no concern to this reviewer?

  • Rudy’s is about 6 or 7 blocks away. Go there.

  • Next time I want to borrow a copy of Wuthering Heights from a tragically hip waif I am so there….buying her an absinthe, natch

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