$5 Trifecta: Barbecue, Beer, Band

fotpbbqFree concerts abound throughout the city during the summer. But how many offer you a plate of delicious barbecue and a beer to devour while you enjoy the music, all to the tune of $5?

This Wednesday, Finger on the Pulse NYC brings you the whole package at Hope Lounge (10 Hope Street, Brooklyn–map) in Williamsburg. From 7-11 PM you can see about-to-explode Brooklyn indie band The Harlem Shakes (yes, the name is confusing) in a free outdoor concert. For $5, you can pick up a plate of barbecue and sides from seasoned kitchen and pit pro Sam Mason (of the restaurant Tailor and the hit food/rock mashup show “Dinner With the Band”), with a complementary beer to wash it down.

For the technologically inclined/gainfully employed among us, FotP NYC is even giving away free iPhone cases. For the rest of us, I’m pretty sure those cases can be used to hold food stamp EBT cards.

via Tasting Table New York

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New members welcome

GYCIf you’re a Penny Palate regular, your yacht club membership probably lapsed a long time ago. Like, in a previous lifetime. But with weather like this, it seems criminal not to do your eating and drinking out of doors. Luckily, Smith Street has just the club for you–no membership dues, collared shirts not required.

To be fair, Gowanus Yacht Club (323 Smith St., Brooklyn–map is not an actual yacht club, nor is it actually on the Gowanus Canal. But yacht clubs are stodgy and the Gowanus Canal is a putrid cesspool, so I’d say GYC comes out a winner in the end. Pass through the unimposing fence and head to the bar, where you can order hot dogs ($2), burgers ($4 for a single, $6 for a double), and beers at Canal prices. A PBR is $3, but kick in an extra dollar for a can of Porkslap Pale Ale or Moo Thunder Stout from Butternuts Beer–high class taste in a low-class can.

You’ll get to enjoy a diverse crowd–I’ve sat at the bar with hipsters, grizzled Brooklyn vets and, once, a beagle who had a hard time staying upright on his swivel bar stool. By the end of the night, you might have the same problem.

Happy Hour of the Week: One year for EVT

evtIn this climate, it’s worth celebrating if a new restaurant can stay open for a month. East Village Tavern (158 Avenue C, Manhattan–map) has made it an entire year, and they’re spreading the wealth this Friday with a free open bar from 6-8 pm.

EVT gets the job done by having something for everyone: the beer enthusiast–16 rotating taps with a wide and seasonal selection of American craft brews; the food lover–a high end, seasonal bar food menu; even the dive hound–Big Buck Hunter and pinball. It’s no wonder that you find yourself among a diverse crowd.

EVT’s got a great happy hour to begin with: Monday through Friday from 4-7 drafts are $3, well drinks are $4, and sliders are $2. But nothing beats an open bar. Knock off work and get there early (these things do tend to fill up), and it will be a happy birthday for them and you.


Not your dad’s milkshake…but maybe your great great granddad’s

shakeRemember when a frosty milkshake cost just a nickel? Neither do I. But this Thursday, Brooklyn hot spot The Bell House (149 7th St., Brooklyn–map) is putting those bygone deals to shame, offering their take on the shake free of charge, starting at 9 PM.

A shot of history: back when milkshakes were invented in the late 19th century, they were often used as health tonics, fighting consumption with one key ingredient: whiskey. Pesky prohibition did away with the whiskey-laced shake, but it couldn’t wipe it from our memory entirely (in fact, Prohibition probably made everyone’s memory a bit clearer).

makersThe Bell House’s vanilla whiskey shake is a throwback to the good old days. And they ain’t using rotgut, either. They’re mixing their shakes with Maker’s Mark, aged at least five and a half years in weathered oak barrels to create a bourbon of consistently outstanding quality, one of the best to come out of Kentucky. The stuff’s not cheap, so tip your tender well. After all, she may be helping you fight off the TB, or at least a nasty case of sobriety.

The tip, from MyOpenBar.com

The happy hour that comes once a year

cheapshotzOnce you pass 21, each successive birthday gets a bit more depressing: you’re another year past your prime, and it’s even less socially acceptable to hang out in trashy dive bars looking for cheap drinks. But as my birthday approaches this week, social mores don’t stand a chance in the face of a unique East Village offer: free drinks, all night.

As my friend and fellow pennywatcher Frank pointed out just two months ago on the anniversary of his birth, Cheap Shots (140 1st Ave., Manhattan–map) will pour you anything on tap, in a can, or on the shelf (except Patron) for the night’s duration. All you need is an ID showing that it is, in fact, your birthday.

Of course, the place is a rather dank hole, so you’ll want the company of a lot of friends. Luckily, Cheap Shots has enticements for paying customers as well, like $3 16 ounce cans of PBR, pitchers of Yeungling for $7, and shots as cheap as $2. That’s enough reason for everyone to get a little happy; at least in the morning, you’ll have an excuse.

Uncovering the roots

grassrootsSometimes the best deals are so close to home you don’t even think to look for them. Such is the case with Grassroots Tavern (20 St. Mark’s Place, Manhattan–map). This dive bar shares a wall with Mamoun’s, the home of New York cheap falafel. So every time I walked by, my drooling gaze was drawn to the man with the mustache, and I never saw Grassroots hidden next door.

As of this weekend, that’s all changed. The first thing I noticed when I walked into Grassroots was its beer list. Bud, Miller, and Michelob Amber Bock cost $2 a mug, $3 a pint. All Brooklyn Brewery pours are $3 and $4. For beer that cheap in the East Village, I used to rely on holes that had plenty of character, but also plenty of depressing, alcoholic characters, and an over-abundance of CCR (no offense, John Fogerty).

Grassroots is never packed, but has a fun, young atmosphere, and it’s surprisingly clean and comfortable–even the bathroom is useable. From now on, I’ll know where to quench my thirst after a falafel, and where to get a snack to soak up all the extra beers I can suddenly afford.

Happy Hour of the Week: drinks to Coo over

cooventsThe guys at Coovents.com have been making it their business to point you to the best happy hours in New York at any given time (as of 10:22 on a Thursday morning, it’s $3.50 Bud and Coors at O’Hanlons in the East Village). Tonight they’re proving they know a good happy hour by throwing their own.

The first official Coovents Get Happy Hour is tonight from 8-10 at Tonic East (411 3rd Ave, Manhattan–map). Just show up, and your first drink is free–no lists, RSVPs, or covers required. Because the Coovents staff are gentlemen (or desperate, you decide), ladies keep drinking for free from 8-9.

If you’re near Gramercy, make sure you check it out. There’s no better way to pay tribute to a useful website then to hit them up for free booze (The Penny Palate Happy Hour has been postponed indefinitely due to, um, the recession or something).

Happy Hour of the Week: George Washington would have drunk here

clong_islandFort Greene, Brooklyn (called Fort Putnam at the time), played a key role in shielding George Washington’s retreat during the Battle of Brooklyn. Could there be a better place to celebrate our fearless commander and first president’s birthday? This year, a brand new pub has enlisted to help.

bphBrooklyn Public House (247 DeKalb Ave., Brooklyn–map) is the project of three Fort Greene residents who turned a deserted old candy shop into a first-rate pub serving comfort food (wings, ribs, pan pizza), 16 tap beers, and 35 bottles. It’s opening to the public for the first time tonight.

While I recommend checking it out ASAP, the real Happy Hour of the Week comes on Sunday–the mid-point of your three day weekend (if your job doesn’t suck). After a blessing by a priest, BPH will host an open bar from 6 to 8, and throw in some samples from the food menu as well. If you happen to ring in President’s Day with a hangover, just be glad you’re not eating hard-tack and using dirt for coffee grounds.

the tip, from Thrillist

Prices down on the corner

Due to mounting evidence that the staff of Corner Bistro is homophobic and violent, I’m rescinding the Penny Palate’s recommendation. The owner has suspended the staff member in question, but has offered no apology or real explanation. It looks like I’ve eaten my last bistro burger.

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Manhattan’s West Village is known for its beautiful brownstone homes, its classy restaurants and bars soaked in history. But most of all, it’s known for being expensive as hell. But one one corner, a meal and a beer, and a black eye, is still affordable.

cornerbistroCorner Bistro (331 W. 4th St., Manhattan–map) beats up gay people? Also see the victim and owner’s responses, and the video evidence. offers paper plates that are barely big enough to hold their fat Bistro Burger. It’s a bacon cheese burger that’s about an inch and a half thick, with lettuce, tomato, and onion on a toasted bun.  Corner Bistro is one of the few budget burgers joints that will actually cook your meat the way you order it. My medium-rare was a beautiful pink, and the meaty juices kept it tender and tasty. And it cost just $6.75.

Nothing complements a cheap burger like a cheap beer. With that in mind, Corner Bistro offers 12 oz. mugs of McSorley’s light and dark ale for $2.50. That’s a big gourmet bacon cheese burger and a beer for $9.25. On your next jaunt through the West Village, you may not go hungry.

Happy Hour of (Next) Week

brazenhead1It’s good to plan in advance when you’re economizing, and in that spirit, here’s a surefire plan for next Monday, when the week ahead is starting to look a little too long.

Steer your way to the Brazen Head (228 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn–map) in Brooklyn. A brazenhead2comfortable, homey bar that’s a favorite of Brooklyn law students and court staff, Brazen Head serves up some 15 micro-brews on tap. But they watch out for the budget minded as well, particularly on Mondays from 5 pm on, when they serve up an assortment of free food. Often it’s fresh, meaty chicken wings. When I went last Monday, it was tasty meatballs in wine sauce and macaroni with carmelized onions.

Complement the free eats with a few $2 PBRs and your week will look a little hazier, and a lot brighter.