What’s a good spot for 4th of July day drinking with a group?
A New Yorker In Pursuit Of Frozen Cocktails
Dear New Yorker In Pursuit Of Frozen Cocktails,
I’m historically bad at remembering when holidays happen. This mental lapse stems from attending an elementary school where learning “Clair De Lune” on the recorder was prioritized over things like which month precedes October (starts with an S?). So, like you and your friends, I rarely have the foresight to plan ahead and book a rental upstate or on a beach somewhere glamorous for 4th of July weekend.
New Yorkers don’t have access to the same breadth of 4th of July activities as people living in small American towns like Dayton or Los Angeles. In order to have a backyard barbecue fest in NYC, for example, one needs a backyard (or possibly a friend who works at Google and has a private roof deck - but she’s going out of town). Your NYC beach day might require standing in a Rockaway ferry line well before 8am. There will be fireworks over the East River starting around 9:30pm - thanks to Macy’s.
This is all to say that day drinking in NYC on July 4th is an excellent plan. The only hitch: a lot of restaurants and bars will be closed on Sunday. So read on for places where you and your friends can camp out for a couple of hours.
Even if you don’t own a boat at this juncture in your adult life, you can at least sit on one for 4th of July with your friends. As of Wednesday, floating oyster bar Grand Banks on the Hudson River at Pier 25 still has plenty of reservations open for partially-shaded tables on their ship. If you’re booking for a group of 4-6 people, you get two hours of reserved time (as long as you put down a deposit of $25 per person). Grand Banks’ other boat bar locations - Pilot in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Island Oyster on Governor’s Island - have openings for the 4th as well.
A more ridiculous boat plan: bring your friends to The Honorable William Wall. Getting to this houseboat anchored off Ellis Island takes some effort (you need to first get to the Manhattan Yacht Club in Jersey City - but the trip only takes about 30 minutes once you’re there) Upon arrival, this place feels like your own private, floating clubhouse decorated like a Holiday Inn lobby circa 1992. In addition to amazing views of Manhattan and the New York Harbor, there’s an outdoor deck with tables, astroturf, and a little bar. You can still book plenty of tickets for 4th of July. The best part? It’s BYO food. That means you can bring an entire rack of ribs. Or shrimp fried rice. Or both, in addition to 40 packs of Haribo Twin Snakes. All drinks must be purchased from the on-board bar though.
Maybe you’re not as set on finding a water-adjacent bar as much as you’re set on drinking something slushie-adjacent outside. If you’re in Brooklyn, Lavender Lake’s spacious backyard in Gowanus always works well for big daytime group hangs. (Plus, they serve highly-potent frozen specials.) No matter the season, drinking frozen pina coladas and eating fried chicken at The Commodore epitomizes summer in my mind. They’ve set up a bunch of beach chairs right on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, so you can simulate beachtime Americana. And, in Greenpoint, I’d suggest making Broken Land’s backyard an extension of your own (frozen rum drinks and all).
Day drinking outside in Manhattan doesn’t usually happen in backyards (like it does in Brooklyn). Even still, Harlem Tavern in Harlem, and Make Believe Rooftop on the Lower East Side both have big outdoor areas, they take reservations, and they’ll be open on Sunday, July 4th.