You're sitting at a bar, stomach growling, when the game cuts to a commercial for sizzling-hot buffalo wings. The announcer asks, "What would you pay for this delicious meal? $14.95?" Maybe—you're pretty hungry. "$6.95?" Hey, that's not a bad deal. "Well, for a limited time, these wings can be yours for $0. Call now!"
Impossible? Au contraire. You needn't even call the number on your screen—SoHo's Cupping Room Cafe gives away free wings every weekday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Thirsty? Take two bucks off all wine by the glass to wash them down.
Despite what you might have heard, you can eat and drink in NYC on the cheap—which can cure even the strongest case of recession blues. Take Gramercy's Watering Hole, for example—it's got free wings and fries during its extended happy hour (Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 7pm; Friday to Sunday, noon to 7pm). And in the East Village, Five Points has a deal for the more refined happy hour-er: $5 martinis and $2 oysters every day from 5pm to 7pm.
You can also live the high life (at a low price) at Harlem Lanes, which feels more like a hip lounge than a bowling alley. The Upper Manhattan hotspot has two-for-one drinks and discounted bar food weekdays from 5pm to 8pm. Back in Midtown, the upscale B. Smith's offers a weeknight deal as well: $7 glasses of wine, $5 beers and $6 eats—which include wings, dumplings, shrimp rolls and calamari—from 5pm to 8pm.
Lest we forget, any New York food discussion must include pizza. In the East Village, Crocodile Lounge pairs a free personal brick-oven pie with every drink purchase from noon to 4am daily (and there's $3 Yuengling drafts and $4 well drinks from noon to 6pm). Or drop by for happy hour before a show at Pianos on the Lower East Side, where $4 glasses of wine and $3 beers and well drinks accompany a solid menu that hovers around $5 or less daily from 3pm to 7pm. (On Sundays, those food prices stick 'til midnight.)
Brooklynites get in on the action, too: The Habitat in Greenpoint offers some unexpected pub grub. The best deal: $9 for sangria, two beef empanadas and mixed greens every day from 4pm to 7pm. (Don't want beef? The mac and cheese is $5.) But, of course, man cannot live on bread (or empanadas) alone—he needs activity as well. Head to Queens to check out Astoria's Break bar for free pool and ping-pong—along with $3 beers and $5 spirits—from 4pm to 9pm Monday through Thursday and noon to 9pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. These bar-gains are even better than the Eurosealer or the Snuggie.