Last weekend (or this morning) it is likely you woke up with a pounding headache, on top of your sheets, and next to a nursery school’s worth of half-eaten dollar pizza crusts. You’ve responsibly and regrettably decided that your wallet and liver don’t need to suffer as much this go-around, but when you look online for less-boozy activities, they’re either really lame (7 a.m. dance parties — yuck), during the day (Church), or expensive (Broadway shows). So, I’ve compiled a list of fun, cheap, and potentially sober evening activities to do with or without friends, that still qualify as a fun night out, and still quantify getting out of your pajamas.
Spin: When you’re feeling sporty
Spin is owned by Susan Saranden (#freetheboob), and a self-proclaimed “Ping-Pong Social Club.” But do not be fooled — this isn’t your average Midwestern house party ping-pong set up in someone’s cousin’s parent’s basement. With its chic decor including trendy lounges, multiple bars, and of course, a plethora of ping pong tables, you won’t be sure if you’re in a hot night club or a Chinese Olympian’s teenage dream.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: When you’re feeling classy
Met Fridays are the one thing that will surely restore your faith in NYC after that random banker burped IN YOUR FACE on the train during your commute home (yes this really happened). Exhibits and events stay open until 9 p.m…but the real blessing is the rooftop. Sure, the drinks aren’t $1 beers at whatever cheap Tallahassee saloon you frequented in your less cosmopolitan days. However, by having one classy $11 drink on top of one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the world (not to mention the best view in all the land), you’ll save the expense of all the ibuprofens you’ll need to buy tomorrow morning when you wake up with a pounding hangover and someone who looks like your uncle.
American Beauty: When you’re feeling American
Conveniently located near Penn Station and practically everything else on Earth, American Beauty is the sister-venue to the very intense Webster Hall. But if you’re not up for your typical rave at Webster, American Beauty is the perfect place to hang out in the urban-chic loft/bar, shoot some pool on the second floor, or redeem a FREE PIZZA which is freshly made before your very eyes, and included in the purchase of EACH drink you have (take it easy). And if that free/delicious pizza has given you life and energy, continue on through the bar to their live room, which features: Another bar, awesome vibes, talented musicians, and some pretty classy crystal chandeliers.
…However, I’m pretty sure I had you at FREE PIZZA.
The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM: When you’re feeling sweet
This low-key option is especially perfect if you’re in the mood for a quiet evening, a nice walk, but not much more than that. So, dress up in your finest pajamas, pick out a bottle of the nicest pink wine at your corner bodega, and treat yourself! Although modern society has brainwashed you to think that these kinds of nights are saved for breakups, post-hookups, and professional screw ups, it’s important that you know that these kinds of nights (with or without the squad) are surprisingly empowering. And, there’s no rush. If you’d rather not deal with human interaction inside the store, the Cupcake ATM is open 24 HOURS A DAY #blessed.
The Plaza Food Hall: When you’re feeling eclectic
True, Todd English Food Hall beneath the iconic Plaza hotel closes at 10 p.m., but when you lay your eyes on this underground feast beneath the streets, you’ll want to go home and remember every savory bite of macaroon, lobster roll, sushi, spaghetti carbonara, or whatever it is you just devoured. Moderation is your ally at this venue, because the options can be overwhelming. If your bark is bigger than your bite, you’ll end up going home with your pants unbuttoned.
Comedy Shows: When you’re feeling funny
Comedy shows in New York are cheap, ($0-$10), funny, and often have amazing surprise guests. Just walk around the west village, Kips bay, or Times Square (if you’re in a self-loathing mood), and make eye contact with any of the desperate, forward, but well-meaning comedians offering tickets. Do some quick googling/yelping on their venues (I can’t do everything for you, you lazy millennial) and attend a giggle fest, where, depending on the size of the room, you will get made fun of and humiliated in front of your date.
(Side note: Never go to a comedy show on your first date)
Beauty Bar: When you’re feeling groovy
Whether you’re drinking or not, Beauty Bar is a great choice. It’s a casual 60s beauty shop-themed bar that really only plays 60s to 80s music. If you decide to imbibe, the drinks are cheap. If not, very trendy nail stylists are there until midnight to give your fingers, the hottest makeover imaginable. They have a REAL dance floor in the back room, which is rare among New York City bars, which usually expect you to stand like sardines in their railroad shaped dungeon-bars. Beauty Bar is the type of place where you’ll be too busy dancing to amazing tunes from the musical golden era(s) to realize you don’t even have a drink in your hand–and you won’t even care about it.