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The Best Places To Eat And Drink In New York City From A Local's Perspective

Visiting from out of town? Looking for something new to do? These places are tried and true stand-bys that are sure to please (and impress your friends/family/date).

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$1 Oyster Happy Hour

Hallie Janson

Everyone loves a good happy hour special. I don't care who you are, even if you won't admit it, having great food at happy hour prices makes everyone happy. All joking aside, The Mermaid Inn and Docks Oyster Bar quite possibly have THE BEST oyster happy hours in all of Manhattan. While Mermaid does happy hour every day of the week, Docks reserves their specials for weekdays only. Both menus feature the freshest of fresh oysters along with other outstanding seafood dishes (think sushi, crispy rice, fried calamari etc). Docks is great for an upscale businessy atmosphere while Mermaid has a more laid-back boat house-type vibe.

Dim Sum Lunch? Peking Duck Dinner?

Hallie Janson

Most New Yorkers have a hate/hate relationship with Chinatown: it's packed with tourist shops all selling the same I Heart NY tshirts and cups, is pretty dirty, and there is someone trying to sell you a fake handbag on just about every other corner. But, if you can push these negatives aside, Chinatown has some pretty amazing food if you know where to look. Oriental Garden is the crown jewel of traditional Chinese dining in Chinatown. Located on Elizabeth Street, this restaurant is rather unassuming from the outside, but the interior is decorated in traditional Chinese decor. The Dim Sum lunch is outstanding- from the quality service to the excellent dumplings, soups, and traditional Chinese dishes. A full and half Peking duck are available at both lunch and dinner hours and are a must. The duck is crispy and tender, savory and succulent and is carved table-side. Oriental Garden is a hidden gem and one that should not be overlooked.

Date Night Drinks

Via flickr

If you're looking to impress your date with quality drinks in a sultry atmosphere, look no further than Madame Geneva in the Bowery. This is a great bar with an unassuming appearance from the street that will totally wow you once you walk through the dark front door. the interior of the bar is darkly sexy with a speakeasy type ambiance. Proper mixologists work behind the bar and drinks are top notch. While the bar is known for their gin drinks, you can't go wrong with any cocktail there.

Speakesies? Why Not!

Via CBS local

New York City is known for the clever, the weird, and the offbeat. While many cities around the country claim to be a speakeasy, there really aren't any quite like those in NYC. From Beauty & Essex to Bathtub Gin or Please Don't Tell, the city has quite the variety of secret back rooms in which to imbibe.

Beauty & Essex in the Lower East Side is quite possibly one of my favorite speakeasies when it comes to truly beautiful hidden spaces. To gain access you must enter through the back wall of a functioning pawn shop and once you enter, you'll be amazed at the beauty and decor of this two-story bar. The scene is upscale, with patrons dressing to impress and while drinks are on the pricier side, they're worth every penny.

Another go-to for the quirky and offbeat is Please Don't Tell. Located inside the Crif Dogs hot dog shop, patrons must enter an old-school phone booth and dial the specified number on the wall to reach the speakeasy. From there, a secret panel in the booth will open, granting you access to this subdued, subterranean spot. It's important to note here that the bar won't accept groups larger than 4 and ask that you help maintain the appearance of privacy by not using your phone, taking pictures, or speaking too loudly.

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