Just past midnight marks the magic hour of late-night slash early morning dining in the city, the perfect time to cozy up to a platter of crisp fried chicken in Soho and the only hour you can slurp offal-laden ramen in the West Village.
That doesn't mean that good after-the-bars eats are always easy to find. So before you regrettably stumble off to the next grimy hot dog stand this weekend, plan your drinking accordingly and hit up our ten favorite spots to soak up the booze. And yes, they all serve past 12 a.m.
① Artichoke Basille's Pizza, East Village
There always seems to be a crowd of hungry college students at this East Village slice shop—and for good reason. Its signature artichoke slice ($4.50) is deep-dish decadence meets your grandma's vegetable lasagna in the best sense: Thick, focaccia-like crust comes hot and slathered with lots of cream sauce, two types of cheese, spinach and artichoke hearts. Sure, you can find locations in Chelsea and the West Village these days, but there's nothing like cramming into the closet-size original space on these cool nights, warming yourself by the ovens and taking in that cheesy aroma as you wait for your bubbling slice.
② Great NY Noodletown, Chinatown
Do late-night like a line cook at this Bowery institution. Like any good Chinatown restaurant, rows of slowly roasting ducks hang faithfully in the window, and there's always a man armed with a cleaver behind the counter ready to hack them for a take-out order ($9). But if you need something to soak up a previous round of sake bombs, hang out and feast on whole pan-fried flounder ($16), punctured with slivers of ginger and scallion and just oily enough to make the skin crackly. Classic ginger-scallion noodles ($5.50) help you carbo-load your hangover.
③ Clover Club, Carroll Gardens
Cocktails come first at this moody, nineteenth century-esque bar from Flatiron Lounge's Julie Reiner. But did you know they've got elevated bar snacks, too? Stumble in during the wee hours and you can still fill your belly with mac 'n' cheese ($12), made with Gruyère, white cheddar and bacon, and lamb burger ($13), stacked with onion, chèvre and chips (or greens, if you're feeling healthy) on a toasted bun. And may we suggest a must-order for the table: the plain-sounding "crisps" ($6), potato chips fried in duck fat and served alongside a truffled crème fraîche dip.
Stay out late for Takashi's beefy ramen. | Photo: Tasting Table
④ Takashi, West Village
This late-night rendezvous requires some planning ahead, but the reward of a steaming bowl of beefy ramen à la Takashi Inoue is worth the extra effort. You need to email the restaurant beforehand for this weekend-only, wee-hours special, a dish dear to the offal-loving chef's heart. Inoue simmers beef bones for a full day, then sloshes the broth into a bowl with braised Kobe belly, seaweed and a soft-boiled egg. You can also get it spicy for one extra dollar, which will get you a dollop of shrimpy gochujang. But it wouldn't truly be a Takashi meal without a little offal: In both versions, crisp, chewy intestines float in the rich, meaty broth.
⑤ Mother's Ruin, Nolita
After you've downed one too many boozy slushies, it's nice to know this cozy but stylish bar has some "everyday edibles" (their words, not ours) to make your night better and longer (the kitchen's firing these babies up until 4 a.m. daily). Riffs on classic snacks hit the spot, like spicy fried chickpeas ($5) sprinkled with garam masala, cayenne and salt, duck wings ($12) slathered in a black peppercorn and ginger glaze and Thai pork sliders ($12), Berkshire pork patties topped with pickled carrots, cucumber and peanut sauce.
⑥ Sake Bar Hagi, Midtown West
Escape the Midtown madness: Disappear downstairs to this underground izakaya, where Kirin flows freely and tiny barbecued skewers appear like magic on your little wooden table. Order a pitcher ($10) and be generous with your yakitori orders, like multiples of chicken skin ($1.50) or the funky, delicious smelt ($4), stuffed with roe and broiled until they've reached crisp perfection. Feeling brazen in all your buzzed glory? Try deep-fried chicken gizzards ($5), beef tongue ($6) or bonito tataki ($9), seared sashimi slices of the fresh fish you'd normally see shaved and waving atop okonomiyaki.
⑦ The Commodore, Williamsburg
No, this isn't your uncle's basement, even if it might feel that way. Come for a divey drink and stay for the best bar food in town. Split Cadillac nachos ($10), white queso spiked with jalapeños, tomatoes, onions and three kinds of salsa, but save the fried chicken for yourself. It comes with tangy coleslaw and pickles ($10), but it's the biscuits that stand out—they're light and airy inside and crackly outside.
⑧ Henry Public, Cobble Hill
Get an early start on Thanksgiving season with this rustic, woodsy, pre-Civil War-inspired tavern's epic turkey leg sandwich ($16). The turkey is braised in milk, then doused in gravy, sprinkled with fried onions and smashed between thick slices of Pullman bread. It's as good when you're drunk or sober—not all post-midnight food can promise you that. If your late-night hankering translates to red meat, order the hamburger sandwich ($14), a lean, charred patty served with pickles on an Orwasher's bun (cheese will run you an extra $2, sonny).
⑨ Veselka, East Village
It's always pierogi o'clock at this classic 60-year-old Ukrainian diner. Veselka has been doling borscht and stuffed cabbage, 24 hours a day, for the past decade, and chef Olesia Lew continues the tradition. Come in from the cold for carb-loaded, meaty fare like broiled pierogies ($7 to $11) served with the sauce staples (sour cream, sautéed onions, applesauce), borscht ($4 to $7) lovingly made by this woman and a surprisingly superb burger ($9.50), a simple stack of char-grilled chuck and American cheese on an Amy's Bread bun.
⑩ Blue Ribbon, Soho
Sometimes, nothing sounds better than fatty, crisp hunks of fried chicken (which is most of the time, but especially after a few drinks). The Bromberg Bros. are still doing a stellar job with crisp birds at their brick-walled, 12-year-old Downtown spot—and said chicken is available until 4 a.m. Grab a seat at the bar and shout your order above the noise; slurp an impressive seafood plateau ($91) and definitely get the pu pu platter ($17.50) while you wait for your gravy-soaked mashed potatoes, collards and side of honey that accompany that legendary buttermilk fried chicken ($28.50).