City spots offer free food (its no joke!)
Chickpea fritters come free with a drink at Counter. The restaurant is one of several that offer free eats. Credit: Ryan Thatcher.
Special to amNewYork
They say theres no such thing as a free lunch. That may be true, but weve discovered that there is free food to be found in NYCand it can be revealed at some unlikely, upscale eateries, with purchase of a drink, of course. Heres the low down on where you can score gratis grub.
74 Seventh Ave. South (near Barrow Street), 212-367-7470
Recession specials are everywhere, but we particularly like the one at this West Village favorite. Along with a great selection of red and white vino quartinos for $7 and cocktails for $8, like the refreshing Centriolopairing Hendricks Gin, muddled cucumber, and sweet basilsmall bites will be offered free of charge seven nights a week from 5-7 p.m. The list includes a trio of truffled deviled eggs, shrimp and chickpea fritters with lemon aioli, and a BLT stacked with pancetta, frisee and tomato confit. Note: Centro Vinotecas sister restaurant, Gusto Ristorante (60 Greenwich Ave., 212-924-8000), also offer free bites from 5-7 p.m. everyday. Among them, parmesan beignets, arancinis and a selection of bruschetta.
105 First Ave.,
This meat-free standby known for its sophisticated atmosphere, circular bar and extensive organic wine selection gives East Village vegetarians something to cheer about. From Sunday to Thursday, a nice selection of appetizers are served free of charge to those buying drinks at the bar (including herb-infused martinis). The gratis bites include marinated olives, chickpea fries with aioli, fried mushrooms, corn beignets, and winter squash cigars. Yum!Armani/Ristorante
717 Fifth Ave., 212-207-1902
We love happy hours. But what about Apertivo Hours? Every Thursday from 6:30-9 p.m., the venerable fashion designers ritzy Fifth Ave. eatery offers a spread of comped bites that hail from different regions in Italy, free to those who buy a drink at the bar. A happy hour here is like an Italian culinary classone Thursdays menu included crocchette di pancetta (an Italian bacon croquette) and crostini con funghi (toasted bread smothered with sautéed mushrooms from Garfagnana, in Northwest Tuscany).
The Mermaid Inn
96 Second Ave., btwn Fifth and Sixth sts., 212-674-5870
568 Amsterdam Ave., 212-799-7400
A free mini-serving of chocolate pudding is offered every night of the week at each of Mermaid Inns locations. And thanks to a blossoming relationship with Magnolia, a mini-cupcake comes is offered, for free, on Monday nights. Now you can have your cupcake, and eat it, too.
The Watering Hole
106 E. 19th St., btwn Park Ave. So. and Irving Pl., 212-674-5783
Formerly known as Tracy Js, but now under new management, this Union Square bar is a favorite destination for karaoke and free food. In addition to a lengthy happy hour (3-7pm Mon.-Thurs., noon-7pm on Friday) where wines and mixed drinks cost just $4 a pop, this bar also offers a complimentary buffet from 5:30-6:30p.m. daily with the purchase of a drink. Gratis items include all-you-can-eat, filling pub fare like chicken wings, sliders, and French friesso get there early.