The official start of summer has finally arrived. Plan a staycation exploring New York City for a relaxed weekend. Instead of driving to the beach, hang in Manhattan for great deals and a chilled vibe.
Mermaid Inn (3 locations) Nothing screams summer like oysters! From 5-7 p.m. daily enjoy $1.25 oysters, $6 beers and $8.50 wine and cocktails. Mermaid also serves discounted appetizers like $5 Salmon Tartare and a Mini Fish Taco for $3. I recommend the Aperol Spritz to start the weekend off right. One of my favorite things is the complimentary chocolate pudding for dessert, since they don’t offer a sweet endings menu. The bar is first-come first-served but make a reservation if you prefer table seating. The atmosphere is very nautical and bright. Close your eyes, have an oyster and feel the bay breeze. Try their Maine Mussels ($16) with parsley sausage, white wine and focaccia if you’d like to sample something from the regular menu.
Bar Belly (14B Orchard Street) Monday through Saturday feast on $1 oysters, $5 fries and $10 mussels. Beer is $4, wine $8 and drinks $8-$9. The limited menu consists of small plates meant for noshing while drinking and sharing with friends. Bar Belly is a great pick for unique seasonal cocktails and an array of fresh oysters to match. I like The Dead Witch with Wodka vodka, cognac caffe liquor reduction, turkish kaffe brew, thai coconut milk, and black walnut bitters. Yes, all the cocktails have crazy delicious ingredients. Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. get lost in free live jazz until 10 p.m. when a DJ takes over. The vibe may change but the drinks taste just as good.
Ocean Prime (123 West 52nd Street ) Saturday from 4-6 p.m. and all night Sunday, dine at Ocean for a fraction of the price with their $65 prix-fixe menu. The three courses include several choices like an eight ounce Filet Mignon, Blackened Snapper and Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte for dessert. Most entree menu items start at $40 so this is a real deal. Ocean delivers an elegant setting, an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak and a Wine Spectator-honored wine list. Their genuine hospitality makes every guest feel like a VIP, perfect for any special occasion.