Unfortunately my favorite bar in Manhattan closed years ago. There used to be a bar around the block from the Beacon Theatre called Mellons. Whenever I happened into the city to go to a concert at the Beacon Theatre, I would drop in to Mellons for a couple of pints of Whatneys Red Barrel. They had a great Bartender who used to give every third pint for free. Man I miss that place.
My favorite is also closed; the old Red Rock West on 17th and 10th.
Now it depends on mood. For punk rock it's either Double Down or Three of Cups (on some nights). Beer Bar? Blind Tiger for day drinking but it's too crowded at night. Standings or Hop Devil depending on what's on tap.
I used to work at George Keeley for a while, and now and then go back to help out. It is located on 83rd & Amsterdam. They specialize in craft beer and have 22 taps going. They have a few staples, but most beers always rotate. The staff are great and the kitchen downstairs makes some great food. If anyone ever wants a brew, let me know.
McSorley's, E7th and Cooper, oldest bar in NY, my father used to go there when he was young, and he's turning 91 in January. Great place, steeped in tradition and it's dirt cheap to eat and drink (beer only, light or dark, and they come 2 at a time). On Fri and Sat nights they tend to get a lot of Jersey types but who can blame them for wanting to leave Jersey? The bartenders and wait staff are unchanged for the most part since I started going there almost 40 years ago!
The one time I tried going there I think it was a friday night and there was a large line out the door to get in. Is this typical on most nights of the week or are there slower nights to check it out?
I visited New York City a few weeks back and thought McSourley's was really cool. I like the history behind the place, and the fact that its a presidential hangout spot; kinda neat. I also liked Flight 151 in Chelsea right by my hostel. Pretty quiet little sports bar.