Not every beer you drink needs to be an artisanal concoction, brewed in a log cabin under a swirl of cherry-tree smoke.
Sometimes you just want a beer that tastes good enough — and some change from a five.
Below, our picks for the city's best sub-$5 brews. You can find cheaper. You can find more "expressive." We're talking about joie de vivre here — which means these are curated, and ranked by how much fun we have there, once our <$5 criteria was met.
Jersey pies will figure prominently in our upcoming list of our favorite pizza in town — ’til then, pair them with a $4 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, a suitably summery pick. (Happy hour, 2:30 - 7 p.m.)
2. The Dorian
We said we wouldn't slip you super-artisanal brews — we lied. Proof: the $4 Firestone Easy Jack IPA, with "massive hop aromas, surprising dimension, [and] a signature malt balance." Also, The Dorian is a great looking space — we'd rank it favorably for first dates. (Happy hour, 5 - 8 p.m.)
3. Uno Dos Tacos
Uno Dos Tacos' specialty is its luxuriant array of 50+ tequilas and dozens of mezcals — but come first for the $4 draft beers and a plate of asada tacos with roasted salsa. (Happy hour, "4 p.m. - close")
4. El Techo
Recently named to our list of the city's best rooftop bars, El Techo supplies an assortment of $4 beers — Pacifico, Victoria, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial — alongside the snacks (we like the guac or the fried plantains with sour cream.) (Happy hour, 4 - 6 p.m.)
5. Alba Ray's
Get there in time for the $3 Abitas — and stay for the killer Creole. Something light? The blue crab salad. Something not at all light? Crab-stuffed flounder — and a side of mac 'n' cheese. (Happy hour, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.)