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Best Dark Bars to Escape the Summer Sun

By Mathew Katz | June 25, 2013 7:17am
  DNAinfo.com New York has found you the best, darkest bars to keep cool in during the summer.
New York's Top Dark Bars
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NEW YORK CITY — As much as New Yorkers love summer patios, the crushing heat and blistering afternoon sun can stop even the most hardened city dwellers from leaving their air-conditioned apartments. 

But just because spending time on a rooftop turns you into a sweaty mess, that doesn't mean you can't go out and drink with your friends — you just need to find the right refuge.

Luckily, New York is full of darkened bars blasting air conditioning that are perfect hideaways from the summer sun. Whether you're pale, sweaty, or just love the dark, DNAinfo New York has found some of the best, darkest bars:

Last Exit — 136 Atlantic Ave., Cobble Hill

Manager Greg Collins likes to keep this dive cool and dark in the summertime, especially since the bar extended its hours — it now opens at 2 p.m. on weekdays, instead of 4 p.m.

"It's kind of the hottest part of the day, so I like to keep it cool," he said.

While the bar has a bustling patio, the inside is mostly shaded and a perfect place to hide from the sun. If you're looking to get extra cool, on Sundays the bartenders specialize in a wide menu of summery drinks made with ingredients such as watermelon and cucumbers.

McManus — 152 Seventh Ave., Chelsea

This old-school bar has been serving a diverse crowd of regulars and locals for decades. With a house beer and a liberal buyback policy, it's easy to spend hours here on the cheap, and the bar's menu of pub favorites — especially the Reuben and steak sandwiches — will keep your stomach full.

O'Hanlon's Bar — 2257 31st St., Astoria

This bar is dark — really dark, all the time — and that's the way regulars there (largely on the older side) like it. Like McManus, this classic Astoria dive offers patrons buybacks and has a friendly wait staff that's easy to have a cool conversation with.

Drinks are on the cheaper side, with both select beers and well drinks coming in at just under $5, so it's a great place to spend a hot afternoon when the nearby beer gardens get to be too much.

Alibi — 242 Delkalb Ave., Fort Greene

In the winter, this below-ground Fort Greene favorite is known for its warm fireplace and $3 happy hour special before 8 p.m. In the summer, the fireplace is gone, but the cheap drinks abound. This spot also has a pool table, though it can sometimes be hard to free it up from a cast of diehard regulars, as well as televisions to catch the latest game.

Burp Castle — 41 E. 7th St., East Village

If you're looking for a secluded spot that's more monastery than hotspot, this temple to beer worship is the perfect place. The candle-lit bar specializes in Trappist monk-brewed beers, along with 12 Belgian or Belgian-inspired brews on tap. The bar keeps a low-profile, quiet atmosphere — instead of booming bass, it plays a constant refrain of monk chanting at all hours.

"When things get too loud and you can't hear the music, I get to shush the crowd," said bartender and beer nerd Ash Lioce.

"Customers used to be able to shush people, but we eventually had to ban patron shushing."

The Brooklyn Inn — 138 Bergen St., Boerum Hill

Don't let the huge windows fool you — this old-school Boerum Hill bar faces north, so it never gets direct sunlight, and it's surrounded by shade and leafy trees on its quiet block. The Brooklyn Inn — filled with back rooms, nooks and crannies to get lost in, also has a pool table for customers to enjoy. Staff at the bar like to keeps things quite cool in the summer.

"We've got great AC," said manager Jason Furland. "It's a crazy freezemaker. It's nuts."

Karaoke Spots in Koreatown — West 32nd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, Midtown

The bustling Korean sector of Midtown is home to a handful of karaoke spots that offer private, windowless rooms to wannabe singers — all for a relatively cheap rate. Favorites include MK Karaoke and Gagopa Karaoke, the latter of which allows you to bring your own booze.

Depending on your playlist — and how much booze you can afford — it's easy to spend hours and hours in these karaoke spots, only to stumble out with no idea what time of day it is.