If budget woes or vacation time keep Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale a distant fantasy, New York bars are happy to bring the beach home. Slip on sandals and swizzle your stick at these 8 Spring Break Bars
11 Times Sq. 212-221-3833The toothy grin of Señor Frogs’ mascot is by no means innocent. Instead, it comes from encouragement of this chain’s Times Square location to “unleash your inner fiesta,” which means yard glasses filled with heavily spiked drinks like Frosty Rockstar, Mother Frogger, and Rojo Rita. Bar bites add to the fun, with plating souped up into mock mousetraps, hot dog carts, and the like.
The Happiest Hour
121 W 10th St., 212-243-2827The two flamingos sharing a cocktail on the logo should tell you a lot about this “whimsical” Greenwich Village cocktail bar that sports the motto “You pick ‘em, we pour ‘em.” So too do the bartenders in short-sleeve Hawaiian shirts, who whip up cocktails like Pineapple Express (with pineapple, sage, Guatemalan rum) and What the Doctor Ordered (sarsaparilla, vanilla, wintergreen and rye). The pink and green palms in the wallpaper complete the tropical scene.
267 Elizabeth St., 917-727-0179Pay tribute to the ultimate road trip at this Nolita taquería, where food is served from an original 1960s Volkswagen van brought up from the Yúcatan. The former garage is further transformed with tropical plants, a surfing video on an endless loop, folding tin-top tables and chairs, and sunny South-of-the-border-style signage. Sangria comes by the pitcher.
Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 East 14th St., 212-228-2240Perhaps the city’s best named bar also is one of its most fun. It’s not just the devotion to all things tiki—as seen in the vintage pin-up girls and Hawaiian music albums on the walls, blowfish lamps and thatched roof of the bar, and shrunken heads in the window—but also in the old school tropical cocktails like Shrunken Skirt, Scurvy Dog, and Singapore Sling. For $5 extra, you can keep the cup, which are even more exotic than the drinks.
357 W. 44 St., 212-582-3200Named after a tiny French-governed volcanic island off the coast of Africa, this Hell’s Kitchen bar stamps its tropical spirit with tons of rum-based drinks infused with passion fruit, orange, and guava and topped with mini-mermaids and bright flowers. Surfboards, bikini tops, and Christmas lights on the walls seal the effect.
12 W. 45th st., 212-391-8053The classic ‘90s surf thriller provides the inspiration for this three-level, coastal-flavored bar in Midtown. As the staircase reads, “You want the ultimate thrill, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price.” Here this means diving into the cocktails with names like Honey Bee, Blue Freeze, and Blueberry Mist, or spin the Wheel of Shots for a $5 smack in the puss.
273 Smith St. 718-875-3433Brooklyn’s go-to tiki bar spikes its tropical drinks with aplomb, making it easy to forget your place. Instead focus (or try to) on the island spirit in the bamboo walls hung with masks, a gong, and Polynesian knickknacks. Find fresh air in the sizeable back garden, with thatched walls, tiki torches, and totem polls.
139 N. 6th St., 718–302–4441To actually crinkle sand between your toes, slip under the thatched storefront of this Williamsburg beach bar, which dispenses with floorboards and tile for pure silica. It certainly makes spillages of Mai Tais, mojitos, and rumrunners disappear more quickly. The garden out back continues the theme.