Explore NYC's Best Cash Only Bars and Restaurants

From cocktail bars to hidden burger joints, many of NYC's best kept secrets don't accept credit cards. Ahead, your guide to the city's tastiest cash only nightlife spots

Friday, Oct 19, 2012  |  Updated 1:16 PM EDT
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Explore NYC's Best Cash Only Bars and Restaurants

Taim, a hole-in-the-wall joint off Waverly Place, serves gluten-free falafel that's widely considered the best in town. It's also a cash only establishment.

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New Yorkers are an adventurous breed, especially when it comes to dining and drinking. We'll happily trek out to the far corners of Brooklyn to sample pitch perfect pizza, or criss cross Manhattan in search of the tastiest cocktails. We've got apps to locate that hole-in-the-wall speakeasy, insider tips on what to order off the menu and downtown dinner reservations for Saturday night. In short, we're nothing if not prepared. 

Except when the bill arrives and we're told the establishment takes cash only. Suddenly, we're forced to leave our friends while we scramble to find a branch of our bank that's within walking distance. Uncouth, indeed.

Thankfully, Capital One Bank can be the cure to your cashless woes. With High Yield Free Checking, any ATM fee is refunded, anywhere in the US, up to $15 every month. So you can make a pit stop to take out cash no matter the bank, leaving you flush by the time the bill arrives.

Some of New York City's best restaurants and bars don't take credit cards, so in order to prepare you for your next night on the town, we've put together a discerning list of our favorite cash only spots.

Burger Joint
Most of us vacate midtown as soon as the workday is over, but Burger Joint makes the case for an extended stay. Hidden in a corner of the sleek Le Parker Meridien Hotel, this no-frills grease pit is a favorite dirty little secret of diners in the know. Hunker down in a vinyl booth and enjoy a $7 burger and a brown paper bag full of fries, then wash dinner down with a Sam Adams or a thick shake.

Little Branch
Located below Seventh Avenue in the West Village, this booze bunker has all the trappings of a modern-day speakeasy--suspender clad mixologists, standup piano, hand hewn ice cubes. Thankfully, the drinks are just as authentic. Order an Old Fashioned, or let one of the friendly mixologists make you a bespoke cocktail based on your favorite flavors. 

Taim
While not exactly the right spot for a first date (there's only room for stool seating at this cramped West Village shop), Taim serves up arguably the best falafel in town. Load up on creamy hummus, kalamata olives and Feta cheese--their falafel is gluten and trans-fat free, meaning you get to indulge guilt-free.

The Brooklyn Inn
A favorite haunt of celebrated Brooklyn writers like Jonathan Ames and Jonathan Lethem (many of the latter's characters are rumored to be based on some of the bartenders), The Brooklyn Inn is the ideal stop for some leisurely pints and spirited conversation. Post up at the L-shaped bar (imported from Germany), and sample the seven beers on tap, or head to the back room for a game of a pool.

Lucali
Nestled on a sleepy street in Brooklyn's Carrol Gardens, this former candy store is now home to some of the best brick oven pies and calzones (thin crust, perfectly marbled) in town. Leave your name at the door and be prepared to wait, as well as pay with cash.

Nublu
10 years ago, this dive opened up on Avenue C behind a dilapidated, signless East Village storefront. Fast forward countless jazz, acid jazz and trip hop perfromances (not to mention a record label under the same name and an outpost in Istanbul) later and you're left with one of New York's most underated music venues. Come for the world music vibe and bring plenty of cash for the bar.

Egg
This comfort-food eatery nestled in Williamsburg quickly became destination dining. And for good reason: Egg serves breakfast every day till 6 p.m., meaning you can start your night off early with a short stack of pancakes drenched in Vermont maple syrup…paired with a short stack of mimosas, of course.

Celeste

There's a dearth of good dining options on the Upper West Side. Celeste, however, just might be the most reliably delicious Neopolitan restaurant on the planet. From fantastic, thin crust pizzas (go all in with the Quattro Stagioni) to artisanal pastas (all served in a crowded joint brimming with atmosphere), this place goes big on flavor and low on prices.

Weather Up
The white tiled interior at this Prospect Heights cocktail den might evoke Parisian metro stations, but the drink menu is much more American. Try the white rum daiquiri or the whizz bang, made with Scotch, dry Vermouth, house made Grenadine and served with orange bitters and an Absinthe rinse. If only there were an in-house metro to safely carry you home at the end of the night.

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