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Best US Bars on a Budget

In this economy, you don’t have to be a starving student to be on a strict ramen noodle type budget. It seems like everyone is trying to save a few bucks, and wining and dining can be the first indulgence to fall off the list. Never fear, we’ve got some of the best bars on a budget no matter where you are in the country, because you gotta live, even if it’s just a little.

Los Angeles

Cha Cha Lounge is the perfect place to enjoy some drinks without breaking the bank. Okay, so the décor is a little less than matching, and it’s definitely a fight to get the attention of the bartender, but if you’re short on cash, it’s one of the best bars in Los Angeles to drink in. Instead of cramped, think of it as cozy and hip, because that’s exactly what it is. Sitting in the heart of Silver Lake, you’re sure to be in hipster heaven as you bond with other patrons over sell out musicians, high rent, and $3 PBRs. – Santa Monica Hostel

Cha Cha Lounge, 2375 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039

San Francisco

If the cash flow is tight, but you still want to treat yourself and/or your significant other right, check out Amélie. It’s a swanky wine bar with just enough spunk to keep it from being dull and parental. With a happy hour from 5:30-7pm, you can score a pretty good deal on some appetizers and $5 glasses of wine. It’s usually crowded with young professionals and casual trendsetters alike, and is the perfect after-work dinner spot. – Hostels in San Francisco

Amélie, 1754 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109


For a cultural budget dining experience, try Resi’s Bierstube, located in the former German immigrant inhabited Lakeview. You don’t need to know much about meteorology to understand that the Windy City can get pretty chilly, which is why so many Chicago dwellers, from older men to hipsters, love Resi’s traditional Bavarian cabin atmosphere and hearty menu. Like any respectable bar the beer list is extensive and inexpensive, with prices hovering around $5. Even though schnitzel and bratwurst taste especially good on a snowy evening, this is one of the best bars in Chicago to fill you up on the cheap any time of the year. – Chicago Hostel

Resi’s Bierstube, 2034 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60618

Washington, DC

The place to go for cheap drinks, even cheaper food, and wild nights, is most definitely Lucky Bar. With a long happy hour from 3-8pm, you can get down on $3 drinks and 25 cent food specials. If you’re a sports fan, this is one of the best bars in DC for you, especially if you like soccer. It can get a little crazy on Friday nights with top 40 DJs and frat kids, but if you’re not in the mood for the raucousness, head upstairs for a chiller vibe. – Washington DC Hostel

Lucky Bar, 1221 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

New York

Smack dab in the East Village, International Bar is one of the diviest dive bars in NYC. With a happy hour that goes from 1-8pm, you know they mean business. Though it’s decorated with a smattering of mismatched year-round holiday décor and odd furniture, patrons hardly seem to care as this is the place to go for a cheap and easy drink. Roll up in your pajamas or suit; no one will mind as you blast tunes no one has ever heard of from the jukebox. There is a back patio for warmer weather, and you can often find all walks of life setting up camp outside. For $2-$5 beers, who cares? – New York City – Manhattan Hostel

International Bar. 120-1/2 First Avenue, New York, NY 10009


The Cambridge classic, Grendel’s Den, stays true to its Beowulf character namesake, with brick archways in a dark tavern setting. Harvard students and their slightly older professional counterparts, flock to this favorite bar for the $4.95 weekday lunch express specials and the great half priced menu from 5-7:30pm. Come for the cheap food and drinks, stay for the fun atmosphere, and chill out on the patio to people-watch passersby in Winthrop Square. – Boston Hostel

Grendel’s Den, 89 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

No matter what city you reside in or visit, there are options for those less fortunate souls. If you do enough research you could potentially save a ton of money staking out the best happy hours and drink specials in your city. So quit bugging your friends to spot you this time around, and find the best bars on a budget in your area.

By Party Earth

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