New York City’s first neighborhood-wide early bird kicks off June 1.
The East Village Early Bird, a collaboration between local bars, restaurants and food-and-drink shop owners, will offer specials, drinks, dishes, discounts and more. It will run daily from June 1 to June 30, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Participating merchants include Huertas, Lucky, Casa Adela, Caravan of Dreams, Virginia’s, Piccola Strada, Bin 144, The Gray Mare, ABC Beer Co, Juke Bar, Mud Coffee, Ray’s Candy Store, Book Club Bar, Veselka and more.
Each place is doing its own thing. Offers run from half price to $2 off well drinks and beer, to 25 percent off the check, to a free kids cone with a purchase of $15 or more at Ray’s. Virginia’s is offering half off on hamburgers starting at 5 p.m. The Roost is offering half-priced beer with purchase of pizza or a sandwich. More bargains will be added each week.
To sweeten the pot, guests who drink or dine in or pick up orders between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. can enter to win gift cards at participating bars and restaurants. For even more chances to win, they can volunteer for a shift at the Lower Eastside Girls Club Food Pantry or make a donation to the Lower Eastside Girls Club Community Relief Fund to be entered to win more gift cards as a thank you for helping to feed and support East Village neighbors in need.
“One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been a stronger sense of community and a reinforced sense of camaraderie in our industry,” said Jonah Miller, the chef and owner of Huertas. “We all faced similar and unprecedented challenges, and we were suddenly all rooting for each other to succeed. The Early Bird is an extension of this. It’s a chance for us to reconnect with our guests and for them to discover other great places in the neighborhood, and vice versa, during a time of day when things are a little quieter.”
Like so many mom-and-pop businesses across the country, the pandemic hit the East Village hard, with an estimated 58 bars and restaurants having closed since last April.
“We’re hoping that the Early Bird inspires people to come out early to enjoy our neighborhood and support our small businesses,” said Jimmy Carbone, co-chairperson of the East Village Independent Merchants Association, EVIMA. “Our bars and restaurants are the perfect places to have the last meeting of the day, take the family for an early dinner, or get a slice on the way home from school without breaking the bank. There’s always something new to taste and discover in the East Village, especially before it gets crowded as the night goes on.”
Abby Ehmann, a 35-year East Village resident and owner of Lucky bar, added, “The East Village Early Bird is also a creative way to have a first date during what’s expected to be the summer of love. If you meet at 4 p.m. or 5, and it’s a match, you can stay late. If not, walk away by 6 p.m. and have the rest of the night for other adventures.”
The East Village Early Bird is a program of the East Village Independent Merchants Association. For a list of participating restaurants and more information, visit evimanyc.org. Follow @evimanyc on Instagram to see the updated list of participating bars and restaurants.