5pm-9pm; $4 well drinks, $3 beers
L at First Ave.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Mug, once a modest coffee bar and hipster beauty salon, sure has changed. By junking the hair supplies and upping the chichi add-ons—cushy cube stools, retro lamps, a pomegranate cocktail made with 80-proof p.i.n.k. vodka—the bar’s entered the party phase of its adolescence, morphing into a lounge straight out of the imaginations of Sex and the City's set designers. The Cosmo crowd, however, doesn’t reach critical mass until after midnight, when Mug’s plush nooks and crannies loosen inhibitions by offering the illusion of privacy; beforehand, the bar offers an upscale-yet-unpretentious neighborhood vibe. (An eclectic wine list is the spark for many a post-work wind down.) One warning: If you bring your token gay friend, don’t expect him to lounge on those Moroccan-mod couches for long—popular East Village gay bar the Phoenix, directly across the street, deploys a powerful tractor beam.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.