The Leadbelly 14 Orchard St. Near Canal St.
Lower East Side
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Take a seat at the rustic wooden bar and drink in The Leadbelly’s understated elegance. With a backdrop of jazz, a sequestered section of stools and wooden benches, and the charmingly dilapidated, peeling wallpaper, the LES spot is both intimate and relaxing. We will never turn down a happy hour with $1 oysters and $6 cocktails, especially when the latter is a deep red concoction of elderberry, gin and orange zest. At that rate, you’ll be tipping back the perfectly salted shellfish and imbibing the signature drink in a race against the 8pm deadline. The entire menu is designed for sharing, and we found the Jerusalem artichoke mac ‘n cheese ($9) and a half order of the oysters ($17) enormously satisfying. Live music begins around 8:30pm, and ordering an artisan cocktail ($13) in anticipation will make your listening experience that much smoother. The Gin LB went down easy, and our friendly waitress was only an arm’s reach away and ready with a refill. -Dani Frank