67 South 6th Street
New York, NY 11211
The Scene: Feels like a Vietnamese countryside shack, only transported to industrial Williamsburg. Bia gives off a fun feeling that would never scream fancy date, but is the perfect place to meet good friends, have a great time and eat well for a low price. The food comes from the family recipes of those responsible for the Village’s Duke’s Bar. These recipes amount to a bunch of some small plates and a few entrees that are filling for a low price. The soundtrack is heavy on Steely Dan and Robert Palmer instead of the Brooklyn bands who imitate them, but I’m sure this works for anyone who has heard that Disclosure record twelve-too-many-times around town.
Who It’s For: If you like to walk over the bridge and need a place to meet for a good drink and a snack, Bia is just blocks from the foot of the bridge. With the majority of the menu being under $10 and a few dishes for $2 and $3, allowing you to meet up for a drink and a meal with both broke friends and that ever-present friend who “just isn’t that hungry (Remember: now is not the time for an intervention, this is a fun spot),” even when you are ready for dinner. Conveniently, the pho and other bowls come in large and small sizes. They have sake, wine, tons of microbrew beer, and cocktails. Most dishes are for carnivores, but many dishes can be ordered vegetarian. This makes it an ideal place to meet up with a diverse set of friends with finicky needs and disparate spending habits.
How To Do It: If you want to taste as many things as possible in an evening, but don’t have the money to do so, there are very few places in the neighborhood where you can taste as many different flavors for as low a price. While Bia is great for getting a good bar snack, you really win if you come with a bunch of people and order the majority of the menu. If you don’t have a large group, go with small bowls of the broths and enjoy a bunch of appetizers like the meat sticks, dumplings and wings.
Local Secret: The roofdeck is shockingly private and amazing, but remember you can’t get any of the broth-based dishes and you have to go downstairs to order (there’s also smoking in the front of it, which can be a plus or minus for you). The sake and wine are always a pleasant surprise for the price tag, so make use of it by getting a rare deal for good quality drinks. There’s a scale in the bar, so feel free to check on how much damage you’ve been doing to your waistline each visit.