The Hard Swallow

Fun times in New York City might make a tourist think of Broadway shows or Chelsea galleries. But for those of us who have carved out a home in New York that we can call our own, fun times happen at the local pub. The local bar is really the heartbeat of any neighborhood. It’s where we get the news, forget the news and sometimes make the news.

The Hard Swallow is a neo-dive, a sexy local rock and roll dive bar for adults. Coining the term Cheap Beer and Booze as it’s motto we feature budget friendly beer shot specials, a daily buy one get one happy hour from 12pm-8pm, and a classic cocktail menu for the sophisticated palette. It’s concept is based on the real gritty dives of New York’s past, old east village favorites like Lismar Lounge, Mars Bar, Motor City and  Downtown Beruit. The owners Big Lee and Sasha, two local born and bred New Yorkers are often found going shot for shot with the regulars. Feeling alienated by the wave of trendy lounges and nightclubs that invaded the neighborhood, Big Lee created The Hard Swallow in 2015 to serve the people of the East Village and Lower East Side that were hungry for old Rock and Roll NYC. With so many favorite local dives lost, Big Lee set out to recreate the essence of his community. It’s seedy and gritty, but always open and familiar, home away from home. Where the bartender knows your name, and was serving your drink as you pulled up a stool.  This bar is all about the neighborhood and its colorful residents.

There’s no mistaking this place for a martini bar but our bartenders are skilled and ready to serve them if you want it. The walls are covered in pictures of Rock and Roll legends, good friends we have and good friends we’ve lost along the way and our ever famous velvet wallpaper. A TV behind the bar is showing movies from cult classics like Barbarella to New York staples like The Warriors, in black and white. We never play sports, the dark interior is broken by glowing neon signs and the bartender is grilling up Hot Dogs and other yummy bites.

When you enter you are carried back to when bars were gritty, drinks were cheap and laughs were free. Its surreal movie like atmosphere engulfs you. The bartender takes center stage behind the bar and greets you with your favorite beer. Alex and the local celebs have claimed their usual seats and sounds of The Clash, ACDC, The Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix, are playing above the sounds of laughter and balls breaking on the pool table. Your night has just begun, a smile spreads across your face as your welcomed by the family, you can relax you’re home at The Hard Swallow.

There’s always something going on at The Swallow from Dj parties to free holiday food buffets, Be sure to check out our calendar and join our facebook group Hard Swallow Events to keep up to date and get exclusive deals and specials



The Crew

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Whistle Blower

Hours and Location


Open Everyday including holidays:

Sunday                12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Monday               12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Tuesday               12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Wednesday         12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Thursday             12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Friday                  12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Saturday             12:00 PM – 4:00 AM


Sometimes we open earlier than noon, when it’s obvious that people need a drink. And sometimes we’re a little late because you know #mta

Where we are:

140 First Avenue

New York, NY 10009

THS Map 2