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Recession has sobering effect on NYC bars

NEW YORK New York City’s night owls are tightening their belts, with most going out less often than they did last year and many ordering cheaper drinks when they do hit the bars, according to a new study by Zagat Survey.

New York has been hard-hit in the recession, especially on Wall Street, where the financial crisis led to massive layoffs. When asked by Zagat how the economic slump was affecting their nightlife habits, 38 percent of New Yorkers said were going to less-expensive bars and nightclubs than they were last year. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they were more price-sensitive, and 27 percent said they were ordering fewer drinks.

"These answers are enough to give a bartender a hangover," said Tim Zagat, co-founder and chief executive of Zagat Survey.

Despite the slump, new bars are still opening in the city. Zagat pointed out that 100 "noteworthy newcomers" were listed among the 1,315 venues in the company's latest nightlife guide for New York.

The survey also found that many New Yorkers switch from wine and beer to mixed drinks on weekends, with 47 percent of respondent saying they mostly order wine during the week. Another 27 percent said they order beer during the week, and 18 percent have mixed drinks.

However, on the weekends, 59 percent of people said they get cocktails, compared with 20 percent who get wine and 16 percent who get beer.

Both beer and cocktails feature prominently in New York's new nightspots, with many offering extended beer lists and others focusing on high-end cocktails.

In a poll of 6,000 people, 56 percent said they were going out less than last year, while only 8 percent said they were going out more.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected].

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