ilili is one of the best happy hour experiences in New York. With $7 cocktails and $5 bottles of beer, happy hour is an amazingly priced alternative to a full dinner (the first entree on the menu will set you back $90, although it is for two). It’s also one of the longer happy hours I’ve seen at a restaurant of this caliber: Monday through Friday from 4-7:30pm. The small bites offered during happy hour can easily serve as dinner, but the regular menu is also offered in the bar area after 5:30pm.
I ended up with two cocktails, a From Manhattan to Beirut made with bourbon, st germain and orange blossom water — sweeter than expexted but not at all bad — and a Poison Sumac Margarita. I’m half for/half against the margarita, which is great while the salt lasts. I found the sweetness overpowering without the salt, but you’ll love it if you like sweet and sour drinks.
The hommus ($8) is very good and getting an additional basket of fluffy white pita is not a problem. A little too much mint comes with the mini falafel ($5), but is easily removed. I’d advise checking your coat as space is limited and sit at the bar if low tables aren’t your thing. Four drinks and two small plates is enough split between two sort of hungry people, but if you’re very hungry it would be better to order three or four plates.
ilili is located at 236 5th Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets and is running restaurant week specials now through February 8th.