Monday, March 28, 2005

Bar Food for the Down and Out

New York Metro's website has a quality post about free food in bars. While Rudy's is well know for having free hot dogs (its dinginess still there, but with the gentrification of Hell's Kitchen... I mean Clinton, losing its charm - nice outside garden though) pleasant surprises were the Blind Tiger Ale House's weekend bagel brunch, starting at 1pm (it also has free hot dogs Monday @ 6 and free Murray's cheese Wednsday @ 6). and Rolf's with free German sandwhiches everyday @ 5 (and a pretty good beer selection), which is good as its bar is usually lacking at night.

Kudos also to New York Metro for their feature on old fashioned cocktails on the LES.

The Hanger

The Hanger
217 E Third St
New York, NY 10009-7521

Coming in, a long bar to squeeze through leads to a mix of goodwill couches and 1940's era photographs fill the back room. Ample couches and seating in the back, as well as standing room if needed. Backroom-ish type area in back. Couches are comfy,

Spacing (4/5 - no troubles)
Lighting (3/5 - dark enough)
Dive Atmosphere (3/5 - not a true dive, but not fancified... one must lower the dive standard in New York)

Here your reviewer is hazy, so they must have been strong. Above average, though not that much, selection of beer and the usual liquors you would find. The drinks are neither cheap nor expensive (if I recall $15 for 2 good scotches) - $4-6 for a beer. Not drop down dive pricing, but not high trend-setter pricing. Service was very friendly, asked the patrons what music they wanted played.

Price (3/5 - normal)
Strength (3/5 - normal)
Selection (3/5 - normal)
Service (5/5 - friendly)

20's age some groups. Not that crowded, but was 2am on a Thursday.

Summary - A good place to spend a couple of hours if you can sit down and also a convenient stop before close-by music venues (i.e. nublu)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Detour Jazz Club

349 E. 13th St.
New York, NY 10003

Detour has been around since 1995 and is one of the only non-cover jazz clubs of quality. The space is not too big or small, and at max could pack 40 people in. There are some high tables, some low tables and some benches against the wall. The tables are not too packed in, which is a common problem at NY jazz clubs. The candlelit tables are composed of old slogans and vintage ads, giving the occupant something to look at in between sets or if conversation runs dry. The lights are rarely white, with most being covered in transparent red, green or blue, with the stage area being lit, but not too bright.

Spacing (3/5 - better than most jazz clubs spacing, but still tight)
Lighting (4/5 - Dark enough, but not too dark not to see performers)
Table Wobble (2/5 - surf's up, thankfully the drinks are cheap)
Dive Atmosphere - (2/5 - Middle of the road, not dingy, but not fancy - points off for not being depressing)

A value - I hope they have a long lease. Any other no cover club would make it up with $10 drinks. Here, a martini is $8, and the top shelf beer is $6. Beers on tap include Yuengling, Brooklyn Weiss, Seasonal choice (Sam Adams White at the time), Carlsberg, Bass and Guinness. Big bottle selection including Leffe ($6) and others like Stella, Amstel Light, etc. ($5). I hope they have a long lease.

Price (5/5 - for a no cover jazz club not bad)
Strength (3/5 - normal)
Selection (3.5/5 - better than average but not blown away)
Service (4/5 - friendly)

* 2 drink minimum on honor system

Handful of friends of the band, some tourists (3 aggressive picture takers were then when we visited), a couple lone jazz (or drink) fans, some couples of all ages, some groups. On weekends I would imagine NYU students trying too hard, but a nice weekday crowd.

Crowd on Dive Scale (2/5 - happy and alcohol problem free)
Diversity (4/5 - nice diversity of age and interest)
Stranger Approachability (1/5 - this ain't the place)

And the band (Mirja Makela Quartet feat. Mika Pohjola) was great.

Scores low on actually being a dive, but scores high on being a great bar to listen to music. When the music stops (12:30am weekdays) and you need a dive, International Bar (1st Ave @ 7th) is closeby, but do support the free venue (and the band) by drinking and tipping generously.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ear Inn Picture thanks to Forgotten NY Posted by Hello

Forgotten NY Bar Crawl

From one of the best websites about urban history comes the idea of the Forgotten NY bar crawl. You can read about the sites and see pictures here, and below find the list of bars:
  • Bridge Cafe (est. 1794!) - 279 Water St. (by Dover)
  • McSorley's Old Ale House - East 7th and 3rd
  • Chumley's - Bedford Street north of Barrow
  • White Horse Tavern - Hudson St. and West 11th
  • Ear Inn - 326 Spring St
  • Old Town Bar - E. 18th between Broadway and Park Ave. South

While McSorley's and White Horse are the better known, the Ear Inn and Old Town Bar pack patrons in as well. Chumley's also has a great burger. Bridge Cafe sounds great, perhaps a review is in order as it is a lesser known spot.

Welcome to NYC Dives

NYC Dives is as the name, much like a commercial not featuring the product, suggests: a weblog about dive bars in New York City. While one can pick up a TONY, Dive Bar book, or search Shecky's, these tend to give a small one paragraph description, and repeat the same famous "dives" (McSorleySwigginsBlueGoldetc). Here at the NYC Dives, motivation and alcohol consumption at the bar permitting, we take a different approach. Pictures, interviews with bartenders, and "live reports" from the bars.

Be warned, however, as character of these places may change night to night. McSwiggans can be a diver's Xanadu Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but come Wednesday (all you can drink) and the weekend, enjoy elbowing with drunk NYU students and frat guys from Penn. These reviews aren't limited to the weekend, as the best dive bar, and drinking, experience is over the week. There are no Jettas from Jersey coming in to sample our city's fine bars like on weekends, it is pure New Yorkers, searching for a good time and an excuse not to be in the apartment.