Friday, April 29, 2005


3rd Ave @ 43rd

Every once in a while, one gets the notion in one's head to have a proper lunch. Other times, one just wants to drink at noon on a weekday. For the latter crowd, Muldoons is a good choice. When visiting there at 12:15pm the bar was filled with office workers, construction crews (booze+heavy machinery+possible debris=avoiding contruction sites during daytime) and some regulars. On a sunny 86 degree day, the reason why we choose this pub rather than the host of other lunch time pick me up establishments along third below 47th was a little outside patio out back. This patio proved underused, or unheard of, as there were only a couple guests. A TV playing NY1 was perched so all can see, and there were about 4 booths and 2 tables.

The food was OK, if not a bit overpriced. When we got the bill, however, we were quite pleasantly surprised that our McSorley pints cost $2.50! In the future for the thrifty citizen, lunches there will be liquid. A friendly waitstaff and clientele mix make Muldoons an enjoyable island in the sea of midtown east power lunch/chain restaurants. Not too dingy, but not too nice, Muldoons is a good place for a pint, just avoid the food.

Decor (3/5) - Typical Irish pub interior, bar in front, tables in back room, then a patio out back.

Crowd (4/5) - Mixed. Though the decor may not suggest a "dive" the hard lunchtime drinking' crowd is one part of the equation

Drinks (4/5) - The other part of the equation. Cheap beers. Not sure about well drinks, but it seemed like a reasonable place.

Dive Factor (3/5) - Too "nice" a decor, but the crowd a

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Botanica Bar Interior - PIC

Botanica Bar Interior
Originally uploaded by NYC Tom.

Friday, April 22, 2005


47 E Houston St
New York, NY 10012-2749
(212) 343-7251
Between Mulberry and Mott

Though the westerly address and the name hint of a trendy lounge, Botanica is a very down to earth place nestled between an environmentalist collective and an empty lot on Houston street. Pretty spacious, with booths, tables, and a great back room, the decor is "sturdy ramshackle" (not sure what that means). The set-up is a big draw, as there are three types of layouts in the one bar. In the front, tables and booths with high, faux leather benches. In the middle, round tables for groups, then something that looks like a fireplace, some more group seating with a lower height, and then the backroom, which looks like someone's social club for hipsters.

Decor (4/5) - Divish, vintage furniture, shaky tables and chairs, looks like everything was bought at the flea market

Crowd (3.5/5) - Hipsters and locals seemed to dominate on Thursday night, though I hear NYU kids come to the place on the weekend. Not a hard drinking crowd though, hence the knockdown from a 4.

Drinks (3/5) - Not the cheap, but not too bad. $3-5 beers (though there was a $2 bud light pint special). You can also get food from the "kitchen" (some unknown source of delivery).

Dive Factor (3.5/5) - Somewhat divey, but too enjoyable to get the true sense (friendly people and medium priced drinks take away from the dive factor but add the the good bar factor).

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Blue & Gold

Blue & Gold
79 E 7th St
New York, NY 10003-8158
7th and 1st Avenue
(212) 473-8918

What would a Dive discussion be without mention of the venerable Blue & Gold. Delighting NYU students and alcoholics for years, the basement level bar is a fine trip to your excursion to intoxication. The cheap ($3+ ) shots and beers, coupled with the famous #1 or #2 "Happy Meal" choice brings in a good mix of people. Drink in a booth or loiter around the pool table. Also, check out the board games on the table.

Decor (4/5) - Hackneyed description, but like a 70's rec room. Board games and pool table included. Bar as you come in, booth seating opposite. Then in the back a pool table. Above the bar is the hefty list of shots, and the happy list of prices.

Crowd (3/5) - On Saturdays, striped shirts and baseball caps in the earlier evening pre-gaming, more drunken hipsters as the night progresses. Over the week more low-key, a better time to go. On all nights mixed age, though leans toward college to post college (yes, that vague age group)

Drinks (5/5) - CHEAP! Beers $2.50+, shots $3+ and a "Happy Meal" or a beer and a shot for $5. Good selection to boot, this gets a solid alcohol rating.

Dive factor (3.5/5) - Looks like a dive, priced like a dive, but the happy lookin' clean cut kids who come here on weekends detract from the dive factor (i.e. unhappy drinkers drinking in squalor). Still, well worth a trip to sit about and drink without eating into your rent money, or to drink before wasting your rent money on $10 fill-in-the-blank-itinis

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Smokes at Rocky's

Smokes at Rocky's
Originally uploaded by NYC Tom.


International Bar

International Bar
120 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
Between 7th and 8th Street
(212) 777-9244

A true dive always leaves you wondering what type of disease you picked up there, and the International Bar obliges. Perhaps one of the last great dives in the East Village, International boasts a table with as many crags as the patron's memory.

Decor (4/5) - Anti-Bush, old vintage signs (not newly bought vintage, just old), dusty martini glasses make way for the more often used beer and mixed drink glasses. Dingy peanuts in the corner (that probably Jimmy Carter grew), inexplicable coasters advertising trips to Ryder's Cup - the place had few golf-looking fans.

Crowd (4/5) - Went on a Thursday, not empty not crowded, people just back from the film forum mixed with hipsters mixed with local drunks. The bartender was surly. The lack of scene was the scene.

Drinks (5/5) - Cheap and painful. Beers $2.50 - $4.50, shot prices hazy, but could buy 2 premium beers and 2 not premium shots for $16 (ok, that's $3.50 a shot). If you are into S&M the house shots are for you.

What is important to note was the quality of the jukebox. It had everything from country to classical to punk to hip new music &tc. Really one of the best in the city, and also a real draw.

Dive Factor (4/5) - The only reason it doesn't get a 5 is because people know its a dive, therefore softening the crowd. All in all a great bar.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Southside Lounge

Broadway bet. Wythe & Kent

decor: 3.5/5 ... small and cozy. i think there was a dj, but my memory is hazy.

crowd: 4/5 ... friendly and easygoing

drinks: 4/5 ... seemed to have a good beer selection, a little on the cheaper side, with good beer/shot type specials and good happy hour discounts

dive factor: 2.5/5 ... not really.

overall: 4/5 ... pleasant, friendly, not too loud ... probably a good end-of-the-night type place


Kent Ave. + S. 5th

The bartender told me this place was called Rocky's, but it seems to have a lot of names. you'll know it by the huge mermaid sculptures in the middle of the bar.

decor: 3/5 ... very spacious, high ceilings, pool table, little raised stage for a band ... kind of a warehouse feel overall

crowd: 3/5 ... almost totally empty but the few people there (who were all playing pool) seemed all right

drinks: 3/5 ... i really have no idea how to rate drinks, let's be honest

dive factor: 4/5

overall: 3.5/5 ... this place has some key ingredients of a dive: dark, mostly empty, located in a dicey neighborhood down by the river ... seems like it would be a great place to go see a band, or on a night when they have some kind of event (the bartender mentioned female mud-wrestling but i forget the dates) ... it's big enough and out of the way enough that i can't see it ever getting too crowded.

The Subway

Metropolitan & Union (right at the top of subway stairs)
(718) 218-7856

Stepped into this place to watch the massive & unexplained crowd of people across the street ... someone said maybe the L train broke down and they were waiting for a shuttle, but I never saw it. Other suggestions welcome.

Decor: 4/5 ... lots of cool subway signs & paraphernalia all over walls ... not a very divey effect, more like TGI Friday's, but still pretty cool. nice back room with pool table.

Drinks: 3/5 ... only had one beer, $5, nothing wrong with it

Crowd: 4/5 ... mixed and friendly

Dive factor: 3/5 ... points for being at the top of the subway stairs, but not very divey otherwise ... seems like despite its name we have yet to uncover many actual dives on this blog

Overall: 4/5 ... a solid bar. nice concept, not overdone, relaxed & friendly atmosphere.

Grand Central Bar

Grand St. bet. Manhattan + Leonard
(718) 387-5515

Not much to say about this one. Seems like it wasn't meant to be a dive, but it's becoming one because it's not really drawing a lot of visitors.

Decor: 3.5/5 ... interesting (read: creepy) art on walls, pool table, small raised stage for a band (no band) ... back room with couches seemed nice. TVs over the bar, tuned to sitcoms.

Crowd: 3/5 ... just one group of people discussing where else to go, plus a couple of older guys at the bar

Drinks: 2/5 ... standard selection of beers, standard pricing ... someone ordered jim beam or something else pretty common and they didn't have it, so that's a one point deduction.

Dive factor: 3.5/5

Overall: i actually liked this place. i think it would be great with a few more people. not sure when it would be busy though, if not on a friday night. let's say a good place to go with a group that can take over a section of it.

Pete's Candy Store

709 Lorimer St. (just above BQE)
(718) 302 - 3770

This place seems very popular, and I'm sure I'm the ten millionth person to review it on a blog, but here goes...

decor: 4/5 ... much-commented-on railroad car style room (where the bands play) is cool-looking but cramped. most of the points are for the large backyard area with smoking, which was much less crowded than the bar when i was there

music: 3.5/5 ... good band in the mopey neil young vein

crowd: 3/5 ... mostly young hipster types ... an awful lot of people seemed to be in the band that was going on next

drinks: 3/5 ... pretty typical ... beers $5, cheap shots

dive factor: 2/5

summary ... decent venue for music and worth seeing once, but a little cramped (on a friday night, at least) ... probably better on weeknights, and in the summer when backyard fills up and thins the crowd a little