Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Stroll Down (across) Old 18th

The weather was a bit on the chilly side, but a bit warmer than it has been the last few days. The sun was out as well and it was a very pleasant day. I decided to go back to my old neighborhood and hit a few favorites and some new places as well.

97) Old Town Bar & Restaurant

This place is just across the street and down the block from where I used to work so it is a place that I have been to many times in the past. It is on 18th street between Park Avenue South and Broadway. This place has been around since, they claim, 1892, and it looks it. The ceilings are high and quite ornate. Great memorabilia on the walls and an old-fashioned mosaic floor. It has a fairly long bar with an opening in the middle for the wait staff to enter and exit. The half of the bar toward the back is covered in marble and the front half is just a typical dark wooden bar. Everything in the place is old and worn and authentic.

There are several tables and booths and the place was packed. There is also an upstairs eating area and the kitchen is located up there. Behind the bar are a couple of old dumb-waiters, hand operated, to move the food from the kitchen to the downstairs area.

I had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

98) Lucy

Just down the block from the Old Town is this relatively new place. It has a nice bar covered with panes of muti-colored plastic and lit from below. It has a large open area with dark-wood and old roof-tiles as decoration. Quite a pleasant place with nice overhead lighting. Looked to be white muslin wraped around frames which covered the lights.

From the back of the bar you can access ABC Carpet, one of the few "carpet" stores that are worth the visit. All kinds of interesting stuff on display and for sale.

There was a nice seating area in front with coffee tables and sofas and comfortable looking chairs. Interesting art work on the walls too. Latin American music was playing and the bartenders were very nice. The place was pretty empty though, maybe it is more of a night place.

I had a Makers Mark Manhattan and a small taste of a Mojita cocktail.

99) America

Maybe the largest actual bar in New York. It is built on a platform in the back of a cavernous restaurant and is rectangular with the bartenders operating out of the middle. It is made out of what appears to be a pinkish marble (or granite). The restaurant features a small, somewhat sickly green, Statue of Liberty but the walls have interesting murals on them and there is a neat neon modernistic sculpture hanging from the ceiling.

Because the place is so huge, even though it was largely empty it is extremely loud. There is large skylight over the bar but the surrounding buildings don't allow much light.

I was the only person at the bar so the bartender was free to watch the television after serving me a Samuel Adams Winter Ale.

100) Devi

I hit the century mark at this place across the street from America. This place has an Indian motif and beautiful lamps, imported from India, I was told, hanging from the ceiling. The downstairs had little seating enclaves with curtains that could be pulled for privacy. There was also an upstairs eating area. The bar itself was small, only six seats, and had neat purple lights hanging over it.

The waiters were wearing what looked to be orange jumpsuits and looked for all the world like those worn by prisoners. I mentioned this to the bartender and he said I was the first one to make that comment. Go figure.

I had a Peachy Canyon Zinfandel

101) Chat and Chew

I was going to call it a day after 100 but just couldn't pass by this old favorite of mine on the corner of 16th between 5th Avenue and Union Square West. This place looks just like a restaurant that you might find if you were in a small town down south somewhere. Quite authentic looking even though you know it was well designed. It is a real comfortable place to chow down on some real southern comfort food. Although I didn't eat anything today, in the past their meatloaf has been delicious.

I had a Brooklyn Lager

102) Steak Frites

Right across the street, and owned by the same people, is this place. It tries to give the appearance of a French bistro, but doesn't pull it off quite as well as Chat n' Chew pulls of the Southern cafe concept. I was a bit loaded by this time so didn't stick around long.

I had a Brooklyn Lager and headed for the subway and home.

Woot, I broke the century mark and have had a drink in one more place then there were dalmations in that movie whose title I simply cannot remember.


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