Another pleasant day, although a bit blustery. I didn’t want to go too far so I headed to lower Tribeca. Just took the subway to Chambers Street and hopped off. Didn’t have to wander very far to find a large selection of bars. I think I am going to head back again tomorrow.
437) Mudville 9
Right on Chambers Street between West Broadway and Church Street. This place has a long, copper-topped wooden bar with a black and red checkerboard front and a black ledge for a foot rest. Cherry wood colored bar chairs with dark red vinyl seats and backs. The built in cabinets behind the bar have black doors with tiered gray shelves on top that hold the liquor and glasses. There were narrow mirror above the top shelves. Six televisions above the bar and at least another six around the rest of the place. The World Juggling Federation competition was showing on a couple of them and Toby Walker had just taken the lead in the Advanced Club division.
Pale orange walls with wood paneling going halfway. The ceiling was black and the floor was a somewhat faded turquoise and black checked tile. Lights in black cylindrical metal shades hanging from the ceiling keep the place pretty bright. Lots of sports related, mostly baseball, pictures on the walls along with a few framed mirrors. A friendly female bartender and a largely regular crowd. The bartender told an entertaining story about how she got into the business that involved someone passing out naked on the toilet.
Vova Galchenko just overtook Toby to win the hotly contested Advanced Club event and I had a draft Mudville Bock Beer.
438) Ecco, the Italian Saloon
An elegant Italian eatery just next door to Mudville 9. The front holds the good sized wooden bar with a half dozen wooden chairs with wine colored vinyl seats. A large black bowl-like vase at one end of the bar held a large, colorful bouquet of mixed flowers. Lovely dark wood cabinets behind the bar has shelves with glass doors, some drawers, and mirrors. The friendly female bartender told me it was imported from Austria and had been in a pharmacy there. This restaurant is about thirty years old but the cabinet was estimated to be between 150 and 200 years old. It really was very nice. The cabinet held a large selection of liquors and wine.
The wall behind the bar has a large booth-like bench with five tables in front and chairs on the other side. The tables are covered in white cloth tablecloths and the place settings were quite nice. Large mirrors that match the ones behind the bar line the dark cream colored wall. Above the mirrors are framed old playbills. This same decorative scheme is carried out in the small dining area in the back as well. Those same inverted mushroom shaped lights that remind me of the ones that you find in school rooms hang from the ceiling. The floor is a light tan and black mosaic tile with the tan tiles forming squares and the black tiles framing them. The ceiling and trim is ox blood.
The bartender was from Spain and when she found out that I was going there in the fall she gave me some useful suggestions regarding places to visit and sights to see. I had a very pleasant stay and had a nice Chianti, no fava beans.
439) The Patriot
At the other end of the fairly short block was this bar that was kind of at the opposite end of the spectrum from Ecco. It was a real honky tonk bar, but in a kind of a good way. The female bartender was about as hyper as you could imagine, singing, dancing, and whistling (very well too) along to the music while encouraging the customers to drink up. She was a fairly good job of it too, from what I could see. A group drinking shots of Jack Daniels and beers at two in the afternoon on a Monday always impresses me. I also liked the large crocodile riding a surf board with a bra in its mouth that hung from the ceiling.
There is a big old wooden bar with a black foot ledge. Mixed bar stools and chairs. There is a brick wall behind the bar with mirrors and shelves for bottles. One side wall looks like it was used by a painter to clean his brushes. Also, as you would expect in a bar named The Patriot, was a large American flag. A few skulls hung on the wall and from the old, wagon wheel lighting fixture that hung from the ceiling. One of the steer skulls sported a large set of elk horns. There is an upstairs area that I didn’t get a chance to see and a good selection of songs on the jukebox. Kind of a must-stop-in-to-see-it kind of place.
I had a draft Bass Ale and felt a bit conspicuous seeing as how everyone else seemed to be drinking bottles of Bud.
440) Mary Ann’s
On the corner of West Broadway and Reade Street is this Mexican restaurant and bar that, unfortunately, uses a margarita mix instead of fresh lime juice. A real turn-off for me. A dark wooden bar with a bit of a jot to it. The front is a weird metallic relief of some type that looked somewhat medieval to me. The floor and foot rest is Mexican tile. The walls are a dark orange wash. Mirrors and a fairly simple shelf behind the bar. The wall separating the kitchen and dining area had a turquoise and rust colored Aztec design relief. The ceiling was a dark bluish green tile with what looked like wood and cement beams. Nice hanging lights that had a Spanish look to them.
Now maybe I was sour on this place because of the lack of fresh lime juice, but this was another place where the female bartender was much more interested in talking to her two friends at the other end of the bar than paying attention to her customers. It looked like you were supposed to get a bowl of chips and salsa with your drink but only a half empty bowl of chips and no salsa was in front of me. No offer was made to refresh it or get me salsa. On the other hand, I did learn that the bartender’s friend was going to get her nails done and then they were going to get together later after the bartender got off of work at 5:00 P.M. She did ask me if I wanted another drink as I was getting up to leave though. Great timing.
I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.
Right across the street from Mary Ann’s is this kind of a combination of a Greek diner and bar. The bar top is dark wood inlaid with two lighter wood strips. It has a brass rail. The bar chairs are wooden with backs and they swivel. The ceiling looks like a wooden grate and has glass bulb lights, single and clustered, in wrought iron holders hanging from it. There is low wood paneling with white plaster above. Arched windows and doorway face Reade Street and there is a glassed-in dinning area on the West Broadway side. What I presume are Greek landscapes hand on the walls. There are two arched glass windows behind the bar above tiered shelves holding liquor and wine above more shelves holding more liquor and glasses.
I had a glass of some kind of red Greek wine that the bartender recommended. It was very good and I regret that I didn’t get the name.
Not a bad day with 441 bars for the year and 559 left to go.