Wednesday, June 29, 2005


My resolve was much better today and, besides, I had already stopped into most of the bars on the way to:

598) Chelsea Brewing Company

This place has an English pub combined with a brewery feel to it, appropriately enough. Not just a cute pseudo-brew pub look.

No offense Heartland, your beer is fine, but you are no longer a brew pub and shouldn’t continue to pretend that you are. Anyway, this place has a nice wood topped bar with a wood paneled front. Flags of various nations are painted on each panel. Big copper tanks are behind the bar, and these aren’t just for show. There is a blue tile wall between the tanks and various awards that the brewery has won are displayed there. There is also a chalkboard listing the available beers. A small shelf holds their liquor supply and there are a couple of machines churning frozen drinks. If you come here, though, you really should be coming for the beer. It is excellent and as fresh as you can get it.

There is lots of dining space both downstairs and upstairs as well as outside tables right next to the marina. On a nice summer day like now (rain is predicted for later) you can easily forget you are anywhere close to Manhattan. The bartender was very friendly and I had a chance to chat with the head brewer, Chris Sheehan, who was sampling some of his handiwork at the bar.

I had a Henry Hudson IPA, a fairly stout 7.4% alcohol content, and that was a good start to the day.

Another non-bar. I went next door to the bowling alley and walked upstairs to the AMF Legends bar.

The lights were on, the televisions were on, the doors were unlocked but, nobody home. I wandered around a bit, contemplated how much trouble I might get in if I simply poured myself a drink, thought better of it (I am getting old) and left.

599) Jason’s Riverside Grill

Kind of a beachside restaurant and grill looking place with peach walls and turquoise trim. But hey, a bar is a bar and after the trauma of the bowling alley I needed a drink to steady my shattered nerves. Actually a nice hammered copper topped bar with a stone block front. It would be a really neat bar if it didn’t kind of curve around to a walk-up fast food counter. Oh well, you can’t have everything. Neat black rimmed dome lights hang from the ceiling. The wall of windows has pink tablecloth covered tables on the inside and turquoise and pink picnic benches outside. Again, it all looks out on the marina so it is quite pleasant.

Not much behind the bar, just a couple of glass shelves holding a small liquor selection, beers, and wine. There is a black cooler with glasses on top and another one with glass doors holding their beer. They have a little cooler, like the ones that usually hold Red Bull, but this one held bottles of Grolsch, the bottles with the ceramic tops. Kind of cool, I probably should have had one. For happy hour you can get a bucket of five bottles of Rolling Rock beer for twenty bucks. Let’s see, that is only four bucks a bottle. Such a deal, I think not. Just walk down a bit and have a really good beer at Chelsea Brewing Company.

They had a nice plasma television on the wall to the right of the bar with a soccer game that seemed to be holding the attention of most of the staff. It was Brazil versus Argentina and, believe it or not, the score was tied. Go figure.

I had a draft Sam Adams Boston Lager.

600) The Half King

A great older bar at 505 West 23rd with most friendly bartenders, Kate and Jaimee.

They gave me a few suggestions for bars to visit in Williamsburg where I plan on hitting my 750th bar, Duffs. Rumor has it that this place is owned by Sebastian Junger, the author of The Perfect Storm. It is a narrow place that also has seating on the sidewalk in front and an outdoor “garden” area in the back. The bar itself is a classic old worn wood affair with a wooden slat front and an old wooden footrest. The bar chairs are black with fabric seats. Kind of a smeary orange wall behind the bar with pictures of ducks done in a somewhat Asian style. There were also a couple of primitive looking shanks, or throwing knives, stuck into the sides of the wooden shelves holding wine and beer bottles. Copper shaded lights hang over the bar. They have a decent selection of beers, both draft and in bottles.

Booths line the light tan cement wall opposite the bar. Rustic wood paned windows look into another dining room next door. Little lamps hang over the booths. Not a bad place at all to mark my 600th bar.

601) Kashiwa

Heading east on 23rd to the subway home I passed Kashiwa at 300 West 23rd. I figured I would stop in for a bit of a change of pace. I didn't manage to get a picture of the outside of this place because it had started to rain when I got there and was still raining when I left. This is a Japanese restaurant with both a sushi bar and a regular bar. Not too unusual, Nice little shiny wooden topped bar with a lighter wooden front and a silver bar rail. Comfortable wooden bar chairs with padded maroon vinyl seats. Behind the bar is a 5 by 12 set of square wooden shelves that hold bottles of sake, wine, fans, bamboo in ceramic bowls, little statues, and lanterns.

A very mellow place and the sake helped contribute to the overall sense of well being. Kenny G is playing in the background and the rain is starting to come down hard, but I get to watch it through large windows, kind of a pleasant effect.

The lights above the bar are just sake bottles with the bottoms cut out and a light bulb inside with the wire coming out the top. Kind of cool. I will discuss this decorating tip with the Mysterious Chinese Woman who isn’t here to see the simplicity and beauty. The interior is done up pretty much in beige with light colored wood floors. Lots of tables for eating and overhead there are small globe lights in wooden box-like frames. Luckily I am just steps from the subway so if the rain doesn’t let up I can just bolt for it and head home. It is really pouring out now.

I had a Hitorimusume (Only One Daughter) ‘sayaka.’ I am really starting to like a good chilled sake, and this was a good one. The rain slacked off a bit and I made it to the subway staying relatively dry. By the time I got to Brooklyn it had stopped. Lucky me, lucky day.

Four for the day and I broke the 600 mark making 601 for the year and leaving 399 to go.


Matt said...

Do you prefer the smaller brewery beers, or the brand name labels available?

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