Friday, July 15, 2005

Chinatown

Well, I know that I said I would be revisiting yesterday's bars and embellishing my descriptive narrative, but life does not always proceed as planned. The Mysterious Chinese Woman had a hankering for dim sum and invited me to join her. Well, what choice did I have? After feasting on such delicacies as duck's foot, spicy tripe, and curried squid she wiped her chin and disappeared in what looked to be a cloud of pink smoke, sticking me with the bill. I figured as long as I was in Chinatown anyway I would hit a few bars in the area.

655) Good World Bar & Grill



If you missed the sign, and it is easy to do, here is a closer look.



This isn't the easiest place to find, but well worth the effort. It is in the part of Chinatown not as popular, on the east side of the Bowery. Canal Street, the main drag through Chinatown, takes a bit of a hook under the Manhattan Bridge and if you just follow it for about six blocks you come to Orchard. Take a right and go to Number 3 and there you are. This is the perfect place if drinking under the baleful eye of a dead caribou is what you crave. I know, I know, originally I said this was a moose but I was wrong, as many people pointed out to me.

Anna, The Live Bartender, And The Dead Caribou


A black stone topped bar with unusually high, and I do mean high, black metal barstools with black cloth seats. I would hate to fall of one of these babies, but the bartender said it has happened. Light yellow and green painted plaster walls with significant chippage. An old dark pea-soup green painted tin ceiling with exposed pipes for the sprinklers and wiring conduits. Gives the place kind of a funky look. Old greenish white globe lights hang over the bar and the flooring is old wood. There is just a minimal setup behind the bar but they have a surprisingly large beer selection written in fading chalk on the green wall behind the bar. How about a Harvistouns Old Engine Oil from Scotland? Sounds yummy, doesn't it?

They also have a very extensive wine selection and interesting items on the menu such as a rabbit and fois gras terrine with blueberry pickled bok choy as an appetizer. The place is owned by Swedes so they have four kinds of aquavit available and you can buy it by the bottle for only ninety-five bucks. No lutefisk though. Thank goodness for little things. Anna said they would have it but it just smelled up the place to badly. I know for a fact that is true. My father loved lutefisk and I would flee the house on the few occasions my mother prepared it.

Little round tables with orange and yellow chrome and plastic chairs are strewn about the place. Low blank benches with black cushions line the wall opposite the bar and small square tables sit in front of it. There are floor to ceiling windows in the front and a neat little back yard with picnic tables for outdoor eating.

I had a draft Bolleke. This is an everyday beer in Antwerp, easy to drink, and not too bitter, the red-brown ale has almost a cinnamon spice hint to its flavor. Actually, a bolleke is a bell-shaped high-stemmed glass that is used in Antwerp to serve any highly-fermented beer but generally means the beer that I had, which is actually a De Koninck. And, yes, it was served in the appropriate glass.

656) Les Enfants Terribles



Not too far away at 37 Canal is this African/Morocan, Brazilian, French restaurant and bar with a kind of ugly and beat-up tan awning hanging out front. It has a small rectangular bar with a plastic top and a beat-up wooden front and a black foot rest. The barstools here of of the normal height and are black metal with black wooden seats. There are no fancy displays of liquor. In fact almost no display at all. Just a sink and a couple of ice-bins behind the bar and the liquor is in shelves out of sight below the bar. Eight bottles sit out next to a bucket holding half-a-dozen opened bottles of wine. Strange cylindrical lights that look like metal-clad illuminated hummingbird feeders hang above the bar. A little metal butterfly hung below one of the lights so that added to the affect.

The ambience did seem to capture a bit of the essenced of a colonial French bar somewhere well off the beaten path, enhanced by the interesting stuff sitting about.



There were little tables and a corner booth like table. There was sidewalk seating and door to window French-door like windows that were open wide to let in a cool breeze. Refreshingly cool after a brief shower.

I had a Pastis, similar to Pernod, on the rocks.

657) Winnie's



Back to the other side of the Bowery at 104 Bayard Street, between Baxter and Mulberry Streets. A great dive bar with a Chinese flavor to it. The bar top looks like simulated wood-grained Formica and there is a plywood front. Black and red tile foot rest and black metal bar chairs with red vinyl seats and backs. The booths lining the wall opposite the bar are covered with red vinyl as well. Stained glass lamps hang over the booths. The floor is red and black tiles.

Above the bar are red paper balls decorated with protruding gold Chinese characters. Behind these are illuminated stained glass panels. They have a decent liquor and wine selection behind the bar in front of mirrors decorated with pictures of regular customers. There are interesting curved rippled lights at each end of the shelves behind the bar and they give off a soft pink glow. There is a little Buddhist shrine with lights and unlit incense hanging on the wall opposite the bar.

They have a strange assortment of drinks, listed on a chalkboard behind the bar, for a dive. They include cocktails such as Crazy Devil and Farm Boy and shooters like Flamin' Dragon and Flatliner. Woo Woo, not for me. They have karaoke in the evening so I suspect the crowd changes dramatically from the old-timers that were nursing their drinks while I was in there.

I had a bottle of Tsing Tao.

658) Asia Roma



At 40 Mulberry in what used to be a part of Little Italy, is this fusion bar and restaurant. This place used to be named Antica Roma and was strictly Italian. Now it offers an Italian/Asian menu and there is a karaoke lounge in what used to be the Fireside Lounge. It is still a place worth visiting and it has the same old wood bar and, from the looks of it, the same old green vinyl covered chairs and stools. Old wood cabinets behind the bar frame mirrors. The mirrors at each end have glass shelves holding liquor and tiered shelves in front of the larger middle mirror hold more. A pig with flowers and two bobble-head geisha girls sit on top of the cabinets. Rippled globe lights hang over the bar. Yellowish tan wallpaper with a bamboo design on the walls.

There are interesting paintings of women in flapper era attire on the walls and a somewhat secluded back room. Track lighting over the tables against the wall opposite the bar. The tables sit in front of a green covered banquette.

The co-owner of the bar, Mei, was very pleasant and introduced me to the real brains of the operation, Angel.

Mei


Angel


I guess the fact that Angel plays such an important role in the operation it is not too surprising that most of the customers depicted in the pictures are, shall we say, dogs.





I had a Tanqueray and tonic and headed home.

A pleasant day and some interesting bars found, a few that I shall return to when time permits. Four bars for the day making 658 for the year and leaving 342 to go.

8 comments:

Bruce Carl said...

Looks like an Elk to me, but who cares, one bar animal is as good as another. Nice place.

1000 Bars said...

No, it is a moose. If you see the antlers from the side you could see how wide they are. If it was an elk it would have to have been the biggest one in the world.

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