Monday, July 18, 2005

Moving Up

I decided to take my act uptown a bit and explore the area around 86th Street. There are a lot of bars in this area and it is about time that I checked them out. It proved to be a fairly fun day and I will be going back for more in the near future.

Tomorrow I am meeting Sean Murphy, the creator of MURPHGUIDE.COM, an invaluable guide to bars in New York (you can find the link on this page).

664) Heidelberg

Between 85th and 86th Streets on 2nd at 1648 2nd Avenue is this classic German restaurant and beer. They have a good selection of draft German beers pulled from three white ceramic beer stations mounted on the old wooden bar with a brass rail. Dark wood bar chairs with black vinyl seats. Lots of glasses hang above the mirrors behind the bar. The cash register looks like a genuine antique. Two levels of shelves hold the liquor and there are red wood coolers with brown wood doors for the bottled beer. A larger set of shelves hold more liquor on one side of the coolers and shelves on the other side hold mugs ranging in size form pints to more than Bar Man could drink. No moose head (or elk head or caribou head, I have been getting a lot of email on just what kind of head was hanging on the wall at the Good World Bar & Grill) but there is a deer head. By the way, consensus of opinion is that it was a caribou head on the wall at Good World so I have updated my blog. Bar Man accepts constructive criticism (just not very well).

A Deer Head, I Do Believe

A trellis over the hanging glasses sports sun flowers and a model of a horse-drawn wagon loaded with wooden beer barrels. The wall opposite the bar has a partition with windows looking into the adjacent dining area. There are pictures of cocktails and one picture of a wine-bottle opener. There is a cozy little room in the back with a patterned banquette and tables with blue and white tablecloths. The ceiling in front is deep red and in the back it is more like a vine covered trellis. Beer steins ring the top of the walls in the back room. The room on the other side of the partitions has large pictures of landscapes and a shield and crossed swords hanging on the walls. There are little banquettes by the windows up front for sitting and having a drink while waiting for a table, or just to be cozy.

A few guys in here were drinking beers with shots of Jagermeister They weren’t kids either. We got to talking about Jagermeister and the guy, Sidney Frank, who made a fortune off of it and then made another fortune when he sold Grey Goose to Bacardi for about two billion dollars. The guy is quite a character and if you get a chance you should read up on him. He lives in New Rochelle, not far from where my brother-in-law lives. In a much larger house though.

I had a draft Spaten Munich lager.

665) Jackson Hole

It is a bit of a stretch to call this place at 1611 2nd Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets a bar, and if it wasn’t for the reasonably decent selection of beer behind the bar/lunch counter and the beer station with four spigots mounted on top of it I may have just passed it by. But hey, there was also a bright yellow neon light right in front of me that said “BAR” so who was I to argue.

It Really Is A Bar

Otherwise the place was pure diner, from the black Formica topped counter to the booths lining the walls. They also had those things in the booths and on the “bar” where you could select tunes from the jukebox. Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” just added to the ambience. I really wanted to order a hamburger and fries (no malt though, except what was in my beer) but there is a Mexican place down the street so I am going to wait to see if I can score some free chips with a margarita.

There is a small outdoor seating area in front. Kind of cool in a retro way. Women’s beach volleyball was playing on the television so I got to watch tall, bikini clad women working up a sweat while I cooled down with a beer. Doesn’t get much better then that.

I had a draft Boston Ale.

666) Mustang Grill

Welcome to the Upper East Side, 1633 2nd Avenue right on the corner of 85th Street, to be exact. Home of the $8.50 margaritas served in small brandy snifters. Aw well, the place seemed to be catering to a crowd that preferred the ping glop they were pumping out of the machines behind the bar. Kind of a shame because it looks like they have about a hundred different kinds of tequilas here. I did get my chips and salsa though, and the margarita was actually quite good.

They have an interesting décor that would make this place worth a look-see. Pyramid shaped tin shaded lights that had punched out designs hung above the bar and these are draped with red jalapeno lights. A steer skull draped with Mardi Gras beads peered down at me from behind the bar. It sat above illuminated Lucite shelves in front of mirrors. Banquettes against the walls have vinyl backs with cowhide designs on the backs. Uber tacky, but somehow so right. Brick walls opposite the bar and mostly dusty rose, pale green, and yellowish orange paint everywhere else. Large mirrors, most ringed with more of those jalapeno lights, list the available tequilas (or at least some of them), margarita specials, and beers. There is a decent plasma television at each end of the bar and two more on the opposite wall. Not a bad place and the salsa was very good. The numerous “No Dancing” signs and the disco lights mounted on the ceiling leads me to believe that there is, indeed dancing.

I had a margarita, up, with a salted rim.

667) The Back Page

At 1472 3rd Avenue at 83rd Street is this sports bar with seven televisions that I can see from my barstool and two more large screen televisions in the back. Nice long wooden bar with a brass rail and wooden chairs. Nothing fancy and the only disturbing thin was the large Texas Longhorn’s banner above a Yankees emblem. It could have been worse, I initially thought the Longhorns banner was one for the Chicago Bulls.

Nothing too fancy about this place. Pretty much a functional, stop in, have some drinks, watch the games kind of place. Nothing wrong with that though. New York sports team pictures on the wall opposite the bar, but not over done. A large replica of the scoreboard showing the Yankees Leading Boston 5 to 4 at the bottom of the ninth with two outs dominates part of the wall opposite the bar.

This was the October 2nd one game playoff on October 2nd, 1978 that the Yankees won and in which Bucky Dent hit his famous homer.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.

668) Carlow East

On the way back to the subway at 1254 Lexington Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets is what appears to be an old Irish pub that remodeled extensively hoping to attract a more upscale crowd but somehow failed. Maybe things change at night but at 3:00 P.M. it has a pretty grizzled crowd. If it wasn’t for my loud shirt and camera, Bar Man would have fit right in. There is an old wood bar that looks original and with a foot rest and bar chairs with green vinyl seats. A couple of brass beer stations with half a dozen spigots on each sit on top of the bar. Stained glass light shades with a dragon fly pattern hang above the bar. Little Chinese lanterns (did the Mysterious Chinese Lady get here before me and decorate) hang above the large mirrors behind the bar. A nice selection of liquors sit on glass shelves in front of two of the three mirrors and a tiered shelf in front of the center mirror. Metal ice chests behind the bar keep the bottled beer cold.

Three decent plasma televisions in the back and one up front at one end of the bar. I would have enjoyed my stay a bit more if the guy next to me didn’t have this phlegmy cough. Luckily he had to step outside for a cigarette a few times so I did have some peace. The bartender was a very pleasant fellow.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.


john massengale said...

Carlow East is around the corner from my apartment, and they sell $3 Sam Adams, so I've been watching some Yankee games there. Unfortunately, they have a grumpy white-haired Irish bartender who's there a couple of nights a week, and I can't take him anymore. The other nights the Sam Adams is a good deal.

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