Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Assault On Astor

I decided to head back to Astor Place and hit a couple of bars that I had walked by yesterday. I got off to a late start and these were all close to the subway stop so it was an easy jaunt.

730) Virage

Kind of a cluttered bar, empty coffee cups and glasses with the remnants of drinks and fruit slices sat on top. There was someone at the end of the bar taking pictures of the coffee cups when I arrived and then she took pictures of the empty glasses too. It turns out she was doing a photo-shoot of some kind because as soon as she left the bar was quickly cleaned up.

The location is convenient, 118 2nd Avenue at the corner of 7th Street. The bar is fairly small and shaped like a truncated V. It is wood and does have a brass rail. The bar chairs are wooden with red vinyl seats and backs. Behind the bar is a large mirror with glass shelves mounted on it on black wrought braces. Not an overly large collection of liquor, but maybe there is more out of sight someplace. To the left of the mirror is a nook with a shelf above a refrigeration unit and a tiered shelf holding a few more bottles of liquor. Above that is a shelf mounted on the wall that held glasses and there was a wine storage area above that. A brass beer station with six spigots sat on the bar and next to that was a coffee machine and an espresso machine. The lights above the bar looked like little pale orange fezzes with narrow darker orange and brown stripes at the top and bottom.

The walls are mostly brick with floor to ceiling windows on two sides. Interesting, somewhat gothic looking, pictures hang on the walls. They featured letters of the alphabet with a corresponding picture, V for Villain, R for Robber, and my favorite, I for Idiot are a couple of examples. Two large mirrors with their wine offerings hang on the side wall. Green benches along one wall and benches, black and white rattan-like chairs, and small square tables throughout the rest of the place. There is a small chandelier and a couple of orange and pink lights hanging from the ceiling over the dining area. The floor is black and white square mosaic. There is outdoor seating on the sidewalk under large awnings and they are open 24 hours a day The buzz on the Mediterranean style food is good.

I had a draft Brooklyn Lager.

731) Via Della Pace

Right across at 48 East 7th Street is this cozy little Italian restaurant with a small green marble-topped bar with a wood paneled front. Just plain brown bar chairs. A large jug of sangria sat on the bar and I got a taste of it. Actually, the bartender gave me an entire glass of it. It was good too. She said the guy who makes it is from Mexico so he makes it Mexican style, not Italian style. She confided to me that that basically means he laces it with vodka. Sitting behind the bar is a kind of country looking set of wooden shelves holding the liquor and glasses. Wooden shelves against a brick wall held wine bottles, decanters, and flat-bottomed flagons. Old wood floors contributed to the little place in the Italian countryside feel. Little green and purple shaded lights hang above the bar.

There were green cushioned benches up against the windows and kind of swollen orange tube shaped lives hang above them. A narrow panel of a greenish landscape ran around the place just below the ceiling.

I got into a very pleasant conversation with the bartender, Maggie, who was from Poland and a customer who was drinking a bottle of wine and was headed to Seattle where he was going to be a bass player in their orchestra. Bar Man used to play bass in high school but has a tin ear. We talked about the wine and he raved about how good it was so Maggie poured me a glass of that to taste as well. Then she topped of the glass of wine that I ordered.

Maggie, The Very Friendly And Very Generous Bartender

I had a wonderful time and would recommend it to anyone.

The wine that I ordered was Moscato D’Asti Patrizi and it was very good. A bit sparkly and quite sweet. The sample that I was given was a Gavi of some sort but I forgot to write down the name. It was quite good but I would need to try it again before having the sweeter stuff.

732) Continental

Right across the street from the Astor Place subway station at 25 3rd Avenue is this mini-version of CBGB, and it draws just about the same crowd and musicians. Just about everyone from Blondie to Iggy Pop has played there and the top of the walls are lined with signed black and white pictures, taken on the premises, of the various artists. There are booths along the wall opposite the bar and a stage in the back with a large, standing room only area. You can buy professional quality earplugs at the bar for a buck so one can only imagine how loud it gets in here. The walls, and everything else in here, is painted black. The hallway and bathroom doors had their own look, as did the bathrooms themselves.

The crowd is largely young, hip, tattooed and pierced. I couldn’t have looked more out of place if I was carrying an accordion. But I didn’t look as out of place as the middle-aged guy in a suit and tie that wondered in and ordered a beer and a shot of Jameson’s. If not his appearance, just ordering a single shot made him stand out. Jagermeister was three shots for five dollars and just about everything else was five shots for ten dollars. In the short time that I was there I saw one guy order and quickly down six shots of Jagermeister and another guy order and down five shots of Jack Daniels. This is no place for amateurs. It was only a bit after 5:00 P.M. but I guarantee you this crowd didn’t just come from work. The bartender was quite attractive in a Morticia kind of way. She didn’t want her picture taken though, the flash probably would have turned her to dust. But hey, I liked the place.

I had a bottle of Bass Ale

A nice little three bar day bringing the total for the year to 732 and leaving 268 more for the year and only 17 until number 750 at Duffs.

More Fun At Duffs


NYOne said...

Hey there Bar Man! I was all set to join the party at Duffs on the 20th, but an 80th-birthday party for the lovely lady who will, in a year, be my grandmother-in-law came up on that day. I'm sure you will have a rockin' time! I read your posts faithfully and hope to join you at the end of the year for what's sure to be the social highlight of the bar hopping season: Number 1000.

1000 Bars said...

Well, you certainly can't be expected to skip your future grandmother-in-law's eightieth, but I suspect it just won't be the same.

josh williams said...

Not able to make Duffs (Baby needs news shoes,socks and food) but the 1,000th should be quite a doins'. JW

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