Saturday, August 13, 2005

Buzzed In The Bronx

A reader of my blog, who I had met briefly once before at Siberia, invited me up to his neighborhood in The Bronx to visit a few bars and have dinner. I did and had a great time. I am going to head up there again one day in the not too distant future because there certainly are plenty of bars. We might have even hit a couple more today if it hadn’t been so hot and humid. One we missed was up 100 steps so we decided to postpone that one for a cooler day. Large Irish community here so there is a heavy concentration of Irish bars.

736) J.C. Mac’s

You just take the #1 Subway to 238th Street, the second to the last stop in The Bronx, and head East about half a block to this neighborhood Irish bar, the likes of which you see less and less in Manhattan but seem plentiful enough in this neighborhood. If you need an address it is 222 West 238th Street. This is a serious dart bar and they have a trophy case full of trophies to prove the point. There is also a pool table in the back. They were serving free food but I wasn’t too hungry so I didn’t check it out. It was here that I met Damian, my guide for the day. He introduced me to Pat, the bartender, who was a bit of a character and a lot of fun.

Damian, Pat, and Bar Man

It turned out that Pat was a Vikings fan (Bar Man is originally from Minnesota) and showed me his tattoo to prove it.

He said that when he was just a baby someone gave him toy Vikings that he had in his crib with him and he has been a Vikings fan ever since. Kind of hard for me to imagine this guy ever being in diapers and in a crib though. He also reads my blog and had bought a bottle of Tanqueray just for the occasion. However, I was really thirsty after the song subway ride so passed on that for the time being.

Pretty much a typical Irish bar setup, old wooden bar, bar chairs, and lots of bottles behind the bar along all kinds of stuff posted about bar activities. You need to check it out. There are also a few televisions with sports and horseracing showing. The place was doing a decent business and everyone in there was most friendly. Damian is a regular and Pat is a friend of his. A fellow, whose name I forgot, came in with his dog, whose name I remember (Shadow) and said hello. Apparently he was the first one in this crowd to have discovered my website. Damian’s wife popped in with their little son, Eamon, to say hello. A good time was being had by all but we had work to do and places to go.

I had a Magner’s Irish Cider.

737) Goal Posts

Didn’t have to move too far to get to this place, just down a couple of doors from J.C. Mac’s. Pretty much the same setup but their trophy case contained mostly softball and football trophies. They also had a pool table in the back and dartboards. A deer head hung on the wall (I should have taken a picture). The bar was the standard old beat-up wooden affair and there were non-working beer spigots, only bottled beers were available. They had a half dozen televisions showing sports. Aside from the Coors Light banners hanging form the overhang above the bar the primary decoration were the montages of customers hanging on the walls. They also had a bunch of boxes of wine behind the bar but I passed on that.

I had a bottle of Heineken.

738) The Punch Bowl

Just down at the end of the block and very convenient to public transportation

was this good-sized, I know this is going to be hard to believe, Irish bar. This place also has an old wood bar, foot rest, and black bar chairs. There was a little nook opposite the bar that had small butcher-block tables and a bull-fight poster on the wall. There was a pool table in the back with green lights hanging over it. They also had, of course, dart boards. Pretty much the same décor as Goal Posts but their banners were for Corona Extra. Kind of half-globe white lights hung from the overhang. They did have a very nice, ornate, dark brown ceiling though and fans, each with three tulip shaped lights hung from it.

The bartender, Kevin, was most accommodating and poured a great Guinness.

Kevin, The Accomodating And Skilled Bartender

He generously allowed Damian and me to come behind the bar to have our picture taken.

Kevin, Bar Man, And Damian

It was my turn to pop for the round and I inadvertently walked out without paying. Luckily we didn’t go far. We actually headed back to J.C. Mac’s to hook up with Pat to go out for dinner and, of course, to crack the bottle of Tanqueray. I ran back to The Punch Bowl and apologized for not paying but the bartender said the drinks were on him. I did, however, leave a generous tip and felt somewhat embarrassed about my gaffe.

I had a well poured Guinness.

739) Jake’s Steakhouse

After having a couple of Tanqueray and tonics back at J.C. Mac’s we all piled into a cab for the short ride to Jake’s Steakhouse. Right by the last subway stop on the #1 Subway. is this classy multi-floored steakhouse. There was a real nice bar setup and the place was fairly packed. Cowboy pictures on the walls and booths on the main floor. There were a couple of flat-screen televisions and the lights hanging from the ceiling were somewhat reminiscent of lanterns with yellowish orange glass panels. The upstairs dining areas are very nice and large windows look over Van Cortlandt Park. Now this is a very large park, 1146 Acres, complete with a golf course. Another friend, Carmel, joined us for dinner and the food was great. I had a flank-steak in a pepper sauce and it was delicious, thicker than some porterhouse steaks that I have had. Scallops seemed to be popular with several of the others and they looked good as well.

We had a great time that started with a Bombay martini at the bar made in individual shakers (Damian had one as well) by Chris, the affable bartender.

Chris, The Bartender, A Real Shaker

740) Dorney & Malone's Tavern

The Gang, Pat, Damian, Carmel, and The Mysterious Chinese Woman

A sports themed bar with posters and pennants from every New York team hanging on the wall someplace. The bar was dark wood and there were chalk-boards behind it listing the beers. Plenty of liquor behind the bar and a few beers on draft. But, at this time of night, it was no time for beer. This was the last stop before hitting the subway home and because we were all laughing and talking and having a jolly old time I didn’t get a chance to take a lot of notes. Suffice it to say that the bartender, Michele, poured a decent drink and was a most pleasant person.

Michele, She Of The Decent Drink

The place was doing a nice business and after quaffing a few drinks Bar Man and The Mysterious Chinese woman toddled of into the night.

I had a couple of Tanqueray and tonics.

I had a most enjoyable day and met some very nice people. The Bronx is a bit out of Bar Man's normal range, a good hour away by subway from where I live, but the trip was well worth it. I will be back and I want to say thanks so much to everyone who made this a most pleasant visit. I am looking forward to seeing Pat at Friday's Jets/Vikings game (you know where to find us).


Rochester Bar Man said...

I thought if you ate dinner at a bar it didn't count, no? I mean they're your rules, you can do what you want, but I thought that's what I read somewhere.

1000 Bars said...

My rule is that I don't count a restaurant unless I have a drink at the bar. Simply having a drink with my meal wouldn't count. We did have a drink at the bar before sitting down for dinner.

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Bar Man are there Vegas bets on the table? Something tells me that our gambling friends in Nevada are missing the boat if they don't lay odd's and a date and the number of drinks total and....the list goes on...JW

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drod said...

Hey Barman
I'm from 238th st and I appreciate someone finally writing something nice about the Bronx. While I have frequented those bars on more than a few occasions you missed the really good ones in the neighborhood like Pipers Kilt or Randal Ogs, and if you want to see some real Irish bars go to Katonah Ave where there are about 10 bars in two blocks or (one block north) McLean where there are 20 bars in six blocks.
Keep up the good work though,

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