One of the readers of my blog, Allen, was coming down to the Yankees game today with a busload of fans. They rent a bus to make a day of it and before the game stop to visit the gravesites of Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig, and Billy Martin. They are buried in side by side cemeteries north of Manhattan in the towns of Valhalla and Hawthorne. Kind of a nice gesture. We won’t make any jokes about how Billy Martin died sliding into home. Anyway, I was going to hook up with these guys and gals before the game but the bus had a bit of an accident and needed to be towed out of a ditch. As a result I didn’t get a chance to hook up until I got to the game itself.
757) Yankee Tavern
Located on the corner at 72 161st Street is the place where I was supposed to meet everyone. Luckily Allen had the foresight to mail me the ticket so I was pretty well set. Well, I am here and so is a bar so of course I had a drink. I can’t quite pound them down like the rest of the fans in here, I am not in their league. Pretty much beers and shots being consumed at a rapid enough pace to insure a good buzz that will last through the game and thus avoid having to pay for beers inside the stadium.
The bar has a blue vinyl top and front with light wood trim. The footrest is small blue tiles and matches the blue of the blue and white tiled floor. There are four beer stations pumping out the beer and the bartenders were being kept quite busy. Mirrors and shelves behind the bar. The shelves hold liquor and there are even some racks with glasses but, aside from the shots, everything is served in plastic.
No surprise that the walls are plastered with Yankee memorabilia. There are three good-sized televisions behind the bar tuned to the consolation game of the Little League World Series. Vista, California is currently beating Ciba, Japan. The other smaller television is tuned to an old Ali fight. The wall opposite the bar has a ledge for drinks and is being put to good use by the standing room only crowd. There are large overhead fans that alternate with large flying-saucer like lights. There is also a large back dining area but I didn’t make it there. The crowd is starting to thin out a bit as it gets closer to game time but I think I can squeeze in, if I can squeeze into, one more bar.
I had a draft Bass Ale.
758) Billy’s Sports Bar
Well, I didn’t have to worry about squeezing in here; it was pretty empty even though it is just a few Yankees souvenir stores down the street towards the stadium. This place was almost empty. It might be partly due to the fact that the game is about to start or perhaps because they charge ten bucks for a small gin and tonic served in a plastic glass. They only had Bombay gin too, either Sapphire or regular.
The bar has a nice planked wood top and paneled front, but no stools or footrest of any kind. There were three nice televisions behind the bar where you could, perhaps, watch the game, but you would have to stand for the whole thing. Not my idea of fun, but then I am getting old. The whole place is quite new looking and although there are a few pictures of Yankees players it isn’t really jammed with Yankees memorabilia. The walls are brick and the wall opposite the bar is lined with tables and chairs and, I suppose, you could sit there and watch the game but you are quite a ways away from the televisions behind the bar. There is a fairly large back room and there are more, smaller televisions around the place but none with real good sight lines from anywhere you might sit. Kind of a strange layout for a sports bar and a bit out of place compared to all the others around here.
The game has now started and thinking I have missed most of the crowd I headed out after drinking a Bombay gin and tonic.
Well, it turns out I didn’t really miss the crowd, more like a ran into an angry mob.
Apparently the scanners that they use on your tickets weren’t working so they weren’t letting anyone into the stadium even though the game had already started. As you might imagine, this did not really set well with a crowd, at least some of whom, were pretty well liquored up. Luckily the problem was corrected in about ten minutes so things didn’t progress beyond the shouting stage. Of course I ended up behind someone with two kids that wanted to hold one of them on his lap so didn’t have a ticket for him. This does not work. He had to debate the issue for several minutes before security was called and he was convinced he needed to leave the line and buy another ticket.
I did finally get to my seat but Allen wasn’t there yet. Several of his crowd were though and they recognized me so we chatted a bit and Allen arrived soon after. Being a man after my own heart he also decided that arriving late and not hooking up with me was no reason not to stop for a drink or two.
We did have a couple of beers at the game, one of which was served up by the effervescent Tany.
Bar Man, Effervescent Tany, and Allen
759) Stan’s Sports Bar & Restaurant
After the game Allen and I headed right across the street from the stadium and wedged our way into this packed place. Now this is a sports bar. The top of the bar is covered with old faded color pictures of Yankees greats protected by glass and the every inch of the paneled walls are covered with pictures of Yankees and memorabilia. The place was too crowded to see much but the bar is a very large rectangle with the liquor, beer, and bartenders in the middle. Everybody in here was whooping it up because the Yankees had just slaughtered the Royals and Giambi had one hell of a day. He had been in a bit of a slump but broke out of it with two homeruns and drove in seven runs. He got his 1000th RBI and 1500th career hit in the game so if you were a Giambi fan it was a great day.
Stan’s achieved a bit of notoriety some time ago when someone, after drinking there, managed to find himself on the subway tracks and lost both of his legs to an oncoming train. Needless to say there was a major lawsuit involving both the city and Stan’s. I am not sure how it turned out though.
Bar Man, Allen, And New Friends
Things just weren’t working out quite as planned with Allen and me. After failing to hook up before the game he got a call on his cell phone while we were in here with the news that one of his crew had fallen on the way out of the stadium and required emergency medical attention. He had to leave and help take care of the situation because he was the leader of the pack. I hope we have a chance to hook up again, it was a blast hanging with him.
Ah well, I had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and drank it out of the bottle like everyone else in here was doing.
760) Stadium Billy’s Sports Bar
This place is also right across from the stadium and, as it turns out, is connected in the back though a passageway to the other Billy’s Sports Bar. This has a totally different feel to it and is certainly the original with the other one being added later. The one thing that they do have in common though is no seats at the bar. My bet is that this place, at least, gets so crowded that they would just take up much needed room. Kind of just a no frills wooden bar with a few tables and chairs strewn about. Before the game there was a very large guy sitting just inside scalping tickets and the place was pretty emptied out (the game had started). Afterwards it was jammed. There are a few Yankees pictures and stuff on the wall but this is more of a dive bar than a sports bar, in my opinion. Still, not a bad place to wedge yourself into for an after the game libation.
I had a bottle of Budweiser.
761) Ball Park Sports Bar & Grill
Well here you have it all, a bar, a souvenir shop, and a bowling alley all across the street from Yankees Stadium and all in one building. Quite a decent bowling alley too, a fair number of lanes on one side and a little four lane set-up across from them. It was doing a nice business too. The bar was separated from the bowling alley by the souvenir shop that had a large sidewalk presence and seemed to be the place to buy stuff after the game.
Nothing on tap but bottles seem to be the way to go. Kind of recreation room look to the bar with chrome-plated bar stools. Nothing fancy here and not even too much sports related, unless you hit the souvenir shop. Actually, this bar would have been more appropriately located in the bowling area.
I had one last bottle of Budweiser before the long ride home. In a better world I would just be able to hop the 4 train and end up just a few blocks from home. But, this is New York. The 4 train was not running all the way into Brooklyn so I had to transfer to the D train and then switch again to the A train. I had to take a similarly convoluted path to get to the game as well. Ah well, all is well that ends well.
A very nice day indeed, great game, great people, and five bars hit. Kind of like shooting fish in a barrel though, they were all on a single block and nothing goes better with a ballgame then dumping down a few beers (and one expensive gin and tonic). Total for the year is now 761 and 239 to go. I am going to have to force myself to slow down to avoid hitting number 777 before September 12th.