I decided to take a swing through the East Village this afternoon. Got to love this place, always something happening. I ran into the Drop Dead Festival.
There was a parade around Thomkins Square Park and all sorts of booths inside the park along with a stage and live entertainment. I took a quick walk through the park but, of course, I had other things on my mind.
Just a wine and beer bar so far but with plans to add liquor sometime in October when their license is approved. It is located on the corner of Avenue B and 11th Street. The half dozen beers that they carried were all a bit off the beaten track, except for the Sam Adams Lager. Only a half dozen wooden stools at the bar that had a black textured vinyl top and a wood front. Mirrors behind the bar with metal shelves in front held the glasses, a few wine bottles, and carafes, some with very narrow necks. A recessed blackboard in a corner to the left of the bar listed the beers and food specials. Deep fried pickles and sweetbread poppers caught my eye. Maybe another time. There is a narrow shelf above the bar that holds jars of what looked to be homemade pickled vegetables. Jars of fruit and baskets of lemon and a major juicer leads me to believe that they will make excellent margaritas when they get their liquor license.
I talked to James, the bartender, quite a bit about bars, and drinks and such.
James, The Bartender That Thinks Like Bar Man
He was telling me about a real funky bar in San Francisco and I was telling him about some of the more unusual ones that I have come across, Trailer Park and Doc Holliday’s being a couple of them. We, of course, got around to talking about drinks and how they should be made. He is also a firm believer in the use of fresh juices in drinks. Although they only have wine and beer now he described some of the champagne cocktails they made and they sounded great. I will have to drop by again one day.
There are floor to ceiling windows on one wall and half of another. Exposed brick on most of the other two sides, the part in front of the bar itself. Lime and white walls from the bar back. A large picture of a brown egg on a white plate dominates the brick wall without a window. There are a number of tables and chairs with tables in the center of the fairly small dining area and benches with green upholstery with tables and chairs in front of them completes the picture. There are also tables and chairs under large green awnings for some sidewalk dining.
I had a Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout and then, because I was busy chatting with James, had a G Schneider & Sohn Adventinus Wheat Doppelbock that was quite good with strong clove overtones.
Just a couple of doors down is this really, at first glance, tiny restaurant that appears to be one third kitchen. I found out that there is a larger dining are tucked in the back and to the side out of sight of the bar. The place was bustling for an early Saturday afternoon. The bar is a small L shaped affair with the leg towards the door having a rough wood top and a log-cabin like front. The other leg has more of a smooth grey concrete top and front. Rough wood plank shelves in front of mirrors hold a most impressive collection of tequilas. I stopped counting when I got to fifty.
The bar chairs are wood with kind of a pastel wash in yellow, pink, orange, and cream. The very low backs almost makes them look like kiddy seats. The walls are primarily tan textured adobe-like cement and the ceiling is kind of a lattice-work over the bar, shake siding in front, and bamboo in back. Cement benches line one wall with tables and chairs in front and tables and chairs line the opposite wall. The part up front is one of the narrowest restaurants that I have ever seen. The kitchen area is surrounded by low wall with a diamond shaped mosaic pattern. You can see the heads of the six Mexican cooks busily at work so there were probably a lot of people in the back dining area too.
I don’t know what the food is like although from the number of people eating there I can only imagine that it would be good. The margarita was dynamite, just the way that I like them. They added a touch of fresh orange juice and that is how I make them myself.
I had the aforementioned margarita and just barely managed to restrain myself from having another.
756) Nopal Del Este
Ah, the reason you all read this blog, the arcane information that can, on rare occasion, be gleaned from these pages. Nopal Del Este is one of the common names of Opuntia Humifusa, a member of the cactus family that is also known as Devil’s Tongue.
In this case though it is the name of a restaurant and bar at 210 Avenue C. This place is as large as the last one appeared to be small, and made to look even larger by the judicious use of mirrors. The top of the bar is black marble and the foot rest matches. The front of the bar is tan cement blocks. There was a basket of cacti sitting on the bar but, alas, I cannot tell you if they were Opuntia Humifusa. One can only hope. Thirteen bar chairs with black vinyl seats ring the bar. Small ornate stained glass lights hang over the bar from the tan wash ceiling. An arch over mirrors behind the bar with pink illuminated tiered shelves hold the liquor. Two frozen drink machines churn merrily in the middle. There is also a metal chest full of beer and ice behind the bar.
The walls are orange with wood trim and there are large windows on the wall opposite the bar. The tables with orange and white tablecloths are semi separated from the bar by pulled back gauzy orange curtains. The same type of lights that hang over the bar hang over the rest of the place as well. A large mosaic of an Aztec or Mayan temple occupies most of the brick wall back towards the kitchen. There are a few brass Mexican style masks hanging on the walls but nothing overdone. There were a couple of large speakers towards the back and Jaisa, the bartender, said they have live music some evenings.
I got a basket of chips and salsa and they were both very good. Jasia said they make their own chips. She also graciously got me extra napkins when she noticed me dripping salsa on my notes.
Jasia, The Friendly And Gracioius Bartender
I had a margarita, up, with a salted rim. Although it was a bit sweeter than I like them, Jasia said they used fresh lime juice with a touch of margarita mix. It wasn’t bad and I have come to find out that most people, at least in New York, seem to prefer them this way. Maybe because they haven’t had that much of an opportunity to taste any other kind.
A very nice day with three bars visited bringing my total to 756 and leaving 244 to go. I fought my way through the notorious sewer alligators (luckily this one was preoccupied) and took the subway home.