Tuesday, August 09, 2005

First Rate Day On First

After a fairly, shall we say, intense day yesterday I decided to take it somewhat easier today.

726) Lunasa

This place, at 126 1st Avenue, between 7th Street and St. Marks Place, is named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts. It is also the name of an Irish musical group of some note. This is a very nice looking place and appears to be fairly new. A shiny wood bar with a wood paneled front and a brass rail. Wooden bar chairs have either a brown or a black vinyl seat. Inverted L shaped brass spigots serve up a dozen draft beers including one of Bar Man’s favorites, Speckled Hen. Thought I would just start with a bottle of something today though.

The wall behind the bar is old brick with wood framed oval mirrors and a large blackboard listing their beers and wines. The section of wall with the blackboard is painted light grey. Five square wood columns with copper colored translucent panels lit from within separate the tiered shelves holding the liquor. A single row of bottles sit under the blackboard. Copper cone shaped shades cover the lights directly above the bar and recessed spot lights are over the mirrors behind the bar and in the pale green ceiling elsewhere. A large metal heating and cooling duct runs the length of the place suspended from the ceiling.

The wall opposite the bar is paneled about a third of the way up and dark green paint above. There are a couple of tables towards the door and a narrow ledge runs along the rest of the wall with stools in front. There are a few tables with benches and small stools up front by the windows. A couple more tables are in a narrow room leading to a very pleasant garden area.

Large heaters out there probably means that they can keep it open most of the year.

I had a bottle of Red Stripe beer.

727) Simone

Not far away at 134 1st Avenue, right on the corner of St. Marks is this place that looks like it could have been designed by Liberace, if Liberace was Asian. The top of the bar was the only normal looking thing in the place, that and a brass rail. The top of the bar was black plastic that looked like marble with silver flakes embedded in it. The front was paneled with a somewhat hallucinogenic scene of barren trees. The bar stools had leopard print seats ringed with the round heads of brass tacks. Directly in front of me were two gold-framed arched mirrors with large Christmas balls, two maroon and one gold.

To the left and to the right of them were black lacquer shelves holding the liquor and glasses.

The ceiling is bright red painted patterned tin and narrow crystal chandeliers hang from it directly over the bar. Three larger crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling back a bit from the bar. The wallpaper is mostly deep red with Asian style pictures of flowers, pagodas, and weeping willows. Beaded curtains hang in the windows that wrap around this corner location.

Small fringed lights pretty much ring the ceiling but there are star shaped lights up front.

More mirrors are on the available wall space along with interesting lamps, pictures, and wall hangings.

A wrap-around banquette in the corner has black seats and zebra striped backs.

At least one bench in the other part of the room has a black and white cowhide look to it. It is amazing how much stuff they have managed to pack in here. The food smelled good too, so you could pop in for a bite to eat and and take in the scenery. They also have a little pastry counter up front, something a bit unusual for a place that bills itself as a martini bar.

I had a draft Grolsch.

728) Cheap Shots

Just down a few doors was this Yang to Simone’s Ying. A good old dive bar that threw me for a loop when I walked in. There was a large flat screen television above the bar and it looked like the Vikings were playing the Steelers with Minnesota leading seven zip in the top of the fourth quarter. I thought it was a pre-season game but couldn’t understand why Madden was providing the color commentary. Then I realized someone was playing Madden NFL. The graphics are quite realistic. They guy playing the game wasn’t too happy though because he was playing Pittsburgh against the machine. There were two real televisions, but they were playing the SciFi channel.

There is an air hockey table towards the back and all the way back was a room with walls that were basically chalk boards. There was a dartboard back there and a Big Buck Hunter game.

This is a nice old bar and cheap shots they did serve, two bucks each and seven dollars got you a pitcher of beer. You get to drink free on your birthday too. This would be a good place to watch a real football game but this one wasn’t too bad. No commercials and it was fun watching the guy playing. The Vikings were still up seven zip at the two minute warning but they had just missed a fifty yard field goal attempt so the Steelers had a chance.

I had a draft Guinness Stout.

729) Rancho El Girasol

As I was heading uptown to catch the subway I passed by this Mexican restaurant between 13th and 14th Streets. The name means Sunflower Ranch and, coincidently there is a Rancho El Girasol in Puerto Vallarta where Bar Man hit 150 bars earlier in the year (in Puerto Vallarta, not on the ranch). Although it is a Mexican restaurant there is a nice little bar in the back. The wall behind the bar was brick and had a set of shelves for the liquor, mostly tequila. This is an authentic Mexican restaurant too, the owners and all the help are Mexican and it looks pretty much like something you would see if you visited Mexico. Plenty of pictures of Zapata on the walls as well as some Aztec warriors and seductive maidens about to be sacrificed, rescued, or seduced. A large steer skull complete with long horns is mounted on the wall next to a sombrero and a non-Sears poncho.

The wall opposite the bar is primarily brick with one stretch of orange wall that has a niche containing a colorful wall hanging, some Mexican artifacts and a statue of the Virgin Mary. It was flanked by two pictures of You Know Who.

There was a poster on the back wall that I first thought was a political poster for Mexican President Vincent Fox but turned out to be for Vicente Fernandez, They do kind of look alike.

Vincent or Vicente

I had an excellent margarita made with fresh lime juice. The food smelled good too so I ordered the shrimp filled jalapeno appetizers and they were excellent. Large jalapenos, lightly battered and stuffed with chopped shrimp and served on a bed of lettuce.

A pleasantly moderate day with four bars hit making a total of 729 for the year and with only 271 more staring me in the face.


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