Monday, October 31, 2005

Columbia Crawl

Well, not really enough bars to call it a crawl, but I did head up to Columbia University and, after cutting through the campus I headed down Amsterdam Avenue where I found a few bars not too far away.

907) Bistro Ten 18



A neat little place on the corner of Amsterdam and Cathedral (110th). It is almost across the street from where they are building The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.



I think it should be done in about another 100 years, and that is just about how long it took to build the cathedrals in Europe that this one is modeled on. Of course I think they had an easier time raising money back then, just loot some neighboring countries treasury or something. But, I digress.

The bar is a black wood L shaped one with a brass rail. Light wood high-backed bar chairs with yellow seats. The bar back is an interesting dark wood breakfront that incorporates two recessed windows that have glass shelves built in front of them. Liquor sits on the shelves as well as the window ledge. The center section is a mirror of diamond shaped panels with two glass shelves in front of it that also hold liquor bottles. There are narrow shelves on each side of the outside edge of each window. The one to the left holds champagne glasses and the one to the right holds a few bottles of rather exotic looking liquors such as Pyrat Rum. The lower section looks to be coolers with sturdy looking dark wood doors with silver handles and hinges. Good-sized inverted umbrella shaped white glass light fixtures hang from the ceiling over the bar. Little black bats have been placed inside so you can see their silhouettes. It looks kind of like they just flew in there and died. Poor bats. A bar station with three spigots sits on the shorter side of the bar.

There is a large set of wine racks along one wall and kind of wrapping around a doorway. Most of these have wire mesh doors but one refrigerated section has glass doors. There is a large panel of white translucent diamond shaped panels lit from behind by small bulbs. Two corner shelves have the same type of back-lit panels. One holds wine bottles and the other holds empty clear glass containers.

The floor is small black and white hexagon tiles. Tables and wood chairs with dark gold and bluish-gray floral patterned fabric seats fill up the room and it has a bit of a tea-shop look to it. Good-sized windows in the front and on the on the side up front next to the bar. There is a dining room in the adjacent room separated by a burgundy draped doorway. Lots of cobwebs decorating the place.

I had a draft Laqunitas Pils, a very good Czech style beer that is actually brewed in Petaluma, California.

A quick break for some fire action. Apparently there was a fire in a drier in the laundromat between Birstro Ten 18 and my next place, Sip.



908) Sip



A small, narrow and not too deep place with a narrow bright-red bar. No foot rest or rail but modernistic looking metal bar chairs with low backs. A most eclectic décor and a very friendly bartender, Matt. We chatted about the neighborhood, his bar, various wines, lot’s of interesting stuff and he gave me some recommendations of other bars in the neighborhood that I should try. It will have to be another day though, but I will be back.

Matt, The Informative And Friendly Bartender


The white painted brick wall has a kind of a lattice like set of shelves made of red painted wood that holds a lot of bottles of liquor, and various interesting stuff; Bali masks, a Mexican skeleton, gold Asian lion-like dragons, clear vases with bamboo stalks and colorful fish swimming around – the is plenty of stuff to look at. Little blue lights with small circular frosted shades hang over the bar.

Sip opens at 6:00 A.M. when it sells coffee so there are coffee dispensers, an espresso machine, a large coffee maker, and a couple of coffee grinders (always a sign of fresh coffee).

The wall opposite the bar is white painted brick with a red ledge and more of the metal chairs in front of it. Lots of pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns sit on it along with a fairly gruesome head popping out of a candy bowl.



The little kids coming in trick or treating have to overcome their fear to get their reward. Actually the bartender was handing out the candy to them so they didn’t have to confront their inner fears.

Four interesting large photos of various parts of the body hang above the shelf. Now note, these aren’t pictures of body-parts, that would be really gruesome. The small back area, up a step, has walls covered with black and red padded cushions in a checkerboard pattern. There are cobwebs and skeletons back there and an interesting painting “Le Demon” for sale for $350. I hope nobody buys it, it looks like it belongs. The bathrooms are behind a picture of a fat nude.

They are having a Halloween party tonight featuring Zombies and Chicken Blood (actually just sangria, but don’t tell anyone). This is definitely a place to pop into if you are in the neighborhood.

I had a glass of Bull’s Blood. Now this wasn’t a Halloween special, it is the name of a very good Hungarian wine.

I don't usually insert direct plugs for a bar in my blog but this was kind of a cool place and Matt was quite friendly so I said I would stick in a link to his website. And, yes, I still had to pay for my glass of wine.



  • 909) B’way Dive



    A nice enough bar despite its name between 101st and 102nd and Broadway. The pink-haired bartender wouldn’t let me take her picture though. She seemed to be suffering from a hangover, to many mojitos the night before she said. Several of the patrons were suggesting cures. She rejected my suggestion of two quick shots of Jagermeister and opted for bitters and water.

    There is a good sized wooden bar in here with a wooden foot rest and old wooden bar chairs. Three old brass beer stations on the bar and a decent selection of beers. An old wooden bar back with a couple of large mirrors and a good sized aquarium with a bunch of goldfish swimming around. Kind of strange, two bars in a row with fish. Rippled red lights wrap around wood columns at each end of both of the mirrors. Half a dozen televisions of various sizes scattered about and lots of other interesting stuff; cobwebs, a large harlequin doll, a boar’s head wearing a party hat, dangling spiders, a large wooden model airplane.

    A couple of ceiling fans, one missing the milk glass shade covering the two bulbs, hang from the black gold trimmed ceiling. There is a ledge up against the windows in front. A dartboard is in the back and the adjacent wall is covered with plaques the bar’s sponsored teams have won in various competitions. A large, heavy picnic-like table sits in front of a bench built into the wall and a few smaller tables in front of more benches stretch towards the back. There is a heavy smell of incense in here that seems a bit out of place considering the nature of the bar.

    I had a draft Harpoon I.P.A.

    Another pleasant day with three bars hit bringing my total to 909 for the year leaving 91 to go. I would have hit another but the streets were becoming a bit crowded with trick or treaters so I just headed on home.

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    Hey Barman,
    I have been slacking and haven't caught up with your blog in a bit, but I am so happy to see you made it all the way up to my nabe! I have not yet tried Sip although it looks cool. Other recommendations for that area: Henry's on 105th and Bway (it's a restaurant with a separate bar-Brian and Leo are the best bartenders in all of NYC), Tap A Keg on Bway btwn 105 and 104, and Ding Dong Lounge on Columbus and 106th.
    You probably won't event have a chance to come back up-1000 is approaching rapidly! Congrats!
    Prost,
    NYOne

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