Friday, January 28, 2005

Final Friday in January

My sister-in-law wants to meet my wife and me on Monday somewhere around 34th and 3rd and I am supposed to pick out the restaurant. Needless to say I was more than eager to research the area.

128) Back Porch

Right on the corner of 3rd and 33th. It has a decent black bar set off from an area with a few tables and stools. Bit of a raised seating area in front and a bigger seating area in the back and on the side. It also has a nice outside seating area that would be fun in the summer.

The bar area seems to have become overly excited about Margarittavile Tequila becoming their house brand. There is even a picture of the owner and Jimmy Buffet. Man, am I impressed. What I was not impressed by was paying $10.00 for there house margaritta straight-up. Not worth it at all. Can't even imagine what they charge for their 42 ounce frozen margarittas. Anyway, not a place that I would ever return. Couldn't even taste the tequila.

I had the Margaritaville tequila margaritta and regret it.

129) Cinema Cafe and Bar

This is on the corner of 3rd and 34th. It is kind of a small place with windows all around. It has a small black lacquer bar bar. Decorated with movie posters and has movie screens in the back and front where they show films at night. Small round tables with plush chairs in front and small square tables in the back with less plush chairs.

I had a Magner's Irish Cider.

130) XII

This was right around the corner from the Cinema Cafe and Bar, on 34th. A nice big bar, granite looking plastic top and back lighted purple plastic front. Very European looking. Had 6 large television above the bar and anothe 8 strewn around. Also had small televison screens mounted on the beer spiggots. Six of them. The bartender said it was the only place in the United States that had them. Not sure what the point was seeing as how there was no sound and all they were showing was MSNBC.

Keeping with the numerical theme I had a Magic Hat #9

131) Patrick Kavanagh's

On Third, between 34th and 33rd. Another classic Irish bar. The bartender noticed that I was left-handed and, because he was ase well, we chatted about being left handed. Not a whole lot one can say about another Irish bar.

I had a Guiness.

132) La Giara

Just down the block. Well, I found the place where I will be having lunch on Monday. Great little Itallian restaurant. Very friendly owner or manager. I asked for a red wine and he went gave me what he thought was his best. Then he gave me a nice piece of focaccio to go with it. It tasted great. Great place, in my opinion.

I had a glass of Coppertino Riserva 1999 from Italy.

133) Mercury Bar

A sister of XII. A relatively small place that still managed to fit in two fairly large bars. People were very friendly but one was trying to get me interested in Florida real estate. Go figure. Apparently she had just gotten a job selling real estate and was about to move down there. Still, I enjoyed myself and chatted for a bit with the bartendress who lived on Staten Island and gave me some pointers about bars I should frequent when I get there.

I had a Maker's Mark Manhattan

134) Suspenders

I was going to head home but I really had to take a leak. I got off the subway at Wall Street and this place is easy to find. Right at ground zero and packed with off-duty cops and firemen. Nice place, but what I really needed was the restroom.

I had a Dewars and soda and jumped back on the subway and went home

A better day than I had hoped for. I will be taking the weekend off I think. Maybe just one drink to get the number to a nice 135. As it stands now I have 866 to go.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Long Walk In The Cold

It was another bitterly cold day and I decided I would try to find a place that I had not been able to find the night that my friends came over, Frank's Cocktail Lounge. It was a long and cold walk.

122) Junior's

Just up the same mall where I had my drink at TGIFs, and then a bit to the left. Known more for their cheese cakes, Junior's also sports a very nice bar stuck in the middle of a large cafeteria seating area. Junior's, besides their cheese cakes, has a very nice restuarant, just try their corned-beef sandwich on rye one time.

The bar is a nice sized horseshoe shaped affair and they had peanuts, pretzle-nuggets, and corn-chips and salza on the bar.

I had a bottle of Guiness Stout (don't usually see it in bottles, but Junior's has no draft beers).

123) Mooney's

After walking for a long ways I finally came upon Monney's at 353 Flatbush Avenue. Believe me, I walked a long bit, all the way to the Army Plaza subway station. But because it was a bitterly cold, but sunny day I actually, in a perverse sort of way, enjoyed myself.

This is a real classic divey Irish pub. I know it gets to sound like a cliche, but what can I say. Three old black guys at one end of the bar watching The Lonesome Dove on the television in front, and a staggering guy at the other end shouting on CCN on the televison their. Everyone was pleasant tough, and the bartendress was a lovely Irish lass.

I had a bandy and 7-up.

124) Chocolate Monkey

Just a bit closer to home on Flatbush I ran across the Chocolate Monkey. A relatively new place that is just starting to open for lunch. I am still running across too many places that don't open until 4:00 P.M. or 5:00 P.M. They are standing in the way of my progress.

This place was a combination of brick and yellow plastered walls. Friendly bartendress and a small room in the back with a pool table. Neat place and I would certainly go again.

I had a Meyer's and Coke.

125) City Lighting

Just down the street was this place. New and built into a space formerly occupied by a hardware store. It is a decent looking place with interesting lighting hung about. Only seems fitting given the name of the place.

Not sure if it was quite open yet because the guy behind the bar didn't know how to make a Maker's Mark Manhatten so I didn't get one.

I had another Meyers and Coke. And it was a stiff one.

126) Frank's Cocktail Lounge

Finally found the place I was looking for. If you ever saw a street map of this area you would know how easy it is to get confused. The place was not quite open but I had been there before and when I asked if I could just get a drink I was ushered in.

This is another of the old classics that you hope will neve go away. Small, but cozy intimate in a way that most places aren't. A very mixed crowd later at night and everyone feels welcome.

This man knew what I was asking for so I had a Maker's Mark Manhatten.

127) Bacchus

Heading home along Atlantic Avenue I kept my open for one I hoped would be open and, lo and behold, it was. Bacchus, despite the name and the grape vines and wine press featured in front, is not a place of Roman debauchery but, instead, a French bistro type of place. Quite small with a tiny bar it is, nonetheless, an neat place to sit and have a glass of wine. The guy sitting next to me was the owner of Tabac (see a previous post) so you know this is a fairly tightly woven French community we have here. Adds to the whole international flavor of the neighborhood. Got to love it.

I had a glass of Bordeaux and an espresso and made my home through the bitterly cold wind.

Facing the howling winds I managed to exceed even my own expectations and hit six bars today reducing the number left to visit to a mere 873.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


DUMBO is a new neighborhood being carved out of what was an area of just about nothing but warehouses. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Overpasses. or something like that. All up-and-coming neighborhoods have to have an acronym of some kind. Doesn't make much sense though. Anyway, it was a fairly nice day when I started out so I walked down to the neighborhood.

118) Pedro's

This place is on Jay Street and Front Street. It is, I reckon, just outside of the now upscale DUMBO area. It kind of has to be seen to be believed and you might want to get their soon. The way some of the old classics like Between The Bridges get demolished, it wouldn't surprise me to see this one go under too.

It is a classic dive place not unlike something you would see in Mexico. In fact, I was the only gringo in the place. Of course there was just me, the staff, and two customers. The place has a dark bar and a few tables. They serve decent food at reasonable prices out of a steam-table type of affair. Cuban sandwiches, nachos, that type of stuff. The place has a great mural on the wall outside and during the summer you can sit out on their porch.

The beers are only $2.oo and they have music at night.

I had a Corona

119) Superfine

This place is just down the block from Porfirio's and pretty clearly delineates the old neighborhood from the new. This is one of the newer and more trendy bars in the neighborhood. It is in a former warehouse and is fairly large and cavernous. It is decorated nicely though so it doesn't feel cold. There is a nice bar and a bright orange pool table off to and above the bar a bit. Neat pictures and art on the walls (DUMBO is known for its galleries) and a judicious use of flashing Christmas type lights give the place an interesting feel. Reggae on the sound system.

I had a Brooklyn Porter

120) Pete's

This place, on Old Fulton and Water Street is right across the street (just about) from the East River and has a nice view of the river and Manhattan from the set of windows facing that direction. It has been around since 1894 so it is a classic old Italian restaurant. It has a nice bar and was already decorated for Valentines Day. For some inexplicable reason they were playing country-western on the sound system.

I had a Makers Mark Manhattan and headed back in the direction of home.

121) La Traviati

Got to Montague Street and decided to hit one last bar (and one of the last bars on that street left to hit) before I went home. This place is on the other side of Armando's and this was my first time in the place.

It is a nice Italian restaurant that, for some reason, displays pictures of what appears to be Parisian street life and cafe scenes on the walls. It does have a nice little bar though and they still had their Christmas tree on display on their patio.

I had a glass of chianti and called it a day.

Only 879 left to go.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Sloppy Stroll

The weather was warm, the sun was out, it was sloppy as hell. All of the snow we had gotten the past few days had started to melt so the streets, and some unshoveled sidewalks, were full of slush. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant enough day so I went for a bit of a walk.

112) Sonny's

This place at 305 Smith Street is a bit further up then most of the other bars and restaurants on a street now known as Restaurant Row. More of a dinner with a small, light colored bar. This whole place is quite light with a large window in front. Interesting paintings on the wall that somehow conveyed the feeling of the 1940's. All Beatles all the time on the sound system. At least for today. They have a large outdoor patio in front of the place (it is on a corner) but the weather wasn't quite right for enjoying it.

I passed on their house brew and had a draft Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

113) MeKong

I headed over to 5th Avenue in Park Slope and came upon MeKong. This is a nice Vietnamese bar and restaurant. It has a nice dark bar with large bulbed lights hanging overhead. The walls are orange and there are pictures of Indochina/Vietnam circa 40's and 50's I would guess.

There were tables about and a nice comfortable seating area in front with a sofa and coffee table. The staff was primarily Vietnamese but the bartender was not, although he appeared to speak it fluently. A little girl was running around so I guess this is a family place. I had some spring-rolls at the bar and they were some of the best I have ever had.

I had a draft Kronenbourg 1664

114) Lighthouse Tavern

Just down the street was this pleasant neighborhood type of bar. It had a long, dark bar and a decent beer selection. There was a little outside area and a back-room with couches and a coffee table and a pool table off to the side. There was also a dart board and a table piled with board games. Looks like it would be a very comfortable place to sit for awhile and maybe play parcheesi with friends.

I had a Blue Point Winter Ale

115) Moutard

This is a fairly large French restaurant on the corner of 5th and Carroll Street. It has a nice zinc colored (not sure if it really zinc though) bar up front and a good sized dining area in the back and tables along the walls. Decorated with ceramic mustard jars and a nice mosaic floor. Captures the feel of an upscaled French Bistro. I have eaten here in the past and found the food and service to be worth the visit.

They were out of sambuca so I had a Giuliano and espresso

116) Fashion Cafe

This is an interesting place on Flatbush Avenue between Atlantic and 5th. It was pretty dead when I was there, about 3:30 P.M. but looks like it could be quite packed at night. The did have the posts out front for velvet ropes so who knows.

The decor is a bit hard to describe, pictures of fashion models on the wall and headless torsos decked with fashionable clothing strewn about the place. The bar was nice and the guy behind the bar, who wasn't really a bartender but was filling in until the real one showed up, made a credible drink.

I had a Maker's Mark Manhattan

117) Brooklyn Tavern

This place is just off Atlantic Avenue on 3rd Avenue, kind of around the corner from Hank's which I have written about earlier. It is a nice, dark place that has a fairly large garden area behind the place. Again, a bit too cold to enjoy it today but worth a visit in the summer.

I asked the bartender to make me something warm and she did.

I had a hot toddy made with brandy and it hit the spot and sent me on the way home with a nice glow.

Moving along, 883 to go.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Village Idiot

I took the weekend off, nasty weather and I needed a break. This morning I had an appointment for an eye-exam in Manhattan at 9:15 A.M. Got done at 10:00 A.M. and, even for New York, that is a bit early. Particularly because I was in an area with no Irish bars (they often open at 8:00 A.M.) Nonetheless I headed to the Village and, having a nose for a bar, scored my first drink at 10:45 A.M.

106 Monte's

This place is on 97 MacDougal Street, right in a bit of the heart of the West Village. It has been around forever. It hadn't really opened yet but I asked if I could have a glass of wine and was welcomed in with open arms by the owner, Gionvanni Mosconi. I had my wine, he poured me some more, it was great. We talked for about an hour about stuff. This is what makes bars in New York what they are, you never know what type of person you might run into. Giovannin was from Italy but grew up on London.

This place has a nice, dark bar up front, is very small, has great pictures on the wall, just a place you should see if you are ever in the area. I would certainly go back for dinner one night.

I had a glass of red wine but I don't know what kind. The owner was pouring and I thought it would be impolite to write down notes.

107) Le Figaro

This place is at 184 Bleecker Street and is primarily a coffee and dessert place. They do have a bit of a nice bar up front. The bartendress was from Java (we are going a bit on the international theme today) and very pleasant. Most people are, if you are nice to them.

Good jazz on the sound system, nice curved wooden bar.

I had a Sambuca and and Espresso.

108) Off The Wagon

A good name for a bar if ever I heard one. Bartender wanted me to make sure that I mentioned they had 13 TVs. This is another place that has a nice old, dark, curved bar and makes you just want to sit and have another.

They have a fooseball machine, two dart boards, and two tables set up just for beer pong. If you don't know what that is, you will have to email me for an explanation.

The comment from the bartender was "A great place for a game of beer pong and many, many, many shots."

I had a Guiness

109) Le Quinze

This is on Houston Street (pronounced "How Stun" unless you really want to be identified as an out-of-towner). It is a great French restaurant owned by a former Italian rugby player. Hence, all kinds of rugby memorabilia about the place. Quite nice, and keeping with the international theme of the night, given that the bartender was from Bulgaria. She was very pleasant and we chatted about all kinds of stuff, as you usually do when you are on your fourth drink shortly after noon.

Her comment was:

"You are always welcome to our place. I'll be here to serve you a nice hot drink and to give you a smile. Have a wonderful day."

A lovely person. I asked her what I should have to take the chill off and I had:

A rum with hot water, honey, and lemon.

110) Minetta Tavern

This is another Village original, or at least has been around since 1937. Great Itallian restaurant bar and, because it is so early, just me and the manager. She was from Florida, where my sister lives, so we chatted a bit about Florida. The wall featured caricatures, pictures, and newspaper articles about the once and somewhat current famous.

The bartender was from Florida and, seeing as how there were not too many other people in there (none) we chatted a bit. My sister lives in Florida so we had a few things in common. Actually, going to bars in the morning is kind of fun because you get to see them when they are just opening up.

I had a glass of Chianti

111) John's Bar

Another great classic. This place is on 90 Greenwich Avenue, my last stop on the way home. One of the coolest of just having a drink bars that I have ever been in. A couple of other regulars and a bartender and, by the end of it, we all seem to have been getting along. Of course I was also half in the bag by now.

The woman running the bar made these comments:

Small, friendly neighborhood bar. Last of the neighborhood bars in the West Village, where you can still get a bar for $3.00 (note, that is for a Coors Original Light only). Very narrow, shelves full of old nicknacks and a neon sign outside that just say's "BAR."

I would certainly recommend that if you ever have the chance you stop into this place.

I had a Guiness.

Well, there you have it. After a two day lay-off I jumped back in with six and was home before 3:30 P.M. New York, you got to love the place. Just 889 left to go.