Friday, February 11, 2005


Well, I will get my shameless plug for Rebound in early and then fill in the details of today's saga when I get back from lunch. I woke up this morning and felt fine, no hangover whatsoever. Now, as I have said, this isn't too unusual because I seem to be largely immune to them anyway, so I can't say what, if any effect taking the Rebound had, but it certainly didn't hurt and I feel, perhaps, a bit more energetic than usual.

An addendum, I checked out Cyntihia Large's website and I see where one of her paintings is "St. Christina The Astonishing" and is available as either a notecard or a poster. Check it out.

Okay, I started my day and it turned out better than I thought it would.

190) Les Halles'

Got on the subway in Brooklyn and got off on 28th in Manhattan. As I may have mentioned before, I was having lunch with my wife and her sister at Artisanal's. On the way we passed by Les Halles' at 411 Park Avenue. I don't know if you have ever seen the show "Cooks Tour," but the executive chef, not that he shows up that much anymore, kind of runs this place. It really is a very nice French bistro and the food is very good. They have a little butcher shop in the back, with a real butcher. Be prepared to pay a lot, but what you get is worth it. They also sell cheese from Artisanal, where I was headed. Nice place and well worth stopping in.

I had a bottle of Chimay Blue.

Had lunch at Artisanal and, because I had a drink there before won't count it. Nonetheless, thought I should at least mention it. We started out with a fondue, reminded me of the 70's except the wine was a lot more expensive than the 69 cent Ripple I used to drink back then. I had a couple of glasses of very nice wine with a cheese plate and my wife and her sister had skate. They said it was very good. They headed off to shop and I headed off to:

191) Desmond's

Hey, I hate to keep saying another Irish pub, but this was another Irish pub on Park between 30th and 29th. But it is a great one. They had The Wolfe's on the jukebox. Hated to blow their cover, but this is an Australian group that just sounds Irish. They sound kind of like the Pogues before Shane MacGowan left and the band, as far as I am concerned, fell apart. But, I wander. This was a very crowded place and the bartenders were all singing along, so who cares. They feature rugby on the televisons on the week-end and considering the crowd that was in there today, I can only imagine it is packed then.

I had a Dewars and soda and would go back in a minute. Very friendly place.

192) Red Sky

This place is on 29th between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue. Had red bunting draped all about and hanging from the ceiling. There was a booth up front and a bunch of small tables against the back wall. Candles in red holders on the bar. They had five televisions and M-15 was playing on them all. Hanging about were round, disco-like bulbs, and some of them were lite from within. It is a long, narrow place, like so many in New York places are. Friendly bartender, fun kind of place.

I had a Dewars and soda.

193) Campanile

This is more of a restaurant than a bar, but a bar they did have. One TV in the front and it was on the cooking channel. I ended up talking to the bartender and the coat-check lady about cooking the whole time I was there. A pleasant place. Nice flower arrangements on the bar and the whole place smelled great. Their lighting looked like wrapped parchment. They also had Johnny Walker Blue on the top shelf. You don't see that very often.

I had a glass of Chianti.

194) Ixta

Well I finally hit the uber Mexican restaurant. You have to see this place. Great lighting, both overhead and on the walls, and the lighting over the bar is outstanding. Sometimes I complain about how much a drink costs, but I paid ten bucks for my margarita here and it was worth every cent, top shelf tequila and made with freshly squeezed lime-juice, not the mix out of the bottles that even the so called classy places use. Then they had the best chips, and I am not doing them justice by calling them that, and two great dips, made on the premises. I will be back, and it won't take me a year to get there.

I had a margarita, one of the best I have ever had other than the ones I make myself.

195) Park Bistro

Well, I was headed to the subway, but then looming ahead was the beckoning Park Bistro sign. How could I not stop in. So, stop in I did. Great French bistro type of place with a very small bar up front. Tall, red-headed bartender who told me she came from Albuquerque. Still one of the hardest city names to spell I have ever seen. She poured a decent drink though, and this, once more, looked like a place to visit again. You go through red velvet curtains to get into the place and it kind of looks like you are in a 40's nightclub, but a small one. a few burgandy banquettes and then a bunch of small tables covered with white table clothes. A bunch of black and white photos of Paris as it must have looked like way back when. Yet another new place that I have discovered and would certainly like to go back to once more.

I had a Dewars and soda, the way I think I now like them, Dewars on the rocks with just a spash of soda.

196) Mesa De Espana

My last hit. This place is just a step away from the subway entrance and was so enticing I could not pass it by. That means it was close. Just an Itallian restaurant with a small bar in front. Not much about it that I can remember. Spent most of the time on the phone with a buddy of mine talking about who knows what.

I had a glass of Chianti.

Well, I hit a few more today than I thought I would, but it was a fun day. A buddy of mine has been encouraging me to hit 200 bars before I leave for Mexico, the guy I was talking to at the last bar, and, by golly, it looks like I might make it. And that won't even include the two bars I will hit at JFK while waiting for my flight.

A mere 804 left to go.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Sad Stroll

Well, the whole stroll wasn't sad, but within the first couple of blocks three bars, two of which I was kind of fond of, were closed. Two, of them, including Johnny Fox's, permenantly because the whole block is being taken down to make way for new apartments or something. The other one, Abbey Tavern, is supposed to be open again in a few months and is, supposedly, just being remodeled by new owners.

The CEO of Dynamarketing Group, Inc. saw the article about me in the New York Post and then read my blog. They market a product called Rebound that is supposed to help prevent hangovers. Luckily, or perhaps not, I very rarely get hangovers. However, he sent me some free samples to try. I took a couple before setting out today and then a couple more when I got home. I don't know if they helped or not, but will let you tomorrow how I felt when I woke up.

182) Fitzgerald's Pub

A venerable old Irish pub at 336 Third Avenue. Not much to write about, it is a pretty generic place but a good one to pop into for a drink. A local's bar with a dartboard and a decent jukebox. Fairly decent crowd.

I had a Dewars and soda.

183) The Hairy Monk

This place is across the street from Fitzgerald's and on the corner of 25th. A decent enough place and as empty as Fitzgerald's was crowded. I was the only customer for the entire time that I was there. It had some neat metal and orange glass lights over the bar and the ceiling was beamed and had was a bit lighter orange. The walls were the same pinkish red color as Limerick's, maybe a bit darker. I think it might be called "dessert rose." A wood plank floor and several flat-screen TV's, two of them pretty good-sized.

I had their house beer, Hairy Monk Ale. It was pretty good, a bit hoppy, and served in a 20 ounce "pint" glass.

184) McCormack's

This place on 3rd Avenue and 26th Street, is another nice Irish pub. It too, was quite crowded with a lot of people eating lunch both at tables and at the bar. The eating area is separate from the bar and the bar has a number of TVs with good sports coverage.

I had a Dewar's and soda.

185) Rodeo Bar

On the corner of 3rd Avenue and 27th Street is this neo-classic place that serves more than decent Tex-Mex food. They have live music from 10:00 A.M. until 4:00 A.M. every night except Sunday when it stops early, 2:00 A.M. Some pretty decent acts too, Marshall Crenshaw was going to be there tonight, but he is a bigger name than usual and was sponsored by Maker's Mark. Would have liked to have stuck around. Their usual fare are bands like Wrinkle Neck Mules and The Stray Dogs.

The place is replete with all kinds of Texas memorabilia including a stuffed buffalo above the bar and a buffalo head in the back that blows smoke out of its snout. The bar is covered with Texas license plates. The back used to have a grill where you could grill your own hamburgers but that is gone. Probably a safety hazard, drunks falling face-down on the grill couldn't be too cool. Also the same trapdoor that I almost fell down (or was almost pushed down) during a bar-trek many years ago when the place was named Albuquerque's or, before that, Lorango's.

The only drawback was a more than indifferent bartender and hostess. They pretty much sat at the end of the bar eating their lunch, talking to each other, and ignoring the customers. I watched one person come in and actually have to hail the hostess to get a menu and get seated. Granted, it was the slow time of the day, but this always drives me to distraction.

I had a draft Samuel Adam's Winter Lager

186) Banc Cafe

The owner and wait-staff were all Irish, but this place looked more Morrocan than anything else. The food is French. The bar, that I took to be a muti-colored plastic, was actually cement with embedded colored glass and then polished smooth. This was an extremely nice looking place with intimate dining areas in the back. The staff was as friendly and the one at the Rodeo Bar was indifferent. I had a very friendly stay. Chrissy Hynds was on the jukebox and a very attractive bartender was singing along, until she caught me watching her.

I had a Dewars and Soda.

187) Penelope

This place, on 159 Lexington Avenue, was more of a coffee-shop than anything else but they did have a little wine bar in the back. It had a real 50's feel to it with a white ceramic bar. Had a bit of a crowd drinking coffee and eating whatever people eat in places like this. Leaves of lettuce and crumpets, perhaps. They had a fairly extensive wine list that was interestingly presented pasted in the front pages of a thin, old book, "The Babyon's Third Person Singular" by Clemence Dane.

I had a glass of Rioja Cortijo III - Tinto 2003

188) Rocky Sullivan's

This was a very pleasant, small place with a very friendly bartender. It is on Lexington Avenue between 28th and 29th. Sadly, for people like me, the bartender said it was her last day and she was going to pursue her career as an artist full-time. Her name is Cynthia Large and her website is Written on the back of her business card is Christina The Astonishing, but for the life of me I don't know why. They give Irish language classes in the back a couple of times a week. They also have live music and various writers stop in and give readings. Another place I would pop back in, given the opportunity. One can only hope the next bartender will be as nice as this one.

A thoroughly enjoyable place and I violated my rule of having only one drink and had a Guiness and a shot of Bushmills. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

189) Black Duck

This place, a bar and restaurant on 122 East 28th Street, is in the Park South Hotel. The place is finished in dark wood and the chandeliers look like the figureheads on old sailing vessels. Nice paintings on the walls and French doors seperating it from the rest of the Hotel. Had the same rose colored walls I seem to be seeing everywhere go these days. I really had to go to the bathroom when I got here and the restrooms were very elegant indeed.

Well, I hit eight bars and had nine drinks today so I guess I will be giving Rebound a fairly good test. 189 down and 811 to go. Probably going to give it a bit of a rest tomorrow, the wife and I are meeting one of my sister-in-laws for lunch at Artisanal and I have already had a drink at their bar. I will probably hit a couple in the neighborhood and call it a day.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Enter The Rooster

Well, I woke up in New Rochelle after celebrating Chinese New Year's eve. I had a couple of goodies designed to bring luck in the coming year, had a couple of cups of coffee, and then hitched a ride to 42nd street in Manhattan where my brother-in-law was headed to work at the Fashion Week activities in Bryant Park. I walked to 9th Avenue from where he parked his car and headed to the only bar that seemed to be open at this hour.

175) Rudy's

Well, my mother-in-law gave me five dollars for a New Year's gift and this seemed about as good a place to spend it as any. This is you classic New York, Hell's Kitchen dive on 9th between 44th and 45. And there aren't too many of them left. The booths are mostly taped together, the floor looks like you can fall through it, it is, in short, a classic. And it is open.

I had a Draft Rudy's Gold (everyone looked at me when I ordered it) and headed out.

176) Smith's

I headed over to 8th and stopped into one of the first places that I had ever been to in New York. It is right across from the Milford Plaza and I stayed there once when attending a seminar long before I even moved to New York. We are talking well over 25 years ago. Still basically the same, except the prices are a bit higher now. Great steam table though, with corned beef still some of the best around.

I had a Dewars and soda.

177) Emmett's

More formally known as Robert Emmett's Bar & Restaurant (history buffs will have to look up Robert Emmett) is this a bit lighter version of an Irish Pub. The bar is separated from the tables, and the windows, by a wooden partition topped with frosted glass with etched patterns. There is a nice little semi-room up front and an upstairs dining area that I did not check out.

I chatted with the bartender and it turned out that she lives in my neighborhood. I mentioned that I had just come from Smith's and how, when I first visited it, Elton John played a free concert in Central Park and what a great time I had going to it. She said her hometown is the same as Elton John's. There you go. Then a guy comes in and starts talking about Spokane and I mention that I had spent some time there. He is from there and his wife was in town going to a meeting with the same company that I did work for when I was in Spokane. This was getting a bit too spooky for me so I headed out.

But not until I had a draft Boddington's Pub Ale.

178) Rachel's

Back over to 608 9th Avenue was this place that looked almost like an old-ladies tea house. It was mostly pink and was decorated for Valentine's Day which only made it pinker. Still, it had a pretty decent little bar that was separated from the rest of the place and a good crowd. They have a brunch on Wednesday's and that might have been what was attracting the crowd.

I had a Dewars and soda.

179) Dalton's

This was a real nice sports bar with at least 7 flat screen televisions above the bar. I got into a discussion with the bartender about Musicmatch and he actually downloaded the free-trial version to test it out. A nice, friendly place. It is on 9th Avenue between 43rd and 44th and used to be a place called Revolution.

I had a draft Dalton's Ale

180) Dave's

This was the place I was going to go to first thing this morning but it wasn't open yet. I thought the name of the place was Dame's, which sounded more interesting. It just turns out that when they have the neon sign turned off you see some of the connecting tubes and, oh well, never mind. It is a bit of a dive bar but has pink overhead lights. It does have a pool table in the back so that makes it okay by me. It is a pretty old bar and not just made to look that way.

I had a Dewars and soda

181) Queen

I caught the subway back to Brooklyn and was heading home when I figured I would stop in for one last drink. Plus, I kind of had to use the bathroom. This is a nice Itallian restaurant with a bar up front. It used to be be a block away before they took the whole block down to put up a UA 12 screen cineplex and a Barnes and Noble book-store. I liked the old place better, but that is just me. Still, it is a great restaurant and serves delicious food.

I had a glass of Chianti and toddled off home thinking that I had made a very good start to the Year of the Rooster.

Well, 181 down and 819 left to go.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Exit The Monkey

Today is the last day of the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese calendar. It is also the last day of 4071. I will be heading over to my mother-in-law's house for dinner and will be spending the night. Now don't get excited, my wife will be going with me too. At any rate, I am going to hit a few bars on the way over there, at least one in Grand Central Station while waiting for the train to New Rochelle where my mother-in-law lives. Maybe another one or two walking to her place from the train station. However, I will be unable to document my travels until tomorrow when I can log back onto this blog site.

171) Oyster Bar

Well, true to my promise we hit Grand Central and I figured I would hit a couple of bars while I was there. I headed to the basement and stopped by the venerable Oyster Bar. The whole place has high cathedral ceilings that are mosiac and interestingly lit. The bar itself is a separate enclosed area that has white leather settees with small tables large enough for a few drinks. There are also four larger tables with seating for four. Great overhead lights with metal silhouettes of ships decorating the outer edge. Also silhouettes of famous local boats framed and with a short description of them and an brief explanation of why they were noteworthy, hanging on the walls. The bar itself, although small, was a classic with brass rails and trim.

I had a draft Bluepoint Ale.

172) Oyster Bar Saloon

Although owned by the same people as the Oyster Bar, you do have to walk into a separate room through a set of swinging doors. I think it can legitimately be called a separate bar. This place was also decked out in a nautical theme with pictures of sailing boats on the wall and several encased, fairly intricate, models of boats. They also had pretzels and peanuts on the bar.

I had a Duvel Belgium Golden Ale before I headed off to catch the train.

173) The Public House Sports Bar

After hitting Pelhem I headed to my mother-in-law's house and hit this place on the way. I is right across the street from the Copper Still that I hit on my first night of this venture. It is an old Irish bar that I couldn't stay in very long. Apparently when they got their oil delivery in the morning there was a spill so they had the doors open to air the place out. It smelled really oily and was quite chilly.

I had a Samuel Adam's Winter Lager and headed out.

174) Yvonne's

This is kind of a soul-food restaurant with a separate bar off to the side and with a separate entrance. Pretty pink kind of place, decorated with pictures of black athletes and entertainers. It was pretty obvious that few of the people in the pictures had ever been there. When I commented about the picture of Sleepy Floyd and what a great basketball player he was the bartender said "Oh no, he is an entertainer, a comedian." Well, it was her place, but I don't think so.

I had a Dewars and soda.

That is 174 down and 826 left to go. Went to my mother-in-law's house and had a home-cooked New Years Eve feast. Good-bye Monkey.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Twenty-Third Street Stroll

I didn't hit any bars yesterday but took a bit of a busman's holliday by going to a Superbowl party. I can't exactly say it was a break from drinking. But all things in moderation.

Today I took the subway into Manhattan, got off at 14th and walked up to 23rd. I passed a lot of bars on the way, but those will be saved for another day. Today my objective was a relatively modest one, walk from Park Avenue South to 7th Avenue and hit the bars along the way. There were only four so this was a fairly easy task.

167) Live Bait

This place, at 114 East 23rd Street is a real classic. Gives you the ambience of a small bar in a Southern rural area. It has been around for quite awhile, but certainly is nowhere as old as it is made to appear. Decorated just right to convey that ambience without being overly cute about it. Madi Gras beads strewn about the place and tastefully placed around the neck of the stuffed alligator in the front window. They have a small oyster bar but it wasn't set up yet.

I had a draft Abita, brewed in Louisianna, keeping with the theme of the place.

168) Outback Steakhouse

Just down the street a bit at 60 West 23rd Steet was the Outback Steakhouse. Well, they have a very nice bar, and it is one of my favorite chain restaurants. The bar area is separate from the dining room so if you didn't know you were in an Outback Steakhouse very little here would let you know. Sadly, they only serve one Australian beer and, in my opinion, it is far from one of Australia's best. It is interesting because, in keeping with the somewhat Australian theme of the decor they have a big Toohey's Ale sign, they just don't serve it.

I had a draft Foster's.

169) The Limerick House

Across the street from the Outback Steakhouse is this old Irish bar. I remember if from when it was located on 2nd Avenue, but I guess it moved a few years back. The manager and I chatted about some of the bars that were in the old neighborhood, a couple of which I have already hit (Molly's and Rolf's). Kind of a traditional Irish bar, a back area with a table and a nice overhead stained glass light. The walls are kind of a pinkish red and the place was decked out, such as it were, for Valentine's Day. There is an old piano but, sadly, the piano player recently passed away. They do have a woman who comes in and plays the guitar on Sunday afternoons for the brunch crowd.

I had a Dewars and soda.

170) Francisco's

This is a nice Spanish restaurant at 159 West 23rd Street. It has a fairly large bar in the front. The place is decorated with mounted fish and a bunch of the largest lobster claws I have ever seen. And when I say big, I mean big. The weight of the lobster is written on the claws and I think the biggest one that I saw was 23 pounds. The manager said that size lobster gives you about 4 pounds of meat because so much of the weight is in the shell. I also learned that male lobsters have, proportionally, much smaller claws than females. They are also shaped differently, longer and narrower while the females are much "fatter" looking.

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

Not exactly heading down the home stretch, but only 830 left to go.