Monday, January 17, 2005

Nasty Monday

Well, today was Martin Luther King's birthday so a lot of stuff was closed and on top of it all it was a cold and nasty day. It snowed during the night so the streets were slippery, there was salt and sand everywhere, New York's idea of taking care of things, and, in general, it was a mess.

I headed into Manhattan to make the best of a bad situation.

84) Casa Mono

I got off the subway at 14th and was heading to Pete's when I passed by this place on Irving and 17th. It is relatively new, only open for a year or so. Before this it was a coffee shop and before that it was a bodega. Now it is a Spanish restaurant with two little bars and a very impressive wine menu. I ordered their house sparkling wine and was served a little dish of olives and a couple of little pieces of bread. A nice touch. The place has an open kitchen behind one of the two bars and looks to have a very nice menu. Lots of wine bottles on shelves around the place.

I had a Cava Mono, their house sparkling wine. A nice way to start off a dreary Monday.

85) Pete's Tavern

This is another New York classic on the corner of 18th and Irving. They claim to be the oldest bar in New York and the claim is seldom disputed. They opened in 1864 and managed to stay open even during prohibition. It is a real classic and if you are ever in New York should not be missed. They still had their ceiling covered with little red Christmas lights so it was especially festive.

I had a Pete's 1864 House Ale

86) Tracy J's Watering Hole

Moving up to 19th and cutting across towards Park Avenue South I hit this place. Another old favorite from when I worked in the neighborhood. The walls are covered with somewhat weird cut-outs of "jungle" animals and an increasingly large amount of memorabilia relating to the owner, Art Heyman. If you don't know who he is, stop in and you will find out. He is a fixture at the place. I will give you a bit of a hint, he once played basketball for Duke.

I had a Dewars and soda.

87) Duke's

What a transition, but I couldn't help it. Right across the street was Duke's. This place has a long history including, but not limited to, once being part of one of the largest restrooms in Manhattan when the place next-door was The Iquana. Now it is a "classic" made from scratch old down south type of restaurant and bar. Decent food and classic decor, including old Coke machines and a great pig hanging from the window. A bit too cute in some respects, but still a decent place.

I had a Bare-Knuckle Stout.

88) City Crab

Right next door and the former site of The Iquana, this really good sea-food restaurant and bar is another favorite haunt of days gone by. The large, sequined iguana that once hung from the ceiling is long gone and the smaller one over the door has been replaced by a large red crab. It is a two story place and the now infamous bathroom (gosh, I wonder what people used to do in there) is gone so you have to go upstairs to take a leak, or whatever. Part of the upstairs is right above Duke's.

I had a glass of white wine.

89) Angelo and Maxie's

Rioght across the street so I couldn't pass this up, but I probably should have. It was kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, but I think I was the fish that got shot. This is a classic, but relatively new, steak place. They used to have a seperate room in the back where you could smoke cigars while you ate your dead cow, but it has been closed down thanks to New York's no smoking laws. They still have a lot of cigar related memorabilia on the walls and a fairly decent selection of way over-priced cigars for sale.

The bartender was a friendly sort of guy and I ran into a couple that I have known for a long time. This combination did not work to my advantage as I ended up having three Maker's Mark Manhattans before stumbling home.

Closing in on the century mark, only 911 bars to go.