Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Blurry Saturday

I don't know why, but my note-taking was really bad today. Maybe it was because I spent too much time chatting, or maybe it was my selection of bars. Who knows? I will do my best though.

378) Blind Tiger Ale House

This is a great old bar on the corner of Hudson and West 4th. It is a fairly small, neighborhood type of place with a small wooden bar and about a dozen stools. A half-dozen tables with chairs and a little fireplace. Chalk boards list the decent selection of beer that they have on draft.

The place was fairly crowded and it turned out that there was a group of people from Scranton, Pennsylvania had come down for a pub-crawl, something they do on a fairly regular basis. They rent a small bus (and, I hope, a driver) and then come to Manhattan for the day. The always start their crawl at the Blind Tiger Ale House and then head out from there. One of the guys gave me a list of bars they were going to be hitting and I am going to be hitting many of the same ones in the near future.

Anyway, I spent most of my time talking to these guys and swapping bar stories. A bunch of them had spent some time in Iceland and said they had a great time drinking in the bars there. A friend of mine, one of the people that was with me in Mexico, had also been to Iceland but I think he wasted too much time hiking and sight-seeing.

I had a Rogue Brutal Bitter.

379) Barrow's Pub

This is what I would call a dive bar on Hudson and Barrow. It had an old wood bar with a black linoleum top and a ledge for your foot. Plane wooden cabinets behind the bar cluttered with liquor and beer bottles, cash registers, bug spray, and other assorted junk. Red light-bulbs are recessed in holes cut in the black drop-ceiling. The Yankees game was on the television set in the corner. There is a pool table that didn't look too beat up. The walls are knotty pine, mostly, with kind of a dark-mauve wall above the knotty pine benches on one side.

Kind of a dark place. It was mid-afternoon and the three patrons all seemed to be in their cups. When the guy at one end of the bar started singing the blues I dumped down my beer and left.

I had a Guinness.

380) Henrietta Hudson Bar and Girl

Located on the corner of Hudson and Morton, I should have paid a bit more attention to the name of this place before wandering in. Not that it would make any difference to a man on a quest. The door was locked when I tried it but one of two hefty guys sitting at the bar opened it for me. When I sat down the female bartender asked me if I knew this was a lesbian bar. I said no (the two guys at the bar worked at the place, probably as bouncers) but asked if I could get a cocktail anyway. No problem, except she didn't seem to know how to make any except for the ones on the menu. I didn't really feel up to a Gasolina (one part Red Bull, two parts Jaeggermeister)) and the Tempted-to-touch and Like-a-Virgin didn't sound to hot either so I ordered a beer.

This is quite a large place, three rooms in all and a second bar in the back. Kind of a pale-purple back-lit plexiglass behind the bar I was drinking at. There is a nice red felt covered pool table in the middle room. Interesting seating lines the walls in all of the rooms that are kind of like built in nestling areas. They had draft-pulls on the bar but I was informed they were not working.

I had a Yuengling Lager.

381) Alexandra

A fancy restaurant/bar across the street from Henrietta Bar and Girl. This place is more of a French bistro with a nice little bar in the back. Candles light the place and you it is crowded with small tables. The bar is a circular affair with nice glasses hanging from racks above it. This bartender knew how to make a cocktail.

I ordered a Maker's Mark Manhattan and then, because it was so good, I had another.

382) The Blue Mill

This seems to keep changing its name. It used to be The Blue Mill, then it was Grange for awhile, and now it is back to The Blue Mill again. Actually, it was The Blue Mill for almost fifty years and was just Grange for a relatively short time. It is on 20 Commerce Street, between Hudson and 7th Avenue. The place has a decidedly 40's look to it. The lighting is soft, there are ceiling fans, and a lot of polished wood in Art Deco shapes. Tiny lamps are on each dining table.

The bar had those mysterious black-handled taps so I opted for a bottle of beer.

I just had a Budweiser to quench my thirst after the Manhattans and then, feeling somewhat looped, made my way home. Thank goodness for subways (the transportation, not the sandwich).

A nice sunny Saturday afternoon that netted me five bars and some pleasant conversations. I talked to the bartender at Alexandra quite a bit as well. I hit five bars for a year-to-date total of 382 leaving 618 to go.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Tribeca Trip

A trip to Tribeca, the new up-scale neighborhood where the elite meet and greet. Not that I met any of the elite, but then I am a man on a mission. For those of you who may not know, Tribeca is an acronym for "Triangle Below Canal," Canal being a street that runs from the Hudson River to the East River (as most streets in Manhattan do) and that once separated Chinatown from Little Italy. Little Italy has shrunk over the years and Chinatown is now on both sides of Canal, but still, primarily, below, or to the south, of it. Tribeca is to the West of Chinatown.

374)Tribeca Tavern

This bar, 247 West Broadway, has two entrances, one on West Broadway and one on 6th Avenue. 6th Avenue takes a bit of a jog in this area so the block that Tribeca Tavern is on is not overly wide. The entrance to the bar side is on West Broadway. The entrance to the side with the pool table is on 6th Avenue. It has a large, old wooden bar with bar stools with black vinyl-padded seats. The bar has a nice brass rail. There are 17 beers on tap with the pulls mounted on a nice brass fixture. There is wood and glass shelving behind the bar and it is lit with red track lights. A small table surrounded by oversize stuffed chairs is next to the bar-side door. Wooden pew-like benches are against the wall behind the bar stools and marble-topped tables sit in front of them with chairs on the other side. The walls are old brick.

The back room, with the pool table, has a sofa and some large round tables with chairs. Little Japanese lanterns hang over the entry to another small room with large stuffed chairs and a couple of end tables. Larger, round Japanese lanterns hang from the ceiling in that room.

I had an Old Speckeled Hen, on draft. One of my favorites but you don't find it too often.

375) Della Rovere

Located on 250 West Broadway, this place has only been open a little over two months. It is another fancy place that has been changing the look of Tribeca. It has a nice, wide, dark-wood bar (I suspect it is wide so people can eat at it). Behind the bar and to the left is a metal spiral staircase that leads up to a narrow metal walk-way where there is a large selection of wines stored in wine racks. One end of the walk-way is widened and there is a table there where "special guests" can dine. There is mirror backed shelving behind the bar with a large liquor selection. Interestingly enough, although they have four beers on draft, the pulls are plain black so you have to ask the bartender what kind of beer they have. The place has nice pale-yellow walls and draped windows. There was a very nice looking back dining area and the menu looked interesting (there were oysters on ice at one end of the bar). I will try to get back here for dinner one day.

The bartender, Nate, was a very pleasant younh man and it turned out he was from Minneapolis, where I grew up. We chatted a bit and I found out that he had played professional football (soccer to us) in Romania for three years. He still plays and also coaches. I spent so much time talkng to him that I didn't take very copious notes about the place.

I had a Paulner Heffeweiss, draft, drawn with the mysterious black handled pull.

376) Buster's Garage

Well, this place on 180 West Broadway probably was a commercial garage. It certainly is large enough to have been one. Behind the bar is the largest television set that I have ever seen in a bar and there are two slightly smaller ones on each end. Another four regular sized televisons are mounted on either side of the large one in the middle. The ceiling is quite high and knotty pine with an interesting, and hard to describe light fixture hanging above the bar. There is dark wood paneling behind the bar that give the place a bit of a rec-room feel. A stepped shelf behind the bar holds the liquor and there is a large freezer with a sliding glass door where they keep their beer mugs chilling. There is a firehouse nearby and from the look of the memorabilia on the wall behind the bar this is probably a hang-out for off duty smoke eaters.

The bathroom is up a long, long flight of stairs. There is also a small outdoor area up there with a jacuzzi. Someone was using it, so it wasn't just for show. The place must be successful because the owners are opening up a Mexican themed bar and restaurant right next door.

I had a draft Pilsner Urquell.

377) Landmarc

Another of the upscale bars and restaurants common to this neighborhood. It is a fairly small place with a circular bar with a wooden top and metallic front. Kind of mod-looking bar-chairs with pea-soup green seats. That color scheme is carried through to the booths that line a greenish-blue plaster wall. The wall on the other side is old brick with an interesting copper-hued somewhat flat sculpture hanging on it. It is lit by small spots hanging from the heating and cooling duct. There are almost floor to ceiling windows in front. Ten fairly small tables for dining fill out the place.

I had a Maker's Mark Manhattan and called it a day.

A pleasant enough stroll, although not overly productive. With 377 for the year I have only 623 left to go.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Another Village Stroll

Another nice day so the wife and I decided to take another stroll in Greenwich Village.

368) La Palapa Rockola

A nice little place on 359 6th Avenue. Behind the bar are four large red-tinted panels that make up a large picture of a young Rosa Carmina and her rumba dancers. Rosa was born in Cuba and starred in many Mexican films. The picture is signed by Carmina.

The bar itself is a nice cherry-wood (or at least it looks like it) and the bar-stools are metal with seats that match the bar. There are step shelves behind the bar that hold the liquor (a large selection of tequila) and glasses. There are four large lights hanging over the bar that have large glass shades of varying pastel colors.

There is a classic Rockola jukebox (free) that has been converted to play CDs (mostly Mexican music). The extra space inside (CDs take up less space then records, I guess, has been outfitted with little flowers and skeletons, some of them in mariachi bands. I have a friend, the one that visited me in Mexico, that collects them so he would like this place.

I hear that this place used to be a speakeasy and it has nice brick walls on the side with the bar and a brick archway that leads to a back dining area. The brick wall in that area has hundreds of colorful votive candles. The rear wall has a giant photo of the horseman Pedro Armendariz (one of the original “Three Godfathers”). The other walls are pale yellow, planking in the front and plaster in the back. One wall, known as the Wall of Lovers, has a number of striking black and white portraits such as the one of actress Maria Felix, a well-known Mexican. Several silver framed mirrors are on the wall behind the bar-stools. There is also a nice little outside eating area on the street. All and all a nice little place and we will be coming back for dinner later.

I ordered a margarita and when I complemented the bartender (and one of the owners) Margariite (what a name for a bartender that makes margaritas, she gave my wife and I samples of two of her other specialties, a frozen hibiscus margarita and a ginger and blood-orange margaritta. A great way to start off a day of bar hopping. The margarita was rimed with chili salt, a great touch and one that I will incorporate into the margaritas that I make from now on.

I had a margarita.

369) The Four Faced Liar

Not too far away on West 4th between 6th and 7th was this neat little place. It has a decent sized old dark-wood bar and matching shelving behind it. A five tiered shelf behind the bar holds glasses on the lower tiers and liquor on the top three tiers. A few wine bottles and condiments are on part of the second tier and bills of various currencies are stuck to the back of the remainder. A living-room type of lamp sits on a shelf on one end of the bar. There is a large mirror above the shelves adorned with a couple of the bars tee shirts that are for sale. The wall behind the bar is brick and the other walls are royal-blue with mustard-yellow trim on the lower half and mustard-yellow on top. There is also royal-blue trim on top. It has a nice tin ceiling and wooden plank floors.

A large white dog was on patrol when I entered but he left, I guess he found everything to his liking. Royal blue settees that match the walls line two sides of the place. Wooden tables sit in front of them and wooden chairs and stools sit on the other side of the tables. Fairly large windows are above the settees on the street side.

Interesting trivia in the bathroom. Did you know that the tongue of the blue whale weighs more than most elephants? Neither did I.

I had a Magic Hat #9.

370) Caffe Vivaldi

A little place on Jones between Bleeker and West 4th. It has a small half-circle bar big enough for six wooden bar-chairs with brocade (with kind of a Mexican design) seats. Behind the bar are wine racks are high up on the wall above mirrors that are above a shelf holding wine and liquor bottles, a cash register, an espresso machine, and a coffee grinder. There is also a rack for glasses hanging just behind the bar. Above the bar at either end are suspended small lamps with green glass shades. Above the middle of the bar hangs fixture with two what look like gas lights that have been converted to electricity. A small buddha sits on the bar.

Pictures of dead composers hang on one wall and prints of fish done in an Asian style and some ink-blot looking art hang on another wall. A baby grand piano is tucked into one corner. There are windows along the wall on the street side. It is a narrow street so you never get much sunlight. There is also a picture of dancing gypsies.

I had a glass of Shiraz

371) Caliente Cab

A large Mexican restaurant on the corner of 7th and Bleeker. It is kind of a touristy place but the smaller bar area is quite nice. I am watching the bartender juice limes so I know the margarita will be good. The back end of a yellow Studebaker sticks out of the wall by the entrance. Lots of televisions hung on the wall, some smaller screens arranged almost like pictures. There is a big open bar with a huge ice-chest filled with ice and beer in the center. Above the chest is a tiered shelf holding an impressive liquor selection and an array of shot-glasses. There is also a metal rack over the bar that holds glasses.

The walls are tourquise, mauve, orange, and beige. The floor is beige with a few tiles that have red and yellow designs. The same type of tiles decorate the front of the bar. Wrap-around windows look out on the street and there is an outdoor seating area right above a subway trac and you can hear and feel the subway rumble underneath when it passes by.

I had a margarita.

372) Fish

Just next door on Bleeker and Jones is Fish. It has a nice dark-wood bar with a bar rail. Sitting on one end is a container of oysters on ice covered in seaweed. This place is a narrow, deep, shotgun-shack configuration that is common to a lot of older bars. Behind the bar at the end with the oysters are white deli-style tiles with a bit of black trim. There is also an aluminum shelf, a sink, and an antique scale. Behind the rest of the bar it is brick with a large mirror and shelves for glasses and liquor. Lights over the bar and hanging from the ceiling in the rest of the place have gun-metal gray inverted cone shades. The ceiling is dark tin and there are also overhead fans. On the back wall are some dark-wood fish and hanging on the wall behind the bar-stools are pictures related to fishing and oystering.

I had a Blue Point Oatmeal Stout (only $1.50 for happy hour).

373) Karavas

Well, I was now half in the bag and heading back to La Palapa Rockola and passed by this place (the bar area was closed earlier) and had to stop in. This is an old Village bar with a nice dark-wood bar and a cement ledge for your foot. The bartender conned me into putting two dollars into the juke box and then I found out you couldn't change the page of selections. Luckily there were two Rolling Stones album on the stuck page. Lot's of lights and arches behind the bar. The top of the arches look like teeth. There are mirrors underneath the arches and shelves with liquor. The back wall is festooned with Christmas lights.

There are dark-wood booths and overhead fans. Nice stone-like floors You need to get buzzed into the bathroom, for some reason. Entering the bathrooms feel like entering an Egyptian crypt.

I had a Widner Wheat beer and headed back to La Palapa Rockola for dinner (and another Margarita, of course).

A decent day, 6 bars and even more drinks (free samples did me in). That makes 373 for the year and 627 left to go. Got to get 126 more in before I hit 500 on May 14th. Run, Forest, Run.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Sunny Stroll

Ah, springtime in New York, just perfect for spending time in dark bars. At least my dermatologist will be happy that I am staying out of the sun.

364) Barrow Street Ale House

A good sized, dark Village type of place on 15 Barrow Street. Fairly narrow, but quite deep. Small octogon windows on the doors with a semi-circle window above and small, retangular windows on either side admit a bit of sunlight. A good-sized old dark-wood bar with a fairly ornate wood front. About a dozen dark-wood bar chairs. Nice old shelving behind the bar with three arched niches set off by large, ornate wood columns. The two end enclaves have mirrored backs and bottles on the wide, stepped ledge below the mirrors. A cash register and a little cooler for Red Bull sits in the middle niche. Four lamps with nice, stained-glass, shades hang above the bar.

Numerous narrow tables extend out from the walls and each has four wooden stools. There are two small, wall mounted lamps above each table. There are a cople of deer heads mounted on one wall and a boar's head with an American flag in its mouth and wearing Madi Gras beads hangs behind the bar. There were five televisions all showing the Yankee/Red Sox game.

I had a Newcastle Brown Ale.

365) Boxers

A corner bar, corner of West 4th and Barrow, to be precise. Large windows on two sides makes this place as light as the last one was dark. A large, rectangular dark-wood bar with a dark-wood front and a black-cement ledge for your foot. The bar-stools had burgandy vinyl seats fastened with large-headed brass studs. The center area is old dark wood as well and has two see-through arches. Garlands of white and blue flowers hang over the arches. A large picture of a dog, a boxer, of course, hangs above the area between the arches on my side of the bar, the side closest to the door. Three light-fixtures with three red bulbs each and nice stained glass shades hang above each side of the bar.

Dark wood half-walls with brick support columns and a brick ceiling, kind of unusual. Above the wood on two of the walls are serpia colored paintins of authors, Behan, Twain, Joyce, Wilde, and Hemmingway. The floor is worn black linoleum. Lots of little tables, some round, some square, with green and white checked tablecloths and small wooden chairs with the same type of seat as the barstools fill up the place. Red-bulbed lamps with flower-shaped white glass shades are mounted on the walls. Some black and white pictures also adorn the place.

I had a Meyer's Rum and coke.

366) Slaughtered Lamb

Named after the pub in the movie "Werewolf In London" (and there is a movie poster hanging one the wall) this place is owned by the same guy that owns Jekyl and Hyde. It is on the corner of West 4th and Jones. It has similar characteristics, but isn't quite so over the top. Still, there are a few skeletons about the place and charicatures of English sportsmen, mostly cricket players, hanging no the walls.

This place used to be the Peculier Pub and it then stocked over 180 kinds of beers. This one stocks a number of beers, but not nearly that many. The place downstairs where the Peculier Pub used to store their inventory is now called, what else, The Dungeon, and is open on week-ends to provide additional room to drink.

The place has a nice dark-wood beer with matching bar-chairs. A shelf above the bar holds glasses and step-shelves behind the bar, backed by a mirror, displays their beer selections and other liquors. A model train mounted high on the wall runs around the bar area (well, when it runs). There is a nice wooden floor and a fire place. Hanging lights look like coach lanterns. There is also a nice sized back room for drinking.

The bartender Mitch, very friendly, was interested in what I was writing and after I told him I got him to write a few comments of his own:

"The Slaughtered Lamb, unlike other theme bars, is fun for more than one visit. Make sure when you come you ask for Mitch, then, maybe, I'll get a better shift than Wednesday afternoons."

I agree, it is a nice place. If you visit do be sure to ask for Mitch so he can get a shift where people acutally tip and not people like The Bar Guy who is saving his money to go to the next place.

367) Tio Pepe

Located on 168 West 4th is this Spanish/Mexican restaurant and bar. It has a decent sized lightish-wood bar with nine bar-stools with dark vinyl seats wrapped around its half-rectangle shape. A nice matching set of wooden coolers and a shelf behnd the bar with tall, mirror-backed shelves holding bottles and glasses above. Recessed spot lighting above the bar.

Big windows in front look out at the Pink Pussy Cat Boutique that is almost directly across the street. Brick walls and half-walls add to the Spanish/Mexican look of the place. Dusty pinkish plaster walls above the bridk with the fronts of fake wine barrels and crossed swords hanging on them. Nice Spanish looking chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Three minature suits of armor stand guard over the stairs leading to the bathrooms. A couple of large landscape paintings of what I would imagine to be Spain hang on the side wall in the back and on the back wall. There are a lot of tables with comfortable looking chairs and a small, pleasant looking, outdoor eating area in the back.

I had a glass of merlot and headed off home.

Four for the day brings the total to 367 for the year with 633 remaining to go.

Good To Have Goals - Number 500

I am currently planning on hitting bar number 500 on May 14th. I haven't made any decision yet as to which bar that will be, but I plan on it being my only bar of the day. If any of you would care to suggest a bar and, perhaps, join me, please post a comment and let me know your ideas. One condition, of course, it cannot be a bar that I have already frequented.

I think doing this on a Saturday afternoon would be a good idea. Somewhere around 2:00 P.M. sounds good to me.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Visiting The Accountant

Today was the day of reckoning where I had to visit the accountant to have my taxes done. Relatively painless but I won't know the damage until next week. Needed a few drinks to settle down so I stopped at these places on the way home.

361) Partrick Conway's

Convenient to Grand Central, as are all three of the bars today, on 40 East 43rd is this classic Irish pub, the kind that abound in New York. A long dark-wood bar with a brass rail. Matching wood bar-chairs with burgandy padded seats. An ornate wooden set of coolers, drawers, and shelves behind the bar. Behind the bar are mirrors built into three arches with back-lite stained-glass on the top part. There are two Irish whiskies on tap, kind of, Paddy and Jameson. The paneling above the bar also has back-lite stained glass.

In the bar area there are a couple of waist-high partitions with brass rails and ledges where you can set a drink. There is also a narrow ledge with chairs in front of the leaded-glass windows that look out onto the street. Sports pictures and pictures of what look like old Irish buildings hang on the wall. There is a decent sized dining area in the back and another one downstairs.

I had a Pickwick's Lager

362) Annie Moore's

Just two doors down from Patrick Conway's is another classic Irish pub with a similar, but still distinct, look about it. Kind of the same long wooden bar with a brass rail and bar-chairs with padded green cloth-covered seats. The back of the bar was a bit more modern looking. Five arched enclaves seperated by either cabinets for glasses or decorative paneling. The enclaves on each end and in the middle have large mirrors and the other two have nice flat-screen televisions. There are two recessed overhead lights above each arch. Above the bar are hanging lights with inverted glass shades. Similar lights, but with six smaller lights extending out from them hang about the rest of the place. There are several other televisions mounted around the place. Nice wood walls and floor. There is a decent sized dining area in the back and some tables along one wall in the bar area. A small nook, two steps up, with a couple of tables by the window are up front by the windows.

I had a Bass Ale

363) TGIF

Yes, another TGIF. It was between the two bars I had just gone to so I figured, what the hell, knock of another one. There was a large stained-glass peacock behind the bar and a bit more of an Irish pub look to the place than normal. I suspect to somewhat imitate their neighbors. No point writing a lot about this place, if you have seen one you have seen them all. Oh, they did have a nice antique telephone booth with stained glass windows, but they only had one uni-sex bathroom for the whole place. Wouldn't want to be there when it was busy, if it ever gets busy.

I paid $8.00 for a Dewars and soda (still better then what I paid in Brooklyn) that came, for some reason, with a lime-slice in it.

That was it, just hit the three on the way home for 363 for the year and 637 left to go.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Greenwich Village Stroll

Ah, a nice sunny day and daylight savings time. Perfect for a late afternoon, early evening stroll in Greenwich Village.

355) Fiddlesticks

An extremely nice English style pub on the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Perry Street. There is a large, half-oval wooden bar that is very ornate and fairly massive. In the center of the bar area is a matching center shelf that rack for glasses that sits atop a more modern metal cooler for beer and wine. The bar stools are wooden with patterned fabric tops. The whole place is decorated with multi-colored Christmas lights and garlands of pine needles. This is a very large place with several rooms. The flooring is old wooden planking. All of the stuff in here looks authentically old. There are pew-like benches and round tables. Other benches with chairs and stools strewn about. Lot's of antique stuff, jugs, pictures, metal advertising signs, all of the furniture. The two back rooms have sofas and couches and look very cosy. Like someone's grandparent's parlor, back when grandparents had parlors. The walls are brick, dark wood, and yellowish plaster. The place looks very much like an authentic country English pub.

I had a Newcastle Brown Ale

356) Wogies

This is a smallish corner bar with wrap-around windows. It is on 39 Greenwich Avenue, not far from Fiddlesticks. Even with the windows it still manages to seem somewhat dark. It has a decent sized, seven bar-chairs, bar. The bar is dark wood with a silver colored rail. Some of the bar-chairs have dark-green vinyl cushions, but most do not. The back of the bar is wall-to-wall mirrors which makes the place look a bit larger. There are actually four large mirrors with narrow wood strips seperating them. Hanging over the mirrors are four lights with inverted, dull-grey cone-shaped shades. Plain dark-green shelves are behind the bar below the mirrors. These hold the liquor and glasses. Over the bar hang four bare old-fashioned lightbulbs.

Seperating the bar area from the seating by the windows is a waist-high wooden divider with a narrow ledge just big enough to set down a glass or a bottle. On top of the ledge is a glass or plexiglass extension. Booths line the by one set of windows and there is another booth against the back wall. There are a couple of interesting large black-and-white photos of cityscapes on the walls. It looks to be a nice comfortable neighborhood bar and was doing a fairly brisk business considering the early hour. The place is supposed to be known for their cheese-steaks

I had a Philly Ale.

357) Living Room Cafe @ Bar

Actually, only one nook of this place at 211 Waverly really looked like it could be someone's living room. There is a decent sized blond wood bar with a nice brass rail. There are five dark-wood bar-chairs. A nice semi-circle dark-red settee with a dark-wood coffee table sits in a nook behind the bar-chairs. There is just a no-frills setup behind the bar, metal coolers with bottles on top and a couple of mirrors. A stack of wooden shelves sits to one side of the cooler and wine racks with liquor and wine bottles occupy the corner at the other end of the bar.

The flooring is light-tan tile and the walls are kind of a dark-mustard color. The ceiling is rose-colored. Bright sunlight streamed in through the larg windows on this sunny, late-afternoon spring day.

I had a Corona ($5.40 - kind of a change from the $1.00 I was paying in Mexico).

358) Agave

This place, on 140 7th Avenue is also kind of at the intersection of Charles and West 10th street. The streets and avenues get kind of weird in this section of town and it is easy to get confused. There are large windows on two sides and a narrow, curved glass ceiling over the tables next to the windows on the 7th Avenue side. The bar has a metallic-silver gop with a white-plaster front. There is a nice, heavy bar-rail. Lamps with light-tan fabric shades sit on top of the bar. The bar-chairs are wood with brown padded vinyl seats and backs. Tall cacti sit on either end of the bar.

The bar, even though it is named Agave, has a real Southwestern decor with cattle skulls either painted or decorated with feather or both hang on the walls along with other Indian (the native American kind) style decorations such as shields, feathers, and such hang from the walls. The ceilings are timbered. The reason for the Southwestern decor is because the owner really likes Santa Fe, New Mexico and plans to retire there. Too bad they grow agave in Mexico, not New Mexico. They do have a large selection of tequilas though, the most expensive one going for over $50 a shot. Unfortunately, like so many bars in New York, they use a lime-juice mix instead of just frest lime-juice to make their margaritas. This, to me at least, is a real no-no and a sure way to spoil a margarita no matter what kind of tequila you use. If you name a place Agave, you should at least have fresh lime-juice available for those that request it.

I had a so-so margarita (but the chips and salsa with a few spiced olives were good).

359) i tre merli

When a place spells its name in all small letters you know it is just too cute for words. This place, at 183 West 10th Street, had a nice copper-topped semi-circular bar with a wooden edging. The front of the bar was copper as well. A large vase with thin tree-limbs covered with small yellow blossoms ast at one end. Mirror-backed glass shelving holding the liquor and wine supply was behind the bar. Lights with pale-green cone-shaped shades hung over the bar. They had great thin breadsticks in glasses on the bar.

Quite a small place for being on a corner. There were windows all around and mustard-yellow walls burgandy high-lites and a touch of brick. Mirrors with copper-colored frames hung on two walls. The chairs have wicker seats and the tables along two walls have maroon settees on one side of them.

I had a glass of pinot noir.

360) Riv

Take a few steps down to this place on the corner of West 10th Street and 7th Avenue and you enter a large, multi-leveled bar and restaurant. A long wood bar with a wood paneled front and the traditional brass rail. The bar-chairs have padded green-vinyl cushions. A window behind the bar provides you with a sidewalk level view of the passing scene. There are eight small-screen televisions above the window and a larger one on each end of the window. There are at least another 20 or 30 televisions around the rest of the place and they were all tuned to one or another sports channel. Brick, both natural color and painted white, and dark green walls and pillers give this a pubish look.

I had a Bass Ale and toddled off to catch a subway back home.

Not a bad day, 6 bars, 360 for the year, and 640 left to go.