Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Soggy Tribeca Street Fair

It was a damp and chilly day so much more time was spent inside than on the street. I pretty much confined myself to Greenwich Street which is where most of the fair took place.

461) Roc

On the corner of Greenwich and Duane Streets is this elegant Italian restaurant. It has a modern looking dark wood bar with metal trim that looked like it was brushed aluminum. It also has a chromed bar rail. A huge display of Japanese cherry blossoms in a clear glass vase sat on one end of the bar. Two living room style lamps with metal bases and cloth-like shades also sit on the bar. An nice set of shelves in dark wood and metal that matches the bar sits behind the bar. The bottom has refrigeration units and two built in shelves for liquor. Three framed mirrors, two with a tiered shelf for liquor in front and the one in the middle has the cash register sitting in front. The top of this unit is arched with shelves holding two large water or wine jugs decorated as heads wearing garlands of wines and what looks like oranges. Some brandies in fancy bottles sit on a shelf between the heads and above them are a couple of green pineapple looking things. The walls are white with curtained windows looking out at a park. There are shelves holding wine bottles and knick knacks. Two large mugs with faces on them sit on little shelves towards the back. The overhead lights are metallic looking and reminded me of the breast plates on the robot in the movie Metropolis. The tables outside were decorated with old scenic Italian postcards.

The female bartender was very pleasant and we had a nice conversation as I drank my Tanqueray and tonic.

462) Viet Café

As you walk down Greenwich Street, at 345, you can’t help but notice the painting of a large, smiling face of a Vietnamese peasant woman with a caption that says “Designation For The New Millenium.” The painting is on the wall of a restaurant and bar. The bar has a dark cherry wood looking top and, coincidently, has a huge display of Japanese cherry blossoms in the vase that was the same type as the one in Roc. They probably use the same florists. These blossoms were pretty sorry looking though, most of them seemed to be dead. A display of bronzed flowers in a dark, squat jug sat on the other end. These were holding up much better. The bar stools appear to be cherry wood, matching the bar. They were uncomfortably high though and too close together. The somewhat height impaired Chinese lady had a hard time climbing up and down. Large cylindrical orangish yellow lights hung over the bar and, somewhat improbably, had the Chinese word for health inscribed on the bottoms. Larger and narrower versions of these lights hang from the burgundy ceiling throughout the rest of the restaurant. Nice mirror back matching wood shelves behind the bar held bottles, Asian statues, jugs, an incense burner, and three gold Buddhas. The brick wall in the back was adorned with Asian prints and the pale yellow walls towards the front featured pictures of Vietnamese children. There is an attached store which sells Vietnamese objects of art and furniture.

I had a glass of Hugel Gentil Gewürztraminer while the Chinese lady had some non-alcoholic concoction that contained lemon grass and who knows what else and was kind of a carroty orange color.

463) Dominic

Whew! Another gorgeous place at 349 Greenwich Street. A rectangular bar with a top of pale green ceramic squares with a confetti-like pattern to it. The front of the bar is dark and there is no rail or foot rest. The bar stools are square and have dark-blue velvet-like cushioned seats and are very comfortable. A welcome change from the last place. Just a simple center serving station with shelves for bottles and glasses. Very interesting lighting hangs from the ceiling. Three of them look like colorful glass condoms, the ones with the reservoir tips. Another three are golden-colored affairs and another lighting fixture has blue shades. The lights above the bar look like inverted metal desk lamps, the kind you see jumping around in the at the beginning of movies by Pixar. Little lamps with blue shades sit on the bar. One long brick wall has an ornately framed mirror and various old photographs. Plates are mounted on the wall toward the back. The high-backed tan booths make you feel, or at least look, like a small child. The flat screen television mounted on the wall at one end of the bar was showing “Singing In The Rain.” Unfortunately, for a movie that is a musical and is about making the move to talking movies, it had the sound turned off. The floor has a wave pattern of black and white tiles in front and wood in back. Downstairs there was an intimate little dining room with just one long wood table with five chairs on each side.

I had a glass of red wine, Feudi Di San Gregorio Pinot Noir, quite tasty.

464) Pig & Whistle

Just down the block a bit at 365 Greenwich Street is a place with a big wood bar with brass rails. The bar chairs have green seats. The coolers have black doors and there are wooden shelves holding liquor and a large mirror above. At the very top is a shelf holding statues of characters such as Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. An old brass spittoon also sits behind the bar. There is old, English-style lighting. It looks like the street lights you see in Sherlock Holmes movies. This is an old looking place with a wood floor and brick walls with mirrors, posters, and a map of Ireland mounted on them. There were several televisions showing the Yankee Toronto game.

I had a draft Weisse, very refreshing.

465) Ivy’s Bistro

A bit further down Greenwich at 385 is a little, somewhat informal looking Italian restaurant with a bar. It was getting about dinner time and companion was getting a bit peckish, even though she ate something the bar at Dominic. I have to be honest though, I took a couple of bites myself. She found a table while I had my drink at the bar before joining her.

It just has a small bar that was fairly crowded. English style lighting mounted on light pink walls. The floors are blue carpeted and add a bit of poshness. Framed photos on the walls and candles on the table.

I had a shot of Metaxa, a nice Greek brandy, at the bar and then sat down for dinner.

A nice day with five bars hit bringing my total for the year to 465 with 535 left to go.

Friday, April 29, 2005

I Love Tribeca

I love the joy of discovering new places and Tribeca is full of them. I am going to go back here again on Saturday because they are having a street fair related to the Tribeca Film Festival.

456) Mocca Espresso Lounge

On a corner at 78 Reade Street is a place that looks like a fifties soda shop, as it would appear in Grease. A black marble bar top is supported by a large wood frame which surrounds two framed pink plastic panels that are lit from behind. The bar chairs have low backs and lime green cloth covered seats. Behind the bar is a set of coolers with metal doors. The metal top is covered by two bright rubber mats. Behind the mats are pink Lucite tiered shelves holding the liquor. The wall above the shelves, and going up about five feet, is a shiny bluish gray with 3 black and metallic shelves mounted on it. These shelves hold a few more liquor bottles. The wall above that and wrapping around to the right is a yellowish green with a large “Mocca…Feel Different” poster.

On the left behind the bar is an industrial type metal ladder going up to a little platform. A similarly constructed stairway on the other side of the bar goes up to another little platform. I am not sure what these are for, maybe a DJ at night. To the right of the bar along the wall is a pastry display and a place to buy sodas and coffee. The booths are red with holes in the backs and the chairs are the same color as the bar chairs. The front and one side wall are brown wood but dominated by large windows. The floor is black marble-like tile and the ceiling is pale green. Two nice flat-screen televisions are mounted on the walls one each side of the bar.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.

457) Fresh

This is a sister restaurant to Shore that I visited the other day and Coast, where I haven’t been yet. This one is at 105 Reade Street. The space is large and quite impressive. The bar itself is kind of mundane, old dark wood, plywood with a metallic stain in front and a wooden foot rest that looked like a miniature deck. Metal coolers behind the bar with interesting grayish Lucite shelving on top that holds liquor and glasses. A wooden wine rack sits to the left. Several vases with colorful flowers sat on the bar. The bar chairs were mod looking chrome and dark brown plywood. Small spot lights with yellow cons shaped glass shades hung over the bar. The walls are kind of a sea foam grayish blue and one wall is curved to give the impression of a breaking wave. The ceiling is white and narrow, tubular glass lighting hangs from it. A line of columns bisects the large dining area with white table cloths and elegant place settings. The back wall provides open views into the spic and span and well organized kitchen. Primarily a seafood restaurant, the manager said they only have one non-fish entrée and that only at night. It smells like its name, fresh, and I am noting this as a place to return to for dinner sometime.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.

458) Reade Street Pub

A long, narrow, fairly dark place. Wood-grained Formica bar with a tile foot rests. Shaded globe lights hang over the bar. The wall behind the bar is paneled with mirrors. Cooler with brown doors along with shelves holding bottles behind the bar. Chalk and white boards hanging on the wall list the beers and a few meal specials. Four televisions and some photos on the walls. There is a shelf above the mirrors that holds a lot of caps and a neat sculpture of iron workers sitting on a metal beam. Dark wood flooring and a brick wall above dark green paneling. A small fireplace. Lots of pictures, photos, and beer company mirrors hang on the walls. A black tin ceiling with school room type lights and fans hanging from it. A suspended railroad track held a non-operating train. An old globe sits on one end of the bar.

I had a Reade Street Ale. How could I not?

459) Dekk

A wide place at 134 Reade Street with an expanse of windows doors open onto the street. A dark blue plastic-like bar with tubular metal barstools with orange seats. Sprays of flowers in various containers, including a 5 gallon water jug, sit on the bar. The walls are a combination of old bricks and white ceramic tiles. Several screens showing movies and the back room is set up somewhat like a screening room. Overhead fans and black shaded lights hang from the white ceiling. A large outdoor eating area in front that was probably quite warm in the sun but inside it was a bit chilly because all of the doors were open. This is an interesting place that would probably be a lot of fun at night. A couple of round benches with the center raised in the middle held a couple of interesting displays of vegetation. Small vases with lilacs and a yellow tulip sit on the tables.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.

460) Yaffa’s

Located at the corner of Greenwich and Harrison Streets is Yaffa’s with impressive copper-clad restroom doors that are way down stairs. As you may have guessed, I had to go to the bathroom when I got here. There is a very nice old wood bar with a metal foot rest. The lights over the bar are very intricate beaded affairs and the two lights hanging from the ceiling elsewhere are interesting as well. One is similar to the lights over the bar, but larger, and the other one looks like an inverted bowl of fruit. Nice wood paneled, mirrored, and shelved bar back above coolers with wooden doors. A very large clock hangs on the wall to the right of the bar next to glass windows on Greenwich Street. The tables are covered with decoupage movie themed postcards. A small outdoor eating area on the street as well. A new tin ceiling and an old wood floor. The Tribeca Film Festival Street Fair is scheduled for tomorrow so there is a lot of activity on the street what with booths and stages being set up.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic and then, because I got into an interesting discussion with a couple who were looking to rent in the area, a couple of glasses of wine as well. Ah well, it was the last bar of the day and the subway was near.

Well, back to the numbers, 460 down and 540 left to go. Just two more weeks and I will hit the hump, then it is all down hill, probably in more ways than one.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tribeca Again

Got to love this little neighborhood. Just so many places to go. I had a decent day today and think I am going back one more time tomorrow.

448) Nathan Hale’s Bar

On 6 Murray Street, very close to the Park Place subway stop, is this somewhat typical Irish bar. The wooden bar has a black top and a heavy looking paneled front. It also has a brass rail. Nine beers on tap out of spigots mounted on three brass stations. Brown wooden bar chairs. The bar has a wooden overhang with recessed spot lights. The front of the overhang is decorated with framed soccer shirts and those pennant scarf things. Mirrors and shelves behind the bar with a small wooden cabinet on the left side. Everything sits on top of wooden cabinets that hold glasses, fruit juice, and condiments. Dark wood paneling and dark mustard yellow walls. Wooden floors and a gray ceiling. A couple of neat illuminated English beer signs, Boddington’s and Newcastle, extend out from the walls where the dining area starts. A few televisions but not a lot of decorations. A pennant proclaims NATHAN HALE’S OFFICIAL HOME OF THE METROSTARS AND U.S. SOCCER. Two Irish whisky dispensers behind the bar. There is a dartboard up front but you would have to move a couple of tables to use it.

I had a gin and tonic.

449) 2 Rivers

Just down the block is another place with a black topped bar. This bar top was shiny though. The front was smooth wood and there was a footrest. The bar chairs are black. Two small sets of shelves behind the bar hold the glasses and liquor. Another two shelves mounted on the red and yellow wall hold a few more bottles. There are several mirrors in ornate gold frames on the wall with the three higher ones angles so you get a view of the place. Ornate, somewhat globular lights hang above the bar and a small stained glass hangs from the ceiling in the back. There is original artwork, for sale, hanging on the walls and some small, framed Broadway playbills hanging high on the back wall just below another mirror. There were a few yellow booths up front.

I had a gin and tonic.

450) Murray Bar and Restaurant

Moving across the street and up a bit at 17 Murray Street was this place that had a kind of a 1950’s feel to it. Pale yellow walls with yellowish, inverted mushroom shaped lights hanging over the good sized wooden bar. A black foot rest and mostly black bar chairs (the back rest was more of a dark brown). A nice long, old wood and mirror cabinet combination behind the bar. Coolers and shelves below with a cabinet with glass shelves on top at each end. Two large mirrors between them with tiered shelves for the liquor in front of them. Toulouse Lautrec posters and French liquor posters hang on the walls in the back dining area. A gray tile floor and a vacant looking nook at the street-side of the bar. There is a window in it and it looks like something has just been removed. Perhaps it is being remodeled. A couple of old clocks, one looking like an old school clock and the other looking like a larger version but with the face and hands only, no frame. Two televisions, one showing CNN and one showing ESPN.

I had a gin and tonic.

451 20/20 Lounge

Not far away, (Is this a great street, or what?) at 20 Murray Street is the 20/20 Lounge. A really neon looking place. Panels of back lit colored plastic line the space above the bar and to the left. Inverted cone-shaped shades cover yellow, rose, and turquoise lights over the leather topped wooden bar with a wood topped footrest. The wall behind the somewhat Asian looking bar chairs with wine-colored brocade fabric seats has neat blue lights and plastic squares of red and blue. The back room has a fluorescent mural of Latin musicians. There are more blue lights back there as well. A fun looking place and I enjoyed myself.

I had a Tanqueray and Gin (the bartender talked me into a name brand here).

452) Shore

Moving down the street a bit to 41 Murray Street is this place that, yes, does have a bit of a shore look to it even though it is in downtown Manhattan. An old dark wood bar with a brass rail and rattan and black metal chairs. A large part of the bar has a Plexiglas covered ice bin with oysters. Sitting on top of the Plexiglas covering are several small model sailboats. The sides and back of this has a wide metal surface for opening them. In front the bar is wider so you can sit there and eat your opened in front of you oysters.

There is old dark wood cabinetry behind the bar with coolers on the bottom and mirrored shelves holding the liquor above. Square, fabric covered lights hang over the area behind the bar while small round spots with little disk shades illuminate the bar itself. White brick walls on one side and a raised dining area in back with red walls and black paned windows. Lots of little, and not so little, fishing pictures hang on the wall. One neat booth is built into what looks like an old elevator.

I had a Beefeater and tonic.

453) A&M Roadhouse

Still on Murray Street, but a bit further down at 57, is another Tribeca roadhouse with a real roadhouse look to it. A big wood bar with a brass rail and a combination of wooden bar chairs and metal bar stools with black seats. Brick walls in the back where there is a pool table. Lots of neon bar sighs and one large “Ben Caffrey’s Pic-A-Rib” sign with a large neon pig. There is a good-sized display of hot sauces in a shelf mounted on the wall. Wooden coolers with wooden doors below wooden shelves behind the bar. The shelves hold the liquor supply, glasses and, more stuff. A collection of Susan B. Anthony dollars, shot glasses, fire department and police department patches, stuff. There are sport caricatures mounted on the over hang hanging over the bar. Tables in the back where the walls are brick and there is a hammerhead shark mounted overhead. Neon beer signs on the ceiling and a wood floor. Stop in, you will like it. Friendly people.

I had a gin and tonic.


Headed over to Warren Street and at 22 Warren Street found this British restaurant and bar. It has a modern looking dark wood bar and brown wood stools with mustard colored vinyl seats. A brick wall behind the bar with mounted wooden shelves and a mirror. There is a refrigeration unit with glass doors. Pictures of London cityscapes are hung on the pale green walls behind the stools. Interesting double rounded cone lights over the bar gave off a kind of a keep-the-mosquitoes-away yellow glow. There are nice looking booths in the back. A fairly small place and I was the only customer.

455) Spaghetti Western

There are just so many bars in this little area that it kind of blows your mind. I was actually headed for the subway and home when I passed, or, almost passed, this place at 59 Reade Street. It is an Italian restaurant with a old wood bar and a black footrest. The same kind of puffed out cylindrical lights that I have seen before hung over the bar. Dark yellow wall and mirrors behind the bar were framed with heavy wooden shelves. Angled mirrors above lights in the back. The lights look like they belong in Grand Central Station, quite ornate. Black overhead fans and a yellow, what looked to be fake tin, ceiling. The bartender was the pinkest bartender that I have ever seen, pink jacket, pink blouse, pink skirt, pink glasses. Just really, really pink.

I had a Tanqueray Ten martini, a drink to seal my doom after a day like today, and headed to the subway and home.

A good day of drinking but with a bit of a sad note to it. One of the reasons that I hung around as late as I did was to wait for a bar named the Orange Bear to open. It was a really nice dive bar, and the mysterious Chinese lady once knew the owner. But, alas, I was informed that the place is now closed. If anyone has any information about the fate of this fine establishment, please let me know.

But, anyway, I hit eight bars today for a year-to-date total of 455 leaving 545 to go. My more immediate goal, of course, is number 500 on May 14th. I need to hit 44 more before then.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Trip To Tribeca Redux Again

There were a couple more bars that I had heard that I should try in this neighborhood so I figured I would pop back for a quick peek. I wasn’t disappointed as both bars were worth the visit.

446) Brady’s

Located at 67 Murray, is this narrow place that is quite deep. A good-sized dark wooden bar in front and a bunch of tables and chairs in the back for eating. A brick wall behind the bar with a few mirrors, some photographs, a small shelf to display beer. A broad shelf above ice chests and coolers behind the bar hold the liquor. A couple of bottles of Irish whiskey are mounted upside down for easy dispensing of shots. A narrower shelf above the mirrors and other stuff holds an eclectic collection of stuff: a Jets helmet, a fireman’s helmet, beer steins, lanterns, horse shoes, model cares, bottles and jugs, just stuff. A good-sized Statue of Liberty sits in the middle of the shelf down below. Above the bar is a dark wood overhang with recessed lights. The generic “stained glass” lights hang over the brown wood bar chairs with pea soup green seats. Mirrors and dark paneling behind the bar chairs. The walls are off-yellow with dark wood paneling going half way up in front. There is a narrow shelf on top of the paneling for drinks and chairs to sit on. There is a dart board for competitive playing.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.

447) Dakota Roadhouse

At 43 Park Place is this not-to-be-missed place. A long wooden topped bar with a corrugated tin front and black foot rest looks normal enough, until you notice that it is lined with mouse traps. Then there are the two large screen televisions behind the bar playing someone’s personal video mix featuring everything from videos of street violence, workout videos, sports highlights, music, and who knows what else. You are actually warned by the female bartender that it might be best not to pay too much attention to it. Behind the bar is a set of brown wooden coolers and the wide top holds tiered shelves of bottles, a couple of cash registers and glass shelves holding glasses and a display of beer bottles. The wall is mirrored. Above the bar are two strings of Budweiser Christmas lights. Above that the wall is a faded dark green corrugated metal with Atchafalaya Fish Co. painted in large faded red letters. A bunch of neon beer signs hang on it but most of them weren’t working so I don’t know if they were broken or just turned off. Some kind of large papier-mâché crocodile hangs behind the bar as well wearing paper clothes. Lots of stuff to see, a wooden skeleton, a large paper moon face, mounted deer heads. There is a large American flag on one wall.

This place is quite large with a couple of pool tables and a foosball machine in the back. The lights over the pool tables have nice purple shades. On one wall in the front is a large mirror totally covered with glued on empty hot sauce bottles. Kind of a nice affect. There are booths in the back and an upstairs area that I didn’t get around to checking out. Lots of stuff to see in here and they have very good spiced peanuts on the bar.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic and headed home. I hope to go back again tomorrow and hit a few more. I will probably go later in the day so I can pick up a few places that don’t open until then.

A slow day, but planned that way. Crept up to 447 for the year with 553 left to go. Hoping to make a bit better headway tomorrow, but we shall see how it goes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Trot To Tribeca Redux

Another decent day and I knew there were more bars waiting for me not far from where I was yesterday. I hopped on the subway and headed back to Chambers street where I resumed my quest.

442) Odeon

In the heart of what is known as downtown Tribeca at 145 West Broadway, between Thomas and Duane, is Odeon, a very nice restaurant and bar. It has a long wooden bar with the standard black foot rest. The chairs are bamboo-like and have bright red, purple, and black woven plastic seats. A metal-lined well built into the bar that holds crushed ice and glasses. Only four beers on draft, but an interesting selection, Guinness, an Irish stout and not that uncommon anymore, Dentergems Witbier, an unfiltered white Belgium ale, Gaffel Kolsch, a German blond ale, and Fuller’s London Pride, an English pale ale. A large clock illuminated with pink and green lights hangs on the wall to the right of the bar. Large globe lights hang from the ceiling. Behind the bar is a large, art deco type of wooden structure with glass shelves, mirrors, and tubular yellow lights that gives it somewhat of a jukebox look. The walls are light yellow with grayish green trim that matches the ceiling.

Angled mirrors above let you see the very crowded dining area that is separated from the bar area by a long black and red booth like sofa with a glass divider mounted on top. Although there are small tables in front of the seating people seemed to prefer either eating at the bar or waiting for a “proper” table.

I had the Dentergems Witbier, very tasty.

443) City Hall

Located in an 1863 landmarked cast iron building at 131 Duane Street, between Church and West Broadway, is a very elegant restaurant and bar. Pretty much everyone was in business attire so I felt a bit scruffy myself. The fairly large bar has a metal surface that is almost mirror -like. The front of the bar is wood paneled with a setback metal grid at the top. An unusual bar rail, a bit like a metal band with the wide side facing out. The wooden bar chairs have brown cloth seats with a light brown floral pattern. There is a set of mirror backed wooden shelves behind the bar. Globe lights hang by small black chains from the high ceiling above the bar. A good-sized set of wine racks behind glass doors on the wall to the right of the bar and large wine-racks above the shelves that hold the liquor. A small stairway leads up to a little platform that appears to have dining table. Behind and to the right of the bar were two large pictures of an old Kosher wine shop and storage area.

The walls are a combination of brick and light yellow. Paneled glass doors at the back lead out to what looks to be a narrow walkway and a brick wall. A small fountain is mounted on the wall. The floor is large black and white checks and there is a nice outdoor eating area. Someone at the bar was eating raw oysters and the presentation was very nice.

I had a draft Allagash White, from New England’s original Belgium style brewery.

444) Raccoon Lodge

Ah, a bar that lives up to its name on the corner of West Broadway and Warren Street. A good-sized old beat-up wooden bar with metal bar stools that had pretty beat-up green vinyl seats. The whole place is kind of old and beat up. Behind the bar it is a total clutter of bottles, bags of chips, mirrors, glasses, baseball caps, police shoulder patches, photos, gumball machines, just stuff. A decent pool table towards the back and, somewhat incongruously, a well-maintained aquarium. Plastic looking stained glass shaded lamps hang over the bar. Some slow-moving overhead fans hang from what looks like a tin ceiling. There are a bunch of video games and an out of place ATM. A stone wall in the back and a dark, wood-planked wall on one side. A few tables and chairs. A couple of large moose heads are mounted on the wall along with what looked like a smaller deer head. No raccoons that I saw. A very loud female bartender was discussing the personal relationships of show business personalities with a guy at the end of the bar. They knew way too much.

I had a Sam Adam’s Boston Lager

445) Biddy Early’s

A narrow, but quite deep, Irish bar at 43 Murray. It is old and dark, like a good Irish bar should be. A long wooden bar with a metallic looking top. Several mirror backed shelves hold the liquor supply and glasses. This place also has a lot of stuff on the shelves, and hanging from the ceiling and walls. More stuff than can easily be described so you just have to go there and check it out. You can also read a biography of Biddy Early, if you are so inclined. Irish road signs point the way to Eatharlack Glen of Aherlow, Beal Atha Poirin Ballyporeen, and other places you might want to go. More of those generic stained glass lamps hang over the bar. There is a dartboard off to the side with a couple of tables against the wall out of the shooting lane. There were several television sets and most of the interest seemed to be focused on the Washington D.C. New England soccer match. A friendly crowd and female bartender. I ended up ordering hot buffalo wings and although they weren’t overly hot they were very tasty and you got a very large portion.

I had a draft Old Speckled Hen and headed on home.

Well, 445 for the year and 555 left to go. Got to get 54 of them knocked off before May 14th. Should be a piece of cake.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Trot To Tribeca

Another pleasant day, although a bit blustery. I didn’t want to go too far so I headed to lower Tribeca. Just took the subway to Chambers Street and hopped off. Didn’t have to wander very far to find a large selection of bars. I think I am going to head back again tomorrow.

437) Mudville 9

Right on Chambers Street between West Broadway and Church Street. This place has a long, copper-topped wooden bar with a black and red checkerboard front and a black ledge for a foot rest. Cherry wood colored bar chairs with dark red vinyl seats and backs. The built in cabinets behind the bar have black doors with tiered gray shelves on top that hold the liquor and glasses. There were narrow mirror above the top shelves. Six televisions above the bar and at least another six around the rest of the place. The World Juggling Federation competition was showing on a couple of them and Toby Walker had just taken the lead in the Advanced Club division.

Pale orange walls with wood paneling going halfway. The ceiling was black and the floor was a somewhat faded turquoise and black checked tile. Lights in black cylindrical metal shades hanging from the ceiling keep the place pretty bright. Lots of sports related, mostly baseball, pictures on the walls along with a few framed mirrors. A friendly female bartender and a largely regular crowd. The bartender told an entertaining story about how she got into the business that involved someone passing out naked on the toilet.

Vova Galchenko just overtook Toby to win the hotly contested Advanced Club event and I had a draft Mudville Bock Beer.

438) Ecco, the Italian Saloon

An elegant Italian eatery just next door to Mudville 9. The front holds the good sized wooden bar with a half dozen wooden chairs with wine colored vinyl seats. A large black bowl-like vase at one end of the bar held a large, colorful bouquet of mixed flowers. Lovely dark wood cabinets behind the bar has shelves with glass doors, some drawers, and mirrors. The friendly female bartender told me it was imported from Austria and had been in a pharmacy there. This restaurant is about thirty years old but the cabinet was estimated to be between 150 and 200 years old. It really was very nice. The cabinet held a large selection of liquors and wine.

The wall behind the bar has a large booth-like bench with five tables in front and chairs on the other side. The tables are covered in white cloth tablecloths and the place settings were quite nice. Large mirrors that match the ones behind the bar line the dark cream colored wall. Above the mirrors are framed old playbills. This same decorative scheme is carried out in the small dining area in the back as well. Those same inverted mushroom shaped lights that remind me of the ones that you find in school rooms hang from the ceiling. The floor is a light tan and black mosaic tile with the tan tiles forming squares and the black tiles framing them. The ceiling and trim is ox blood.

The bartender was from Spain and when she found out that I was going there in the fall she gave me some useful suggestions regarding places to visit and sights to see. I had a very pleasant stay and had a nice Chianti, no fava beans.

439) The Patriot

At the other end of the fairly short block was this bar that was kind of at the opposite end of the spectrum from Ecco. It was a real honky tonk bar, but in a kind of a good way. The female bartender was about as hyper as you could imagine, singing, dancing, and whistling (very well too) along to the music while encouraging the customers to drink up. She was a fairly good job of it too, from what I could see. A group drinking shots of Jack Daniels and beers at two in the afternoon on a Monday always impresses me. I also liked the large crocodile riding a surf board with a bra in its mouth that hung from the ceiling.

There is a big old wooden bar with a black foot ledge. Mixed bar stools and chairs. There is a brick wall behind the bar with mirrors and shelves for bottles. One side wall looks like it was used by a painter to clean his brushes. Also, as you would expect in a bar named The Patriot, was a large American flag. A few skulls hung on the wall and from the old, wagon wheel lighting fixture that hung from the ceiling. One of the steer skulls sported a large set of elk horns. There is an upstairs area that I didn’t get a chance to see and a good selection of songs on the jukebox. Kind of a must-stop-in-to-see-it kind of place.

I had a draft Bass Ale and felt a bit conspicuous seeing as how everyone else seemed to be drinking bottles of Bud.

440) Mary Ann’s

On the corner of West Broadway and Reade Street is this Mexican restaurant and bar that, unfortunately, uses a margarita mix instead of fresh lime juice. A real turn-off for me. A dark wooden bar with a bit of a jot to it. The front is a weird metallic relief of some type that looked somewhat medieval to me. The floor and foot rest is Mexican tile. The walls are a dark orange wash. Mirrors and a fairly simple shelf behind the bar. The wall separating the kitchen and dining area had a turquoise and rust colored Aztec design relief. The ceiling was a dark bluish green tile with what looked like wood and cement beams. Nice hanging lights that had a Spanish look to them.

Now maybe I was sour on this place because of the lack of fresh lime juice, but this was another place where the female bartender was much more interested in talking to her two friends at the other end of the bar than paying attention to her customers. It looked like you were supposed to get a bowl of chips and salsa with your drink but only a half empty bowl of chips and no salsa was in front of me. No offer was made to refresh it or get me salsa. On the other hand, I did learn that the bartender’s friend was going to get her nails done and then they were going to get together later after the bartender got off of work at 5:00 P.M. She did ask me if I wanted another drink as I was getting up to leave though. Great timing.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.

441) Delphi

Right across the street from Mary Ann’s is this kind of a combination of a Greek diner and bar. The bar top is dark wood inlaid with two lighter wood strips. It has a brass rail. The bar chairs are wooden with backs and they swivel. The ceiling looks like a wooden grate and has glass bulb lights, single and clustered, in wrought iron holders hanging from it. There is low wood paneling with white plaster above. Arched windows and doorway face Reade Street and there is a glassed-in dinning area on the West Broadway side. What I presume are Greek landscapes hand on the walls. There are two arched glass windows behind the bar above tiered shelves holding liquor and wine above more shelves holding more liquor and glasses.

I had a glass of some kind of red Greek wine that the bartender recommended. It was very good and I regret that I didn’t get the name.

Not a bad day with 441 bars for the year and 559 left to go.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Another Hop To Hoboken

433) The Shannon Lounge

This is an Irish bar that, if not for its size, looks like it could be somebody’s well appointed basement recreation room. Located right downtown at 106 First Avenue, it has been in business for 50 years and is still owned by members of the same family. I guess that helps to account for its homey atmosphere. One of the owners, Marie, was cleaning up the place after what she said was a wild Saturday night. Kind of wish I had been there. She was most friendly and after she found out that I was taking notes showed me around (an impressively large back room, currently just being used for storage until some “issues” are resolved) and told me a little about the place. It has a large oval bar with a kind of reddish wood top and a paneled front. It has a tiled foot rest and wooden bar chairs with green cushions. A large set of coolers with wooden doors sits in the middle of the bar area. Its top is covered with bottles, a cash register, and a case for cigarettes (you can still smoke in the bars in New Jersey). Light colored wooden paneling goes halfway up the pale yellow walls. There are lots of green Guinness pennants hanging from the ceiling. Guinness, Smithwick’s , and Harp mirrors hang on the walls. They have a dartboard and host dart leagues.

This might very well be the bar I would hang out in if I lived in Hoboken, after I checked out the action on Saturday nights. I had a draft Smithwick’s.

434) McSwiggans

Just down the block at 110 First Avenue, on the Corner of First Avenue and Bloomfield Street, is another Irish pub that has that traditional look about it. It has a pool table in the back. The bar looks like it has a newly finished top and has a brass rail. The bar chairs are wood with pale green vinyl seats. There were three televisions behind the bar and the large one in the middle tinted all flesh blue. Made the baseball game much more interesting. Flanking the Blue Man Group television were blond wood tiered shelves holding bottles. More of the Guinness pennants hung from their ceiling (not as many as at The Shannon Lounge, however) and it had Bass and Harp mirrors hanging from their walls. There was a brick fireplace and brick and dark wood walls. Stained glass lights hung from the ceiling and the bar was lit with recessed spots. The bartendress here was quite pleasant as well and turned out to be a pal of Marie next door. Another comfortable place.

I had a Guinness

435) Mulligan’s

An Irish soccer bar at 159 First Avenue. At least eight televisions that I counted with soccer on all of them but one. A large collection of soccer team shirts were displayed on the ceiling behind the bar. There were also soccer team pennants that looked more like fringed scarves. A large Jets banner and a little guy dressed in a kind of Jets uniform were also on display. There was a pool table in a back room. The bar was brown wood with a brass rail and there are wooden bar chairs with brown vinyl seats. The walls are brick with wood paneling that goes half-way up. The ceilings are wood with brass overhead fans. Irish themed pictures are on the wall behind the bar chairs. The floors are old wood except right around the bar where they are tile. There are three different pumping stations on the bar, one a brass tube, one a more ornate brass one, and a ceramic Carlsberg one. A dartboard was also hanging on a wall.

I had a Sam Adam’s White Ale.

436) Busker’s Bar and Grill

On the corner of First Avenue and Bloomfield Street (kitty corner from McSwiggans), and right behind City Hall is this eye-popping Irish bar and grill. There is so much stuff in the place that it looks kind of like an Irish themed gift shop. The interior was designed by O’Sullivan Interiors from Waterford, Ireland so I guess it is an authentic looking upscale Irish pub. The wooden bar is beautiful with a twisted iron bar rail. The cabinets behind the bar is a combination of mirror backed shelves, little drawers, some with brass handles, some with wooden handles. There are what look to be Irish antiques all over the place. Beautiful floor that is a combination of tiles and wood. The lamps over the bar look like opaque cupcakes viewed from the bottom. Glass exhibit cases hold all kinds of neat stuff. The place really is gorgeous and deserves a look if you are in the neighborhood. After a beer at the bar my wife and I had dinner at a table in front of a nice stone fireplace with large candles on the mantle. My lamb shank was delicious but, unfortunately, my wife’s seafood dish, the chef’s special, was lacking. The wine, however, Pepperwood Cabernet, was delicious and reasonably priced. My wife enjoyed it and she usually prefers white wines. The staff was plentiful and very attentive. The hand driers are far and away the most powerful I have ever encountered and actually did the job they were designed to do.

I had a Blue Moon Belgian Ale at the bar before dinner.

After dinner we caught the Path back under the river to Manhattan and then a subway home to Brooklyn. Not a bad day. The bottle of wine with dinner slowed me down a bit but I did hit four which makes 436 for the year and leaves 564 to go. Need 63 more before May 14th so I can celebrate my 500th at The Gate. The frenzy builds.