A Sarcastic Appetite

Drinks off the 6
May 10, 2009, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I was studying in London I found one of the most fantastic websites ever: it was solely devoted to pub crawls. You could generate your own crawl based on a neighborhood, yes, but you could also spell a specific word using the first letter of each pub. (Think of the options! “Happy Birthday” or “Hungover” or “Merry Christmas” or “Maybe we should see other people.”) Or you could create one crawl based on pubs within sight of whichever pub you’d chosen to start in.

The one option that most intrigued me, however, and unfortunately was one I never got to try, was a pub crawl based on Tube lines: you get out at alternate stops on any particular line, stop into the listed pub for a pint, and get back on the Tube – all the way out to the end, at which point you turn around and head back, stopping at the ones you skipped on the way out. Genius, right?

Unfortunately I haven’t yet had a chance to map out pubs, bars, or winebars near each of the 468 stations in the MTA…but maybe one day I will. I’m starting small: the 6, which we all know and love, heading south from 125th St. Each place listed is within 5 blocks of the respective subway stop. Now you’ve got a place to check out on your way in, or check into on your way out, no matter where you’re headed – as long as you’re, you know, on the 6 and south of 125th St, anyway…

Oh, and if there are any brave, intrepid souls out there who want to do this as a pub crawl, well, you know where to find me. Come on! It’s only 20 stops!


125th St.: Lenox Lounge, on Lenox between 124th and 125th Sts.

Lenox Lounge is still a stronghold for Harlem jazz and traditional Southern & Soul cooking. The kitchen’s open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. 

116th St.: Camaradas El Barrio, First Avenue at 115th St.

A neighborhood heavyweight, not for the faint of heart; a rotating list of live bands and DJs, not to mention drink specials, Ladies Night offerings, and an impressive beer list (from Columbia’s Aguila to Germany’s Löwenbräu) make it a popular choice with the locals.

110th St.: Amor Cubano, Third Avenue at 111th St.

The menu is classic Cuban, with a fresh, updated drinks selection: 6 kinds of mojitos, including a champagne variation.

103th St.: JOY Burger Bar, Lexington at 100th St.

Just south of famed French-Mexican bistro Itzocan is JOY burger, a brightly lit bare-bones burger joint with a tiny bar. The eats and drinks are cheap; the menu focuses on, unsurprisingly, burgers and homemade sauces. 

96th St.: Kinsale Tavern, Third Avenue at 94th St.

An exhaustive beer list and surprisingly good pub grub. A bunch of tvs means the game will always be on – even if you’re a rugby or a football fan, since it tends to be that kind of crowd. I once saw a guy drinking here and reading the paper at 10am on a Saturday – at Kinsale, it’s never too early to stop in for a pint, apparently.

86th St.: Maz Mexcal, 86th St. between Second and Third Avenues

Count on Maz Mexcal for a lively bar scene, nice margaritas, and the highly recommended mole poblano.

77th St.:  Sake Hana, 78th St. near Second Avenue

The tiny outpost of next door’s Sushi Hana, Sake Hana features, well, you guessed it – sake, and the requisite Japanese bar snacks. Quarters are cramped, so come early and set up shop.

68th St.: Phoenix Park, 67th St. between Second and Third Avenues

A psuedo-dive bar with above average food and a sizeable outdoor patio that’s open until 11. Service is a little slow but the kitchen’s open until midnight; a nice selection of 9 beers on draught and 11 bottles.

59th St.: The Subway Inn, 59th St. at Lexington Avenue

A king among dive bars, and a relic of old New York. It’s directly across 59th St. from Bloomingdale’s, and you’ve seen the neon sign a thousand times but never paid attention until Anthony Bourdain told you to go there on No Reservations. Oh, wait, that was just me. 

51st St.: Bill’s Gay Nineties, 54th St. near Madison Avenue

A pedigreed former speakeasy in Midtown…need I say more? The story goes that waiters pulled levers to drop the booze into a sandpit below when the cops came nosing around. Have a drink at the bar and toast to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933….thank goodness.

42nd St.: Wheeltapper Pub, 45th St. between Lexington and Third Avenues

Wind your way back through the pub, past the televisions that broadcast Metro North departures, and out into the enclosed garden with a few scattered tables suitable for larger groups. The menu is upscale pub grub; order the sliders with caramelized onions. They’re delicious.

33rd St.: Rattle & Hum, 33rd St. near Fifth Avenue

An unexpected oasis to escape the throngs of tourists descending on the Empire State Building. They’ve got almost 40 (40!) brews on draught, and they’ll sell you Growlers to go. What’s not to like? 

28th St.: Failte Irish Whiskey Bar, Second Avenue near 30th St.

Failte (pronounced FALL-cha) means “Welcome” in Irish, and welcome you will feel at this classic Irish pub. There’s also a fireplace and a pool table in the back; stop by if you’re in the neighborhood to see a movie at the Kips Bay AMC Theatre, which is just across the street.

23rd St.: ‘inoteca, 24th St. at Third Avenue

Sit in the light-filled lounge; order the reasonably priced Prosecco and try the truffled egg toast (with bottarga – cured fish roe – if you’re feeling adventurous). The small plates formula works on Rivington and it works here too; the place is usually jammed, but if you can sneak in at an off hour, you’ll be fine.

14th St.: The House, 17th St. near Irving Place

An elegantly restored carriage house in Gramercy Park with three floors devoted eating and drinking. You’ll rub shoulders with a twenty and thirty-something crowd on the main level and your grandmother’s crowd upstairs – or snag the chef’s table in the lower level if you’ve got a big enough group. The bottles are fairly expensive, so stick with a quartino of wine or the cocktails, like a Negroni or a Blood Orange Martini, perhaps.

Astor Place: Caracas Arepa Bar, 7th St. near First Avenue

Caracas is a sliver of a restaurant serving up that Venezuelan specialty: stuffed arepas. La Jardinera is a favorite, as is La Sureña; have a beer or two while you wait for a table, or get your arepas to go.

Bleecker St.: 2A, Avenue A at 2nd St.

2A’s been around since the 80’s, when the neighborhood was, um, a little less gentrified. It’s a classic dive bar in the best sense of the term; a daily 2-for-1 happy hour from 4pm to 8pm is just the icing on the cake.

Spring St: Bar 89, Mercer St. near Spring St.

It’s the bathrooms, everyone goes crazy for the bathrooms at Bar 89. Check them out for yourself, though you’ll have to be willing to plunk down upwards of $10 for a cocktail in the large, airy, loft-like space.

Canal St: Macao Trading Company, Church St. between Lispenard and Walker

Sidestep the one star Frank Bruni from the New York Times bestowed on the place in April and belly up to the bar. The team that brought you Employees Only may be going for something a little far fetched here, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. And don’t miss those chicken dumplings – Bruni says so.

Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall: Bridge Café, Water St. at Dover St.

This place opened in 1794 and claims to be the oldest continually operating tavern in the city. Need I say more?



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