< topography - E.Vill.

  

Beauty Bar
14, 1/2
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Make it a week night; or make it a weekend and suffer the frattype factor—from where do they come? In the case of the former, you might actually think that you're in PDX, for a moment anyway, until you pay up for that beer, that is, kittling. Sitting in the hair dryer chairs is so much fun that you will probably ignore the ungenerous pour. { PK1 11/19/99: As Barmacy is to pharmacy so Beauty Bar to (anti)styling salon. You're still on 14th St., but the walk to the L is shorter.} [Ho-hum, deedle-ee-doo, swinging through on a Monday night...the frattypes, it would seem, are all at home (gotta get that beauty sleep, gotta be rested for that rat race tomorrow a.m.), and so Beauty Bar's weeknight majority moves on in: the E.Vill. tattoo consortium. I watch a man showing his arms and chest to a pair of girls that look to be about 16, and I wonder why  I was carded. PK1 says it's because I have no visible ink...on a Monday night, swinging out, deedle-ee-dum, ho-hee.] { Jakeed 10/30/00: forget about it you won't notice this place smells exactly like strong vomit as soon as you're finished with your first drink}

Looking Glass
3 Ave @ 13
E.Vill.
Manhattan
This step-down, low-ceiling dive is essentially an NYU bar, where frattypes with fake IDs order pitcher after pitcher of Bud Light. The box is pretty good, nevertheless, and there seems to be plenty of room to sit. { PK1 12/7/99: Unless your current lover bartends here, or for some other reason you're getting you're drinks for free, what is the point?} { BrooklynBelle 2/4/00: Yes...it's a hole in the wall. Yes...the patrons of the bar are sporadic and questionable...but I urge you kittlings to have a long neck or two on a sunday/monday evening and discuss the genius of bill murray or bill hicks and perhaps the importance of pork with the tall, brooding, very hungover bartender...who upon closer inspection and eventual prodding...is the incarnation of Zorba the Greek. "Oh my lamb is burning! Let us drink the wine then!"}

Dicks
2 Ave, across from Orson's
E.Vill.
Manhattan
{ namenskid 3/9/01: Here goes my first review for you.../ A mixed-v-straight-drink verbal exchange reminds me of when in spring of 00 I drank Beam for hours in Dicks, before snakily cuing an after-hours sitch that slammed both of us into the a.m. light hurtlocker. Dicks: fantastic-friendly, a booze + pool switch from Cock-like joints. Dicks' bar is its heart; flashes cross my mind that time that  Cheers should be revamped queer with Frasier dating a drag queen and so on, endless possibilities. Plus Dicks has one of the best jukes in town hands down. /...dig?}

Orson's—RIP,sort of
2 Ave @ 12
E.Vill.
Manhattan
I for one had a marvelous time when I went to Orson's. In fact, it was just marvelous enough that I fear a jinx should I return. The drinks—if I remember (if!)—were reasonably priced, the service slack but not to the point of annoyance. { MisterDasein 2/9/00: This place has, sadly enough, closed. It was small and medium dark, a local hangout for years, and they had really good sandwiches. RIP.} [What's going on here? There's a slick "bar" occupying the Orson's site, and it has a matching shiny white motorcycle parked outside...it's  way too late to say, "There goes the neighborhood," so I'll simply bark: yuck.]

Tomi
10, 1/2 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
{ P.k-7 10/13/00: discussing the perception of our slipping into typically adult modes of living with part of the SYborg was possibly a testament to it having already taken place. it appears too late, and to be too late. we attempted, not without some measure of success, optimism.} [Tomi: "Pub house / Jaz," yes, with one 'z', so its sign.
To me this Japanese jazz lounge existed for a single evening. Inspecting the memory of my visit, handling it as one rotates a crystal to catch light from all its facets, I sense I dreamed my time there, that in fact my nightcap with P.k-7 and our ensuing conversation—ironically, about aspects of aging—did not take place in eternity. We had been plaiting our paths home through the E.Vill., slowing to guess at various facades, when Tomi appeared from across the street, a mirage or spectral transplantation. Its ornate door was locked, but pressing a small, white button produced a polite man who informed us there would be a 5$ cover, which we accepted, stepping, as it were, through the looking-glass into a snug den of music and warm discussion. The bilingual menu featured a selection of fine liquors, priced by shot or bottle, and our well-poured drinks were accompanied by fresh peas and hors d'oeuvres. I would turn around the possibility of returning if I weren't convinced that Tomi no longer exists in that place, and particularly not in that time.] { PK1 10/13/00: It was late, there was a Jazz quartet, they were Japanese... the place was Japanese. I was distincly aware, though not uncomfortable, that I was not Japanese. It was very strange hearing the singer speak with a stereotypical Japanese/American accent after having just finished "Aaaa, fuck, can't remember the title" with a voice akin to Tony Bennet. The musicians were serious and well trained. They played several standards with near perfection, yet it was this very perfection that limited them and turned a deaf ear to spontaneity. The five dollar doorbell tariff was easily overlooked when a plate of ritz-cracker-fakecrabsalad-cucumber-munchie-things appeared before us unsolicited. I enjoyed a favorite Scotch not easily found in bars, and eavesdropped on a conversation about getting older. I loved every minute of it, and will probably never go back.}

Solas
9, 2/3 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Two floors of uninterrupted being-seen. Go early, leave after one drink, or run the risk of death by boredom; or, a surfeit of boredom caused by the disposition of the scene for abuse of Heideggerian terminology. [With enough alcohol, the dullness of Solas actually becomes exciting. The pleasure of watching nature films comes to mind.] { Eclipse the Gum 1/11/01: I don't know about this place...I get in there and it's either shoes are untied, falling flat on my face or I'm posing for photos with Colombian drug heavies.}

Pageant
9, 3/4 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Go early to snag one of the luxurious booths, that afford a king's view of the crowd, in the enormous lounge upstairs. Drinks are surprisingly just under that middle-of-the-hip range, and the bar food is pretty cheap, all things considered. The DJ on Thursdays is fun, while it's entirely possible that Pageant becomes precisely that—pageant—on the weekend, DJ or not.

Angel's Share
Stuyvesant @ 3 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
[A couple of random one-drink swing-throughs provided me, not with anything specific to write about Angel's Share, but with a desire, no, a longing to return, a longing that seemed intimately bound to the thoughts of craftsmanship and of company, for the artistry and precision with which wonderful cocktails are prepared here is amazing and the way in which the bar is operated makes solo drinking a dubious and uncomfortable situation. At last I return with friends for a more extensive lounge, and we are rewarded by superlative beverages (which cost dearly but not nearly as much as they could), a delightful view of the Stuyvesant-9th-3rd junction, and the opportunity to converse comfortably (if there's nowhere to sit, you're not permitted in, and your group can be no larger than four). I leave as I did the first couple of times, in need of a good suit.] [Ideally, I think, one arrives early, for the seven o'clock opening, in order to have the luxury—and Angel's Share is, ultimately, "about" luxury—of selecting a seat; will it be a booth? the bar? the small tables in the slightly elevated section? or, perhaps, the row of stools, facing the window? Heated and cooled by The City's best (not too sweet) Cosmopolitans, the first-comers' conspiratorial stammering and stuttering, which also ties them together (unspoken, mutual respect between the patrons, who can easily overhear one another), gradually evaporates into the allusive tendrils of harmonious conversations rising as cirri over these psychic hearts. That painting is punctuation, a period, and when you've turned to look at it, and when your dialogue has turned toward it, the time has come to exit.] [And I try to go back often, and half the time there's nowhere to sit, and that, my friend, is the gift of angels: I'm never put off or out about not getting to stay; we'll come back another day, and chat into the wee hours, and it will be beautiful, baby.] { Cassandra 9/2/00: A great place to both have and over hear a conversation. If your own conversation fails, chances are you can entertain yourselves listening to things like an awkward first date sexual tension jousting festival. Also, if you ever have a cold, a glass of cognac in their huge pear-like sniffers [sic] is sure to clear your sinuses up. (A full night of sleep after is also needed). Just make sure you have a wade of cash, because the temptation to get more than one drink is great.}

Big Bar
7, 1/2 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
This friendly little joint is a welcome little hiatus from the typical E.Vill. crush. It could be cheaper, in the opinion of most, but when you require a little break, the darling little mobiles suspended below the tiny lights, which barely illuminate the room, can, slowly, spin you away into Wonderland, in an ironic little twist. { PK1 11/19/99: You can see everything this darling place has to offer from across the street, and it is from there that you should weigh your options. The size of this place cannot afford indecision, and, moreover, your standing hesitancy detracts from the just rewards of those who have already committed themselves inside.} [Get a booth, kittlings, because Big Bar, in spite of its lures, has what may be the worst bar-to-stool ratio in The City.]

Blue and Gold
7, 1/2 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
B&G is so cheap, dude. Go, if you can put up with the lousy service. { PK1 11/19/99: Boys and Girls and pitchers of beer. This place can be fun, but i can't shake the feeling that this is one of those places where people go while learning how to drink (and from which some can't escape even once they have).} { Eclipse the Gum 1/10/01: Super on the cheap, but I'm wary of any place where you have to play the proprietor before you can get on the pool table.}

H2O (ex-I.C.Guy)
6, 1/A
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Right next to The Cherry, notorious H2O, notorious because the bacchanalian "traditions" of I.C.Guy survive yet, is an apartment-sized beer-and-wine situation, with two boyish tenders who take turns taking their clothes off on a small wooden box, go-go going for an audience of inebriated, primarily gay men, who in turn remove at least some of their clothing. Kittlings, can I recommend this enough? ...unless you're seeking something mellow.

Cherry Tavern
6, 1/A
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Ah, the Cherry, the chemoprosthetic switchboard! Geographically, the Cherry is situated at the center of an entire world of bars. Financially, it makes sense, in transfer, to suspend oneself in a Tecate and tequila, at $4 for the combo. That on a weekend you will never sit is of little consequence—the music is excellent, and you're moving along anyway. Place The Call, patch it through, for two hours remain before the Last Call, when, presumably, your chemical Judas arrives on the scene. { PK1 11/19/99: Cherry cherry bo berry, banana fanna fo ferry, fee fi woah... not so wary. Yes,  yes! tequila & beer, $4...c'mon. Although, i have paid more for that combo with the sometimes ill-contained young angst shooting across from the crammed in pool table over to the spill covered bar. Jukebox is hit or miss. What lies underneath the coincidence of decreasing availability of space and the hanging of their new (more  hip) sign?} { gray-Neo and e-Lux 6/11/00: PK1 has got The Tip, yo! 'Not so wary.' The special will take you out if you don't watch it! Plus about a year ago a lot of people started coming into the good ol Cherry, and we were kinda hoping things would have changed but no...everything's chill on Fridays and Saturdays until about 11. Then the ID-checker guy goes on duty and things get crowded and loud, but not crowded enough for you to leave, because the special is on!} [After enduring overhearing someone to my left sum up, for her mind (stunted, apparently, by Hollywood), my existence {research_111900}, i.e., that singles drinking is depressing, that picking up people in bars is lame, I am tempted to intervene: "'I came here to drink, not to get laid'; it's all about The Special, darlin'." Instead, I order another Special, thinking serenely, "At least she  won't try to talk to me." The bartender thanks me profusely as I exit into the muggy, solitary wee hours.] [!] [!]

Black Star Bar
2 Ave @ 6
E.Vill.
Manhattan
The wise will hold themselves to the area of the entrance, with its large window framing "the constant stream of changing faces with no chance of any warmer, lasting companionship," which can be freely observed from the around-clustered comfy chairs—this would be Hoffman's figure and not that of Poe; Baudelaire is a question for another night, another bar, and then another. For once curiosity should be checked, for after all, haven't you already tonight been prodded by the pool cue of a loud man?

Ike
2 Ave @ 6
E.Vill.
Manhattan
{ Eclipse the Gum 1/19/01: Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower did one major thing in the White House: they played bridge. This bar revolves around the "idea" of 1950's design cannibalized to appeal to the hip and good-smelling demographic of that stretch of 2nd Ave. If you, like me, know nothing and don't care about the "idea" of 1950's design, this bar will merely strike you as overpriced. I give it 4 months before it changes hands...just like bridge trumps.}

Scratchers
5, E of Bowery
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Low, dark, quiet, tall, tall beer glasses, boring, but hey, from time to time, that's OK. { PK1 12/7/99: If Scratchers were a line of children's collectable stickers, it still wouldn't be as fun as scratch'n'sniffs.}

Leopard Lounge (Sin Sin)
5 @ 2 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
This swank lil'upstairs lounge ain't bad, kittlings. The price ain't too bad, sittin' right at the bottom of the middle-of-the-hip range; however, the pour is terrible! C'est la vie, as They say. Having experienced Leopard as a Faxy Brown event, I can't really say what it might be like on a "normal" night. So give it a shot, and let me know. [I cannot reveal my source (I will call him/her Deep Kitchen), but believe me when I say that, upon running out of brand-booze, Sin Sin simply refills those fancy bottles with well-quality liquor, which is, yep, illegal.] [I've been, for better or worse, back on a few "normal" nights. Twice the DJ has sucked hard, and it's a dull place with about zero possibility for something unexpected.]

KGB
4, 1/2 Ave
E.Vill.
Manhattan
You will never get very drunk at this E.Vill. standby because, once inside, your memory retains a profound impression of the stairs, which are hard, narrow, and steep; the prospect of these stairs governs your intake, even if only unconsciously. They always have good music at KGB; there's no box, but the mixed tapes that they play are fun: from classic goth to random alternations between Sonic Youth and Mazzy Star. The drinks could be cheaper, but hey, this is one theme-y bar whose decorations never fail to please an ex-socialist-wannabe. { PK1 12/7/99: K.G.B = "kind girl breakup". On an early-in-the-week night, it took roughly four hours of almost entirely private conversation and discussion. The bartender, especially, poured forth ample sympathy for the both of us. We left this dark elevated comfort together, witnessed by the few others (including the curled up black Labrador), happily single once again.} [I stick to my feeling that the stairs are the governing principle of drinking at KGB, only now I've decided that your secret altitude predisposes you to serious conversation about quote-unquote Life. The building, by the by, was owned by the communists in the 40s and 50s, so I hear.]

Opium
2 St, 2/Bowery
E.Vill.
Manhattan
Mostly, the name fits so well as to replace the experience of the bar itself. It's dark, very dark. Music is mixed there, but I've never heard anything interesting. { PK1 12/7/99: When one smokes opium they should experience something along the lines of a drawn out foot massage. Not crushing beats, thieving bar prices, and an invariably overcrowded atmosphere crammed with those who for the most part have no clue how to maintain themselves with class in small dark environments. It is possible, however, that all of my visits have taken place on weekend nights.}

... St. Mark's Place, Thirst Avenue or on to Alphabet City and Avenue A

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Manhattan/E.Vill.