< topography - Hell's Kitchen

  

The Shandon Star—RIP
8 @ 55
Manhattan
{ Eclipse the Gum 2/14/01: This was the very finest of the dive bars of Hell's Kitchen. An institution that could sadly not last the influx of larger commerce...if you're going to be ingested by a fast food chain, it might as well be Wendy's. I loved this place for several reasons. First of all, it was a good initial stop for out-of-towners. The prices were very un-Manhattan—you could get drinks for 8 people and spend less than $20. The bartender (a 30-something teddy bear) never forgot a visit, but never remembered a name. It was a great place to sort of steel yourself before NYC got a headlock on your night. Secondly, the entrance area was lined with wheeled steam trays. I only saw these house food once in my three and a half years of sojourning there. I loved these useless accoutrements that served as protection from the staring tourists during the cold weather. Finally, as trite as it sounds, I will really miss the location. Nestled into a block that seemed to be perpetually under construction, this spot was the last watering hole before I'd take the express train uptown (and I mean UPTOWN). A last chance kind of place for those fat chance nights. Dulce et decorum est.}

JR Restaurant
46 @ 8
Hell's Kitchen
Manhattan
[Three things are wrong here: 1) by The Official Grid, the southeast corner of 46 and 8 is more Theatre District than Hell's Kitchen; 2) JR is, yep, a restaurant; and 3) I have no idea what this place is like during "regular business hours." Here, however, three wrongs make a right: JR's late night patrons are friendly and pleasantly random, in the relief-from-downtown/Hell's Kitchen sense; the restaurant side closes at some point, leaving only the bar side in operation; and even as late as 5:30, you should be able to order up a beverage...you might have to knock, wave, and/or peek in to get through the "back door" (the restaurant side), but JR appears to stay open until around 6 ( but you didn't hear that  from me!).]

Zanzibar
45 @ 9
Hell's Kitchen
Manhattan
{ Jakeed 6/3/01: yet another in a seemingly endless series of wannabe chill spots that pay lip service to class and fail to grasp the spirit of Lounge because price alone does not mean shit a little service sure helps but after having to unseat myself to get a drink from the bar although I was running a tab with a waiter inconsistent I got a little upset not angry you see but bored out of my apparently un-stylish skull the fire place and palm trees and cleanliness started to yawn me hard so I hit the street} { Cassandra 6/6/01: Bar, restaurant, lounge. Rooms leading into each other like catacombs. And just as tomb-like YAWN. Boring hip people and drinks expensive for no apparent reason other than they need to raise funds to train their waiters how to interpret an empty glass and an impatient look.}

Rudy's
9 Ave, 44/45?
Hell's Kitchen
Manhattan
If you can take the often frattype quality of the crowd, then Rudy's will appeal, especially if you're low on funds. It's pretty slimy, to be sure, but it's family-oriented compared to some other spots in the hood like Smith's. Yes, that hood: I for one wouldn't want to end up at Rudy's, but The Manhattan Law of Gravity in mind, it's not a bad place to start.

Smith's
44 @ 9
Hell's Kitchen
Manhattan
If you'll pardon the vernacular: pimps and ho's, not to mention lunatics and surly mid-lifers. Smith's is also a cafeteria, at least in name, during the day, and as a result, the atmosphere is severely lacking in taste. But the Guiness is cheap, and chances are no one will actually bother you.

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