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"mystery LES bar"
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LES
Manhattan
There was a miscommunication with Tweezers: as this house party was busted, we went out different exits, into the bitter cold, stood waiting for awhile, and ended up in a different places. If I had to guess, with the shreds of memory available to me, as to the location of this bar where Mean L*****, KS, others? where we broke glasses and drank more than was advisable, I would place it in the vicinity of the Bowery/Delancey intersection.

bOb
Eldridge, N of Stanton
LES
Manhattan
Bob's, good ol'Bob's (the 'good ol'' determined exclusively by non-weekend nights, for on the weekends there is a cover, and without extreme violence and rudeness, you cannot actually get from the door to the bar and back): more often than not, the music is great, and this leads to dancing, which is exciting, if you like that sort of thing. The tenders are kind and seem to be having as much fun as you are. Watch that step coming in/out of the W.C.

Rivertown Lounge
Orchard, S of Houston
LES
Manhattan
See Ludlow Bar, then add as many people as you can imagine fitting into the space of the Rivertown Lounge, and voila! And I make no apologies for the reductive quality of this formula.

Angel
Orchard, Houston/Stanton
LES
Manhattan
{ Eclipse the Gum 1/19/01: Certain theologians hypothesize God made Man, because He became bored with angels. I understand. The lint in my pocket was more animated than Angel. A morgue for the over-stylized.} { PK1 1/30/01: those whose dharma continues to destin their presence here offered me a job some wandering friday night. they seemed pleasantly affectionate at the time. i had a laughable interview two days later. some people should really drink all the time.}

Arlene Grocery
Stanton, Orchard/Ludlow
LES
Manhattan
I've been a couple of times—since this zone of the LES has exploded (imploded?) though, I haven't returned to this (at least formerly) free music venue that never quite fulfilled my image of a LES free music venue. { Eclipse the Gum 1/19/01: Quick summary: As with every rock n roll club, you will never get a buyback. And at $5+tip, you shouldn't be spending that much money to hear the latest "We want to be on MTV" band covering Green Day with dif lyrix. Remember, only the cover is free. Live band metal/punk karaoke is a must for the To-Do Before I Die List. Every so often, your friends WILL play there.}

Swim
Orchard, S of Stanton?
LES
Manhattan
Late, late at night, there is fun music and wild, drunken dancing. [I've come around to Swim, crowded but rarely unbearable. Price is certainly a concern, still, but the open, couchy basement, hideout for the dope smokers, is lovely.] { Cassandra 4/26/01: Tuesday at midnight I walk in and think "This bar sucks my ass." There ain't a seat in the place and the bar area is so narrow that if you are standing against the wall, you get brushed by the people walking through. The people in there were a little too cool for me - the types that spend a lot of time trying to look like they don't care how they look, the types that are trying to make a Statement. They keep the air circulating in there so you don't realize you reek of cigarettes until you leave. And then the DJ began to play what is the best dark and muddy music I have ever heard in the city - metallic grinding and guitar feedback mixed in with deep drum and bass.}

Local 138
138 (surprise, surprise) Ludlow
LES
Manhattan
A bizarre combination of modern form (gulp) and traditional materials. This newer Irish pub has, on either side of the door and framed by the windows, two cool seating "boxes" for groups. The music, mostly electronic, isn't too loud. The tenders and patrons are friendly. The bathrooms are excellent. Geeze I would hate to see this place on a Friday night. { gray-Neo and e-Lux 7/26/00: targeted the finale of a usually Sunday affair cuz we were thinking that Wednesday would be OK, but hold on! there are  a lot of people in here! Local 138 is still a swell bar, believe it, but it really ain't so local anymore...}

Motor City
Ludlow, S of Stanton
LES
Manhattan
See Ludlow Bar, then add a sort of 50s greaser attitude (and the requisite music), and voila! Oh, maybe that's too harsh (or maybe I'm secretly in sympathy with the artificial resurrection of 50s-icity), because: can't you enjoy yourself almost anywhere alcohol is served? { Cassandra 1/21/01: Having only been there after I have thoroughly blown my brain out the back of my head in several other locations, my take on the place is rather hazy. But several things do stand out. One is the fact that you can always count on not getting booted until about 5ish. After 4 they simply lock the door and wait until you are ready to fall down and out the door—I have on one occasion managed to get the bouncer to let me back in. There were some people (some of whom were in my party) using the bathroom to do drugs and I threatened to piss myself right there in front of the bouncer unless he let me out to piss in the street. Incidently, may I recommend drugs as a drinking crutch in this place? The music and the crush of people generally rule out the possibility of anything but heavy drinking, reckless dancing and other ridiculous activities. The latter have included freaking some sixty year old man and kissing random folk in drag.}

Standard Notions
Ludlow @ Stanton
LES
Manhattan
See Ludlow Bar. Then add that, at least when I was going there with some frequency, happy hour starts at midnight, goes until 2. There's mediocre food in an "outdoor" area in the back that during the summer is warmer than being inside because of its greenhouse-like structure.

Barramundi
Ludlow, S of Houston
LES
Manhattan
A certain fondness blows through my image of this now overly popular bar. There is the time a man threatened me because I wouldn't swap t-shirts with him, zum Beispiel. If you can swing a seat there, the little sofa-ed back room is altogether pleasant. Recent experiences at Barramundi, though, have been determined, quite simply, by an excess of people. This will change. { gray-Neo and e-Lux 1/17/00: It's already changed a lot but not enough. We've had some great late nights down at Barramundi with the bartenders. They have a cool grayish-black cat in the bar on slower nights and the prices are pretty good if you're nice.}

Ludlow Bar
Ludlow, Houston/Stanton
LES
Manhattan
At this point, 'Ludlow' and 'Bar' would seem to be essentially synonymous, and true to the logic of this observation, Ludlow Bar is every other bar on Ludlow and a pleonasm to boot. Sure, sure, they all appear to have distinguishing features, but since the people you bumped into at the last place look identical to the ones you're bumping into now, who's going to lay claim to the authority to judge any of them?

Lava
Luna
Ludlow, Houston/Stanton
LES
Manhattan
This loungy number directly across the street from Max Fish might be open and comfortable, but after having a limb removed in exchange for your weak drink, you will need to go home to bandage your bank account. [LUNA? Huh, I thought it was Lava...finding myself here on account of music; otherwise? shrug.] [D'accord, ce n'est pas Lava mais LUNA, looona, la la lava, luna, Ludlow: lame.]
{ Eclipse the Gum 2/2/01: Allow me to rhapsodize on the jukebox. What stands out here is the quality held therein. Blondie outtakes...pre- Best of; Fountains of Wayne; Beach Boys Pet Sounds; Le Tigre; and selections are rotated out every month. For that Stay-Fresh Party. (And if your nose is upturning over the unedginess of my exempla, take into consideration that every theme bar sticks pretty close to the bone. (7B plays LEStitches at Spinal Tap 11, VillIdiot can't go twenty minutes without David Allen Coe detroying my love of George Strait...) So, in light of this patronage monopoly of tunes, it's very good to know there is a place that gives off the vibe of sitting around with your mates, listening to your college radio station.}

Max Fish
Ludlow @ Houston
LES
Manhattan
I like the Rita Ackerman doors. However, the drinks aren't exactly priced to move, and the crowd is disgracefully lacking in respect for pinball players. There are some crews that hang there that consist of premium quality folks, but you'll yell yourself horse figuring this out. I find myself rebelling against my own estimation of the place though; I really do want to have an extraordinary time there. I'm waiting for The Day Of The LES to meet its own apocalypse.

Whiskey Ward
Essex, Rivington/Delancey
LES
Manhattan
{ Eclipse the Gum 2/23/01: This place has grabbed me by the ass twice when I was too drunk to accomplish anything within the realm of social decorum (read four bars later Whiskey Ward). The first time I got trashed and lapsed into an anti-Australian parade of invective. The second time I was showing some out-of-town friends around and as the doorman eyed my ID, he shouted "Hey, I remember you. You were here the other night. You were trashed." We went in and dopey guys hit on my two friends. This prompted stage-kissing, then high-tailing. I understand that they offer half-price everything for Happy Hour.}

The Johnsons (Welcome to)
Rivington, Norfolk/Essex
LES
Manhattan
They do indeed stick to their "2$ [3$?] pints of Guiness all day, every day," and the rest of their drinks are well-priced too. There are tables, couches, and, it goes without saying, a bar with stools. There is sit-down Pac Man. There is pool. There is something for everyone, as the cliché has it, at Welcome to the Johnsons which, thanks to its address, has yet to be run over with fools. ["Times they are a changin" but a bar can only hold so many people.] { Jakeed 10/15/00: whatever, a bar can only hold so many people is more like yo a bar can hold  so many that I can't even fit through the door because this big corporate tool is talking up some other corporate tool and I say real polite like um, could I squeeze past you he barely even looks at me and he's still not moving so I have to sort of crawl into the bar where there isn't even standing room and I must be invisible because no one is making the slightest effort to let me through but then on the other hand they probably can't move either because it's so fucking crowded that I didn't even get to the part where I could order a drink what are these people doing I don't know whether to cry or start throwing punches}

Tonic (downstairs)
Norfolk, across from Lanksy
LES
Manhattan
[Just like its older, more mature conceptual frère Knitting Factory, young Tonic offers avant-music and books and other accessories for the negotiation of an experimentaler-than-thou lifestyle, not to mention an absurb smoking policy in the performance space and, of course, a "bar" downstairs. Quotation marks indicate lack of a liquor license; it takes a long time to get a drink since the bartender has to go upstairs to get it (this will change). What Tonic's downstairs  does have are sections of old water towers, transformed into private, circular seating areas, and DJs.] [Chapter 2, in which Ms. Rumor makes a correction. Those are not 'sections of old water towers.' They are vats, left unmoved, from a basement kosher winery. The Tonic people simply sawed doorways into them.]

Lansky Lounge
Norfolk, Rivington/Delancey
LES
Manhattan
I wholeheartedly endorse Lansky, on the condition that you promise to tip your ass off. If you've never been before, acquiring directions in advance is helpful, for the entrance, the most fun part of the whole bar, is elusive, like all your dream-images of The Speakeasy. Chef H****** ********* has the coolest name ever and prepares great food (especially the cucumber soup and the halibut). The Blonde, a mango-martini drink, is dangerously delicious, like the staff, who you will tip heavily. LL is in the kosher zone, ergo closed on Fridays. [We tend to forget, with the drunken swing glory of Lansky's opening period behind us, that this bar-lounge-restaurant still rocks the chaotic crowd tip, particularly on party nights. The Word On The Street has it that Sunday nights, starting around Valentine's Day [2000], are going to welcome you, as the old Nintendo ads put it, to the next level: fire eaters, sword swallowers, dancing girls!] [Ms. Rumor corroborates the  Times' ditty on potential Lansky/Ratner's bizfusionerother. Question mark. Get your good licks in while you can, baby, and pray, pray for liquor-rain in local areas.] [Logic signal has not yet gone complete, and the Thursday hip-hop party still cooks, as They say.] ["lighter crowd downstairs than usual Thur. Love Noise party.—Upstairs has become almost a lounge, privileged space—more so than I ever remember. Staff still rocks"] ['Lansky/Ratner's bizfusionerother' logic signal has finally gone complete  as a splitting. Lansky has been un-koshered, kittlings. "It's the end of Lansky as we know it, and I feel fine"...???] [Whoah! Lansky's first Friday features, well...here's what I found on a scrap of paper: "flesh & beats!" The 'flesh' is of course double—check out the new menu.]

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