04 November 2008

Dive Bar Options for Holland Bar Refugees

Whether the Holland Bar of Hell's Kitchen is gone for good or due back next spring after renovation, its closure leaves some thirsty barflies without a dive to call their own. With than in mind, here a few stalwarts saloons that are holding firm against the onslaught of Nouveau York.

1. For Holland tipplers, this is a short walk. The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge on located on Eighth Avenue near 37th Street. Genuinely suspect joint. Distinguished it ain't. But colorful.

2. McAnn's. Also very convenient to Holland patrons will live locally. I still marvel that this pit perseveres in a city showcase like Port Authority. Most dive bars make me smile. This one actually depresses me. I suspect some Holland regulars are here already.

For Queens residents, the Station Cafe shivers under Woodside's LIRR and 7 line tracks. Hardcore patrons. Nothing fancy. You are welcome to start quaffing at 9 AM.

4. Also within stumbling distance of Holland is Rudy's Bar & Grill. Free hot dogs, cheap beers and a little theatre district glamour are among the attractions. The giant pig is not your imagination; it's real.

5. Montero's in Brooklyn, on Atlantic Avenue, used to service passing sailors and seaman. Now its patrons include a fair share of hipsters. It's still has the soul of a dive, though. The old lady in the corner of the bar owns the joint.

6. The Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Mark's has a great jukebox, great location and lousy liquor. The atmosphere, and the ridiculously upbeat name, makes up for the latter.

7. The Mars Bar, on Second Avenue. This scarred place is one of the few East Village drinking establishments left that one would cause one to pause before entering.

8. The Subway Inn may be NYC's most glamorous dive, attracting the occasional celebrity, and located around the corner from Bloomie's. But you can't ignore the sagging ceiling, duct-taped-booths and nasty bathroom. It's a dive. Just ask for a Martini and you'll find out.

If you have your own helpful suggestions for the Hollanders, please write in.


Ken Mac said...

can I hit all these bars in one day? Am I gonna try? you bet!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Ken, I think you can, armed with an all-day Metrocard, a mighty thirst, at least 30 bucks, and the discipline to limit yourself to one drink per stop. Let me know how it goes. Or maybe you just meant you were going to photograph the bars....

Ken Mac said...

I will drink as I shoot, and no doubt the photos will improve!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Let me know if you do. I may join you at some point in the crawl.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Holland (and lord preserve Montero's too). Additions to the list:

East Village: Lucy's, Manitoba's (althought that place has been getting smarter) and Milano's on Houston.

Greenwich Village: Marie's Crisis Cafe (warning - showtunes). Arguably the upstairs bar at the Duplex, and the 55 Bar too. The Lion's Head/Monkey's Paw got cleaned up.

In Chelsea, Pete McManus.

Further downtown, they cleaned up 169 Bar, but Winnie's in Chinatown is a great dive until the late night karaoke starts - go daytime.

Uptown: The Subway Inn.

Outside Manhattan: Pedro's Spanish-American, surviving in Dumbo. Denny's Steak Pub in Kensington (no, no steak), Farrell's, Timboo's, Ruby's Old Time on Coney island.

Harlem: John's Recovery Room was the place - gone. Not exactly a dive, but the Seville Lounge is an old school treasure.

Also worth mentioning, although they're too well kept to be real dives, Jimmy's Corner off Time Square and O'Connor's in Brooklyn.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Subway Inn is on the list. And I agree: Jimmy's is not a dive. It's just full of character. My favorite Times Square bar. I would not call Farrell's a dive, either. It's immaculate, a temple.

Anonymous said...

Oops, Times Square I meant. Wow, I have never regarded Farrell's as a place of worship before.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Also worthy of genuflection: Old Town Bar, McSorley's, P.J. Clarke's, Brooklyn Inn, Fanelli's, Billy's Gay '90s Cafe.

Anonymous said...

The Library on Ave A and Houston St.
Iggy's on Ludlow and Rivington.
Any Blarney Stone!!
151 Rivington St - Awesome Happy Hour!

Kevin Barry's - Brooklyn at Lawrence and Willoughby St.

Anonymous said...

woodside has at least 2 other nice things. the salvation army across the street from the bar is great. especially for furniture and sripraphai restaurant a few blocks away has the most authentic thai food in nyc.

winnie's in chinatown - avoid on friday/saturday evenings. too many hipsters singing karaoke.