Category Archives: dive

Fun & cheap!

Irish Brigade

irish brigadeThis bar was opened in 1939 and originally named Park Gate (it does face Tyron Park). Barbara, the current owner,  bought the bar 28 years ago and later renamed it the Irish Brigade (after an infantry brigade, consisting of mostly Irish immigrants, that served in the Union Army in the Civil War.) She explained that it was in honor of the Irish hunger strike of 1981, in which ten paramilitary prisoners had starved themselves to death. There is a lot of history in this bar with nicknacks everywhere: one of them being a piece of the USS enterprise, which rests over the door. This bar is a true classic and Barbara is an amazing lady, one of the few bartenders with who you can sit back and talk to like an old friend, after just meeting her for the first time.

Hours: daily 12 pm to 4 am

4716 Broadway, nr. Arden St, NY 10040

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Filed under dive, friendly barman, history, Inwood, pool table

The Holiday Cocktail Lounge

1holidayloungeLeon Trotsky lived in the building next door (#77) circa 1917. I am not sure what one of the fathers of the Russian Communist Revolution would think of $4 beers. (he probably would reluctantly approve, after all he knew what rents are like in the EV) And who can resist a real working man’s dive bar, which also happened to start out as a Prohibition-era speakeasy? Coincidentally owner/bartender and local character, Stefan Lutak (pictured uptop) was born in Ukraine in 1920. During World War II, he fought with the Soviet Army in Stalingrad and as he recalled to the NY Press, “The winter was terrible. The ice came from your mouth. We were sleeping in the snow, nothing to eat. Two, three, four days, a whole week with empty stomach.” Stefan came to New York in 1949 and opened the bar in 1965. It was soon a hit with the bohemians in the hood, or as Stefan called them: “bullshitters and faggots.” Allen Ginsberg and W.H. Auden were  regulars. Regrettably, Stefan  passed away this year. Maybe he and Trotsky can share a beer and bitch about the world economy, wherever they are now.

Cash Only

Hours: 6pm-2am

75 St. Marks Pl., nr. First Ave., NY 10003   212-777-9637

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Filed under dive, East Village, history, Russian

Burp Castle

burp castleThis is an odd and sorta cute medieval looking bar that calls itself the “temple of beer worship”. Beer connoisseurs certainly can revere the beer selection: 12 draft and 40 bottled beers from Europe, some of which are well known imported staples with around 10% alcohol, like Delirium Tremens, Duvel and Chimay. The music is Gregorian chants. The bartenders are dressed as monks and they will shush the crowd from time to time. But, in a place with “Burp” in its name, it’s kinda hard to take a silencing monk seriously.

Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, 5 p.m.–8 p.m., free fries served from the yummy Pomme Frites, located around the corner.

Hours: Mon-Fri, 5pm-midnight; Sat-Sun, 4pm-2am   212-982-4576

41 E. 7th St., nr. Second Ave., NY 10003  212-982-4576

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Filed under beer specialty, dive, East Village, outdoors

Red Hook Bait & Tackle

redhook bait and tackle goodThis once bait shop, now serves as one of Redhook’s laid back neighborhood bars. There is taxidermy, an Extreme Hunting video game and Blue Point beer. The bar is made from a tree that fell in a nearby church’s garden. Bloody Sundays go on from 2 pm to 8 pm and have what else, but their house special Bloody Marys and bloody good live music. This is where redneck aesthetics and neighborhood artists seamlessly come together. It works because this is not Williamsburg. Redhook is a working class neighborhood where the gentrifiers and the old timers are basically in the same tax bracket. Will it change? Well, there is the new Ikea… But, don’t expect too many hipsters to be willing to trek the 20 minute walk from the Carroll stop in order to get here.

Directions: To avoid the long walk , take the A, C, or F to Jay St.-Borough Hall and take B61 bus, which will drop you off  right outside.

Cash Only

Hours: Mon-Fri, 4pm-4am; Sat-Sun, 2pm-4am

320 Van Brunt St., at Pioneer St. Brooklyn, NY 11231  718-797-4892

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Filed under BROOKLYN, cheap, dive, Redhook

Marie’s Crisis

1mariescrisiscafeFirst opened in the 1850s as a prostitutes’ den, which lasted through Prohibition. The “Crisis” came from “The Crisis Papers,” which laid out why America had to break from England, written by Thomas Paine, who died in the same building. Feel free to inquire about the alleged ghosts, you will get an ear full.  For the past 35 years, it’s been a super fun piano bar, where Broadway performers and wannabe Broadway performers sing the night away. “Do you your hear people sing?” yes “Guys and Dolls” alike all sing along. So “Tonight”, “Tomorrow” or whenever you go, “Make them hear you” when you sing along.  Great place! Gets a bit overcrowded by middle aged gay men on the weekends, but always tons of fun!

Cash Only

Happy Hour: Daily, 4pm-9pm; drinks $3-$5

Piano Bar: Daily, 5:30 p.m.–4 a.m.

Hours: Daily, 4pm-4am

59 Grove St., nr. Seventh Ave., NY 10014   212-243-9323

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Filed under dive, gay, history, piano bar, West Village

Boulevard Tavern

boulevardtavern1Opened in 1928, it used to be called J & D’s. Amazingly, more than one owner has died on the premises. It was reopened in 2006. Tolerant retirees, who still call the bar by its former name, make neighborly conversation with snotty implants. The bar’s owner, Harold David Kramer (still alive), is himself a slice of NYC history, since he’s the grandson of the owners of the Thunderbolt, the beloved Coney Island rollercoaster that was torn down in 2000. 12 beers on draft and a patio outback, complete with $5 all-you-can-eat beef, turkey and veggie dog barbecue every Friday though Monday at 9 pm and Saturdays starting at 5 pm.

Hours: Mon, 6pm-4am; Tue-Sun, 3pm-4am

579 Meeker Ave., nr. N. Henry St. Brooklyn, NY 11222   718-389-3252

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Filed under BROOKLYN, dive, food, Greenpoint, outdoors, pool table, Williamsburg

Mé Bar

mebarA rooftop bar on top of La Quinta budget hotel in Koreatown. Much like the hotel, it’s very low key. In fact it’s probably the diviest rooftop bar in the city, and it has the closest view of the Empire State Building. All types of people come here, but overall it’s as a down-to-earth crowd you’ll ever find 13 stories up (they’re superstitious and go from the 12th floor to the 14th.) If you want food just ask for the folder full of delivery menus (plenty of good Korean food around, like Pocha 32 which is right next door). Drinks are very accessible, just like the staff. Plus, the narrow glass enclosure provides seating during the winter.

Hours: Sun-Wed, 5:30pm-midnight; Thu-Fri, 5:30pm-1am; Sat, 5:30pm-3am

La Quinta Manhattan
17 W. 32nd St., 14th fl, New York, NY 10001
nr. Fifth Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-290-2460

La Quinta Manhattan: 17 W. 32nd St., nr. Fifth Ave. 14th fl, New York, NY 10001, 212-290-2460

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Filed under dive, food, midtown, rooftop, view