5 Bar Crawl
Out of the blue and for no reason at all other than it would give me the opportunity to see more of the city I love and live in, and also to have an excuse to drink more alcohol I decided to do a bar review. No ordinary bar review. I planned to pick five of New York’s worst bars, go to each of them and review them at my own leisure. How did I define worst? I didn’t. I simply wanted to visit bars that are any of the following:
1) Bars I’ve never been to before.
3) Unsafe or have an element of danger.
4) Unusual / Unclean and/or unfriendly.
5) In some way interesting.
Bar #1: Mars Bar
Photo by Uban75.org
The first bar I chose was Mars Bar on 25 East 1st Street (corner of 1st Street & 2nd Avenue). It’s known as the East Village’s last shithole and is due to close early this year. What better excuse to visit it first then? I invited my mate Sean along for safety. Sean is from Kansas and looks like a cross between a giant baby and Orson wells. He acts like the former and wont shut up talking like the latter. Due to his addiction to drinking screwdrivers and playing computer games all day he fit perfectly into my whole “I don’t have to out run the thugs, I just have to out run you” theory of self defense if any shit happened.
Upon walking up to the place I was a little apprehensive. Covered in graffiti, the bar looked like a bad art project. I had heard a lot about the place but had a feeling it could not be as bad as people say. This is New York after all, how bad can bad really be? It wasn’t. Inside was dark, light from the street outside twisted in through a thick glass block window to the left. An exit sign illuminated the front section while the bar itself ran all the way down the left hand side of a long narrow room. A handful of regulars sat amongst the occasional young hipster couple. The interior seemed to be covered in a layer of grime and dust. Graffiti covered the walls as did homemade signs written on the back of pizza boxes and beer cartons. Sean and I made our way to the far end of the bar where upon I ordered a bottle of Budweiser for hygienic reasons. Sean embarrassed himself as always by ordering a girls drink. Vodka soda sparkles something or other.
A local we tried not to make eye contact with pictured below
At the back wall near where we sat lay a huge collection of empty beer cases beside two toilets. Sooner or later we knew one of us would have to venture into them. Paulo (Paul – oh?!?) served us and she was very pleasant, chatty and friendly. As the night progressed she kept our drinks topped up, talked to the locals and even bought us a round. Barkeep = 100%. No complaints here, we felt very welcome.
Glass block windows at the front of the bar.
There was I admit a cozy feel to the place. Most people sat at the bar and stayed there. Light levels were low for obvious reasons. I smelled food at one point and seen Paulo eating takeout behind the bar. She truly is a brave person I thought. I imagined a flock of bats swooping down from hidden caves in the ceiling taking her and her food outside, as her screams for help dissipated into the dark angry hum of the New York night Sean and I would drink ourselves unconscious. Mars Bar is the type of bar where you start thinking crap like that. The bar did kind of stink to be honest. Sean got drunk on his girly drinks and rambled on about Kansas, corn, driving cars long distances, computers and food. To be honest if I was in any other bar I would have blamed the smell on him. I explained that he should bring future dates here for that very reason. I could not understand how he was so upset by this logic, but I bought him another drink and he soon cheered up and started rambling on and on again.
How could bats not live here?
Sweet divine mother of Christ! We had a feeling the toilets would be bad but Lord Jesus Bartholomew Frankenstein! The powers of Greyskull couldn’t clean these mofo’s. I managed to urinate by touching nothing but my penis which I suspect was the cleanest thing in the entire bar.
Jesus wept on the cross
Grey powder incased something mechanical
Seeing as we already contracted whatever disease was floating around anyway, we checked out bathroom #2
Makes soiling yourself seem logical.
As I mentioned before about Sean, he talks non-stop. Despite this I managed to hear some of the music blasting from the jukebox. Some old Bowie and punk classics were chosen by a hipster couple who I must admit had damn fine taste in music. Sean also has great taste in music but none of it seems to move him quite like the sound of his own voice. If we had more people in this world like Sean talking loudly as he does non-stop around airports we would end up fishing less airplanes out of the Hudson river each year. Once while Sean was screaming for a cab I seen a flock of geese suddenly change their direction mid flight. A complete U-turn. I didn’t even know Geese could do that, so high up, flying so fast. That is no exaggeration, no lie at all. I seen that actually happen. Eventually we decided to leave, we were quite drunk at this point.
Sean trying hard not to look creepy while taking a photo.
The resulting picture.
We staggered up second avenue and came across Dempsey’s pub. We decided to have one more. An Irish traditional band were mid flight as we entered and I knocked over a music stand. I bought Sean a screwdriver as a thanks for being my decoy in case of trouble even if he didn’t know it. I ended on a whiskey. I don’t remember leaving but Sean has not drunk since. This is what happens when you drink girly drinks.
No credit cards accepted and it is not wheelchair assessable. Kicking jukebox. Friendly bartender. Locals leave you alone. Plenty of room on a week night. There is a slight odor that never goes away. You won’t want to touch anything. It’s a real dive bar. Beer is not cheap, $5 a bottle. They have two toilets and if you look long enough you will see stuff written about your mother. If the person you are with won’t shut up talking you can read the graffiti on the walls. They do not serve screwdrivers.