NYC is home to a multitude of Dive Bars, so many, in fact, that, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to asssail them all, lo though I have tried. What is a Dive Bar? The dive bar is a place to drink to forget or to drink to remember, but ultimately to drink and not much else. They're better when dark and seedy and cheap. They're not ideal, or even good, place to meet new people or take first dates, but they are excellent locales to go out drinking with friends. Here, then, are six bars you can mosey into to lose yourself:
Rudy's Bar & Grill. 627 9th Ave. Don't let the name fool you. There is no grill. There are, however, free hot dogs all night every night, but they're not grilled. The beer is cheap (seven dollar pitchers), the bouncer is huge, and the crowds are enthusiastic. There is a long bar which the regulars have locked down by 9:30, but there are some lovely booths at back, which appear to have been vinyl at one point, thankfully now they are tastefully covered in red duct tape. Bonus: There's a courtyard in the back, but this is mitigated by the fact that the courtyard is closed for renovations going on nearly a year now.
Blarney Rock. 137 W. 33rd St. In the midst of the touristy mid-town, the Blarney Rock stands out as a locals bar. The union bar for virtually every construction worker in midtown, the Blarney Rock is an excellent example of Irish-American Dive Bars. Going there in the late afternoon can be an intimidating experience, you might need to bring your own hardhat and union sticker to get to the bar. The bartenders have been there for years, and have rich Irish brogues to melt the hearts of any ladies brave enough to enter, but here, the bartenders take care of things, as one told me after escorting a drunken patron to the door, "... this is normal, last week I had a fight with a tranny." Bonus:Conner the bartender is always eager to offer up his solution to hiccups, bitters and sugar on a lemon wedge. And I saw it work, three times last night.
Continental. 25 3rd Ave. While it can be teeming with NYU students, the Continental is an incredible bar to visit during the week. With the incredible deal of 5 shots for 10 dollars, it's tough to stay sober long while frequenting this dive. There's a great jukebox in the back, and the Continental projects various classic movies against the back wall (they played "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" while I was there). Not everything is lovely, I mean, this is a dive after all. The bartenders are surly and more interested in flirting at the other end of the bar, and the four bouncers are a little more misanthropic than usual. Also, beware warm shots... Bonus: Mere yards separate the front door from the subway entrance, meaning it's a short crawl to your train.
Bull Moose Saloon. 354 W 44th St. The original dive bars were so called because they were usually in the basement. The Bull Moose Saloon continues this tradition. If you're stuck taking visitors to the middle of the Times Square, the Bull Moose is full of regulars, but never tourists. A wide beer selection (fifteen on tap at last count) and a phenomenal burger deal (5.95 for a burger, fries and beer) make the Moose my choice for midtown mayhem without breaking my budget. Bonus: Kristen, my bartender of choice, makes the best lemon drop I've ever had, though I might have damaged my masculinity by admitting to drinking lemon drops. At a dive bar.
Alligator Lounge. 600 Metropolitan Ave. My solo shout out to Brooklyn, the Alligator Lounge comes thundering in from the East side of things because it combines several key elements. While a pint of beer with a free personal pizza by yourself in the dark skirts the edge of pathos, sometimes it's just what the doctor ordered. Or warned you against. Same thing really. A brother bar to the Crocodile Lounge on 14th Street in Manhattan, the Alligator Lounge is more relaxed and, frankly, more fun. The Williamsburg crowd tends to have better looking ladies, and more men in overly tight pants, either one a plus depending on your preference. Bonus: Thursday night Karaoke!
ON OUR RADAR: I've heard some good things about some other dive bars around town, and you can be sure I'll be looking into the Holland and Port 41, and if I get that extra large bottle of Purel for my birthday, I might venture into Mars Bar. But really, the best part of a dive is when the bartenders know your name, it's hard to want to explore new dives... so I'll probably be at Rudy's.