Bar Hopping Through Lower Manhattan
In honor of Lower Manhattan making it through Hurricane Irene this weekend, I’m taking you down memory lane for a recap of my first-ever bar hopping tour there just a week ago. A friend who lives in Jersey prepped a speedy bar hopping extravaganza for me, complete with trivia tidbits along the way. It was a fun night even though I was running on 4 hours of sleep.
Next time you’re in Manhattan, I recommend any and all of these bars. If I HAD to choose my top 2, I’d go with the first two stops. And a special thanks to Matt for listening to me drone on about my life for the latter half of the evening. ;)
107 Avenue C @ 7th Street
(photo collage above)
Nothing beats starting the night with an authentic Bavarian indoor Biergarten. Opened in 2000 by a native of Bavaria and longtime Alphabet City resident, Zum Schneider features 12 German beers on tap – including 4 Hofbräuhaus Traunsteins available exclusively here. They also have an extensive Bavarian-German menu that gets great ratings from foodies in town. Plus, they serve the beer in authentic German glass steins. You can’t go wrong! Oh, and no credit cards accepted here, folks. Cash only.
Remember my beer tasting class adventure? Well I was thrilled to see my favorite brewer – Hofbräuhaus – was a tap here! So I quickly ordered a glass and soaked in the atmosphere. I would LOVE to return here for Oktoberfest. I can only imagine the chaos and absolute awesome time it must be.
Photo Credits (all): Zum Schneider
McSorley’s Old Ale House
15 East 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
McSorley’s Old Ale House has been a gathering place, a watering hole, the subject of art and literature and even a Supreme Court controversy. Established in 1854, McSorley’s can boast of being New York City’s oldest continuously operated saloon. Everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon have passed through McSorley’s swinging doors. Woody Guthrie inspired the union movement from a table in the front – guitar in hand -, while civil rights attorneys Faith Seidenberg and Karen DeCrow had to take their case to the Supreme Court to gain access. Women were finally allowed access to McSorley’s in 1970! (That’s direct from McSorleysNewYork.com)
As a lover of small bars, I could not be more thrilled as we approached McSorley’s. There was barely space to move through to the bar, drunken groups spontaneously burst out in song, sawdust was strewn on the floors, and the walls were littered with random collections blanketed in years of dust. It was like a little slice of heaven.
When you order, you have two choices: dark or light beer. And cash only here too – there’s not even a real register, let alone a credit card machine. Beers are served in pairs, and new duos will find their way in front of you without even asking (a tricky little method I must admire – because you know you’ll drink it if its there). And take a good look at the walls, catching items dating back to the 1800s. One thing I found particularly interesting – the wishbones hanging from a lamp, from neighborhood patrons during one of the World Wars who never returned to retrieve their contribution.
Flickr Photo Credits (clockwise from top): LibraryGroover, chriki24, DoctorWho, Vincent Desjardins.
108 Avenue B @ 7th Street
The exterior of this dive bar may look familiar – and with good reason. Its served as a movie set for both The Godfather II and Crocodile Dundee. Inside, wood paneling coats the walls and the horseshoe-shaped bar surrounds a towering array of liquors. There are also 31 beers on tap and an extensive selection of beers by the bottle. In the back, you can see a selection of pinball and video games – perfect for the notably younger crowd (though I’m guessing the daytime regulars are an older set).
This stop was pretty quick, more of a movie trivia stop, which I did appreciate. Had I of been in the mood for liquor (I stuck with beer the whole night), one of the several special shots listed in the blackboard surely would have been of interest. I wish I could’ve found the video clip from Crocodile Dundee to share – but no such luck. But remember the scene when Mick discovers the girl hitting on him is no sheila? Yep, this is the bar. (Followed by the street scene when they leave.)
Photo Credits (all): Shanna Ravindra, New York Magazine
Hogs & Heifers Saloon
Most will know this hole-in-the-wall Meat Packing District bar as the inspiration for the movie Coyote Ugly (and all the subsequent spin off bars). It opened in 1992, and the dancing atop the bar actually began because when it opened, it was an unseasonably cold winter and the bar had no heat. Michelle Dell, now the bar’s sole proprietor, started dancing on the bar simply to keep warm. It became its trademark, along with women shedding their bras to add to the more than 11,000 now hanging. Underneath the thousands is even one from Julia Roberts, among other celebrities who have considered a dance on the bar a rite of passage.
While this was the only bar we visited that required a cover ($10 each), I think it was worth it just to see the shenanigans inside. It was just like the movie… Scantily clad female bartenders insulting patrons over a bull horn, while imposing bouncers looked on. The bartenders got up on the bar and did an impressive line dance (seriously, it was great), followed by drunken girls taking their stab at it as well – most wavering from one too many drinks. The amount of bras hanging was beyond what I could have imagined. And I’m sorry to disappoint you all, but I neither danced on the bar nor contributed my bra to the collection. (I know, completely went against my “Adventures in Trying” quest.)
Flickr Photo Credits (clockwise from left): mrtruffle, noricum, Stacey Huggins