Thursday, January 15, 2009

Syrcls's Top 10 Winter Bars

In no particular order:

1. Larry Lawrence— Though it sort of falls into the trap of those pseudo-speakeasy semi-hidden type set-ups, it’s not at all pretentious or trendy. The interior is all wood and brick (THE definitive formula for coziness, in case you want to get technical about it), I think they’re more memorable for their beers than cocktails (though maybe I’ve just never had a good one here), and though I like this bar for the winter, they do have a semi-see-through second level roof deck-type outside patio thing that is awesome for summer. It’s a rare thing that a bar gives you a cozy interior for the winter & yet something to look forward to for the summer.
Located on Grand St. in Williamsburg.

2. Harefield Road— One of the owners made all of the wooden furniture himself, and for me, this type of woodsy-Irish Pub-y décor is a slight variation on the epitome of winter coziness (see Larry Lawrence above). Really, if there’s one bar I think of when I want to get warm, have a beer or hot toddy, and not have to yell over loud ass music, but still listen to awesome music, this is it.
Located off Graham, on Metropolitan in Williamsburg.

3. The Room (SoHo)— When you get past the fact that almost everyone who goes here looks like an i-banker, it can be quite nice. I love the exposed brick & the comfy booths (though there is limited seating), it really is perfect for bringing a date or someone you’d really talk to. In the back, there’s even a little slide-y window thing connects to the bar so you don’t have to go around to the other side to order your drinks. They don’t have hard alcohol here, but they have both kinds of Delirium Tremens and a great selection of wine. It’s best to come here on a weekday to stake your claim in for a booth, and to avoid most of the collared shirt crowd that is most populous on the weekends.
Off Houston, on Sullivan, in Manhattan.

4. Home Sweet Home—Despite there being taxidermied animals as far as the eye can see, this is a great bar to either sit in a booth for a spell or dance it up. They usually play (at least when I’ve been there) good 50s & 60s stuff to dance to. I have a feeling Royal Oak took a cue from them, music-wise. True, it is the Lower East Side, but the crowd is mixed in a good way, and I always have a fun time here. Drinks are pretty reasonably priced, though I never get cellphone service because it’s downstairs. Though, honestly, you probably wouldn’t want to leave for whoever is calling you anyway.
On Chrystie off Delancey.

5. Sweet Ups— Velveteen paisley patterned walls, vinyl booths, and a blackberry bramble = possibly the best part about winter and living in “East Williamsburg.” This always also tends to be my formula for the end of a night. That blackberry bramble cocktail they make ALWAYS pushes me over the edge from being tipsy into drunken, screeching harpie shitshow land (just ask Erin or Ilan!). Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but these days, the bramble is my “beginning of the night” or “only drink of the night” drink. It’s so damn tasty and berry/winter appropriate that you forget how much goddamn gin & vodka are packed into that sucker. Fun fact: you can also get this drink at Royal Oak, though it’s not nearly as awesome in that environment.
On Graham & Grand.

6. Bar(n)— Part of the Flatbush Farm restaurant (which I’ve never eaten at officially), it seems to be THE birthday spot for my friends of South Brooklyn. Again, wood is a prominent feature here. I really love the assortment of beers they have here, especially that they have Schneider Weisse—a nice, light wheat beer that clocks in at slightly over a pint. Yes I inappropriately used the phrase “clocks in,” whatever. Anywho, it’s a nice spot for when you’re over in that area, and sometimes, late at night, it even turns into a dance party. Of course, the one time some weird Eurotrash dude wandered in there, and OF COURSE me & my friends were making fun of him, he just HAD to be the one to relentlessly urge me to dance with him. But, thankfully, I think that is generally a rare occurrence.
Located simultaneously on St. Marks, 6th Ave, and Flatbush Ave. somehow. That criss-crossy, non-gridded area frightens & confuses me like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. But it’s worth it!

7. Scratcher-- This was one of the first bars I’d ever been to in NYC. Christina Ricci & Adam Goldberg frequent here, and yes, it can be a bit i-banker-y sometimes, BUT, the undergrounded-ness, Christmas lights, stuck-together seat-table things, secret table spots, and Nick Drake itunes prominence make this bar irresistible. I can almost think of no winter situation that cannot be applied to going to this bar—getting cozy with red wine on a date, reminiscing with old college friends with pints & pints of Boddingtons, or just watching the snow fall and writing in your journal (CHEESE!) with some Jameson. It can get pretty crowded sometimes, but I somehow always seem to have the perfect timing. So, either go with me, or develop your own stick-shift-clutch-type relationship with it.
Located on e5th between Bowery & 2nd in Manhattan.

8. Brass Monkey— All the fucking way on the WAYYY West side, it may seem inconvenient. But, not if you work in or around that weird Chelsea/Meatpacking/West Village border like I do. Honestly, if you find yourself in the area, it’s a total haven from all the horrendousity (so what if that’s not a word!?) of the Meatpacking. Here’s the thing— not only do they have an incredibly impressive selection of beers (not cheap though, mind you), but they have an insane amount of space, so it’s never really that crowded, and is ideal for larger groups. Oh, and did I mention the interior is entirely wood? Naturally.
Located on little W12th St, sort of under the right side of the West Side Hwy.

9. The Richardson— This is a recent discovery of mine, mostly because it’s pretty new. It has all the nice cocktail-y faux-speakeasy things about Hotel Delmano without the attitude (and without the me getting kicked out of it or acting inappropriately on more than one occasion, but let’s not get into that…) or pretension. AND they have tasty, tasty snacks. AND it’s a pretty huge space and semi-conveniently located near to the BQE and the Graham stop on the L, just past Daddy’s. Their Pimm’s Cups are better than Delmanos anyway. YES, you heard me! I said it! IN WRITING, no less. Why does it seem like I’m getting more & more belligerent in this post even though I’m stone cold sober? Whatevs.
Located on Graham & Richardson (duh).

10. Roebling Tea Room— So yes, this isn’t technically a bar, but I just decided to throw a curveball at’cha. Does the fun ever start? Sorry…anyway….I just think this is a nice alternative if you don’t necessarily feel like drinking, but don’t feel like restricting yourself so rigidly either. The space is humongous, and has a few couches for larger groups or laptop writing. They obvs have an insane selection of tea and tea-like drinks (coffee even!), but they also have a very inexpensive and pretty good house red, along with nice bottle & on draft beers. The best thing is the BAKED BRIE plate, though, with walnuts, greens, apples & whole grain bread. NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING beats that on a winter afternoon. Great, I’m hungry now.

Photos from internet.

1 comment:

  1. Mayhap I shall visit you young folks sooner rather than later!