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« Monday, October 18th, 2010—Bar 281 | Main | Saturday, October 16th, 2010—Bar 279 »

Sunday, October 17th, 2010—Bar 280

Day 280—Saturday, October 16th, 2010
El Sombrero A.K.A. The Hat (Originally headed to Spitzer's Corner)

Live...from New York, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger! With musical guest...anyone except Richard Marx. A special appearance from BBC bar crawler, Gene Rubbico, just back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan! And now all the way from the Lower East Side in Manhattan...Spitzer’s Corner!

And here we are, Spitzer's Corner on Cheeseburger Saturday Night.

Goddamn, there's a line at the door and it's only 7pm. That's not a good sign.

The front bar is jammed, but the bouncer told me there was another bar in the back.

And he was right, but it's packed as well. Shit. Time to improvise and take that lonely walk.

Every bar I pass is packed. I think it's because there was a playoff game at 4pm, so people went out early. I'll be glad when that fucking thing is over. (I'm not a baseball fan, but I do hope the Yankees win it.)

The Hat Restaurant! (Some people call it El Sombrero, but I prefer The Hat.) I haven't been in this place for years, I used to love it in here. If I remember correctly, there's a small bar in the back.

And there it is and there's plenty of seats. Areeeba!

Bartender Gina serves up a Negra Modelo along with some Lower East Side attitude. I love it!

The lovely Stephanie was the other bartender on duty.

As you can see, they have a full bar here.

And chips and salsa magically appear on the scene. The salsa was spicy and delicious.

Here's a shot of the cozy dining room.

There's a nice view outside the windows that line the far wall.

Sombreros, Mexican art and artifacts hang on the opposite wall.

More sombreros atop the jukebox. This place really lives up to its name!

Meanwhile back at the bar, Stephanie and Gina are busy mixing drinks. It's a thirsty crowd tonight. I placed my food order, but was told you can't eat at the bar. So I was promptly seated...

Right here at this table.

And here's Stephanie with my Mexican feast.

A birds-eye view shot of the chicken and cheese enchiladas. They have giganzo portions here. It comes with beans and yellow rice.

And here I am getting ready to devour it. It was delicious.

Uh, oh, that elephant's starting to turn pink, time to go home. Goodnight, everybody!

Some people call it El Sombrero, some refer to it as The Hat. I call it a nice, cozy relaxing restaurant and bar to kick back and have a nice Mexican meal and some ice cold cervezas. El Sombrero has been on the block in the Lower East Side for over 25 years and the patrons are all neighborhood regulars with some packs of NYU students invading it occasionally. The jukebox features Latin music and the tables in the dining room can be pushed together for larger groups. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing.

There’s no draft beers here, but some of the selection of bottled beers include: Bass, Presidente, Negra Modelo and Tecate. There’s also margaritas available and a full bar for any type of mixed drink. The menu includes all the regular Mexican staples such as burrtios, tacos, enchiladas and chimichangas. Some of the specialties of the house include: Crispy Red Snapper Burritos, Sizzling Skillet Sliced Filet Of Beef, Steak Ranchero and a Roasted Half Chicken rubbed with lemon and garlic, over scallion, bacon mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach.


They’re open till 2am on weeknights and 4am on the weekends, if you’re looking cap off your night with some Mexican treats. ¡A las últimas noches y al sombrero del EL!

108 Stanton St. (@Ludlow St.)

Bonus Photos!
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember back in May we were visited by Gene, Smoopy and Terry from Baltimore, collectively known as the BBC (Baltimore Bar Crawlers.) They blew into town for a few days to booze it up (rumor has it that between them they had over 387,421 drinks during their visit and went to over 4,698 bars, these people are serious bar crawlers) before Gene had to do a tour of duty in Afghanistan for the Air Force Reserves. Well, Gene did his duty and now he’s back. He was dry as a bone for months as you can’t drink alcohol over there, but he sent in some pictures of his trip back home and shared some photos of him enjoying his first beers and bars in Germany on his way back home. Here they are with captions provided by Gene. Welcome back, Gene, I look forward to boozing it up with you, Smoopy and Terry soon!
Ramstein, Germany. Me having my first beer in 128 days. 1 litre of some kind of dark Hofbrau. It was good!
Ramstein, Germany. Me having my second beer. A tasty Veltins.

Darmstadt, Germany. Die Theke. Found this place after walking around for a half an hour looking for a real German bar.

Die Theke is a nice little German place. Bartender didn't speak English, or take dollars! (Note from Marty: Holy moley!)

Die Theke...me having my 4th beer with two chaps from England. Cheers!


I spoke with 365 commentator and co-pilot Al Rizo in Miami today and he reminded me that Barbara Billingsley died yesterday. She's best known for playing June Cleaver on "Leave It To Beaver."

Here's a great "Leave It To Beaver" satire from SCTV. Enjoy!


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Reader Comments (21)

How about Gina with that middle finger,,,I love a good natured insult right off the bat,,,make's me feel at home. (My wife does that too) Gina has a sweet smile, look's like a great gal. Hey how about sending Gina over to that Tropical pool bar and showing them bitches how its done. Stephanie is lovely. I didn't know you hung out with Tony the bartender from Desmonds,,,,look at the picture of the guy walking into the bar, looks like him,,huh? A shout out for Gene,,,thank you for serving and drink up, you earned it.

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@Al: That shot of Gina is one of my all time favorites! It really cracks me up. And you're right, that does look like Tony! Maybe he's stalking me. And you're right about Gene deserving those beers: TO GENE!

October 17, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Another great bounce-back. I'll take The Hat over Spitzer's any day of the week. I agree with you and Al, that shot of Gina is priceless! You didn't get your usual cheeseburger, but the grub looks tasty! Welcome back to Gene! Hope to see the BBC back on the crawl in the future! Oh and next week can you get Don Pardo to do the intro? LOL!

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

I LOVE that you ended up at The Hat. It was one of the great places to drink and eat on the LES before it was overrun. In fact, one of the drunkest nights I ever had involved frozen margaritas at The Hat (actually, it may have been The Hat II around the corner, which I think is now gone).

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFat Al

@Fat Al: I never knew there was a Hat II, was it owned by the same people? I'm glad I ran into this place, that Spitzers joint was teeming with what appeared to be real asswipe people.

October 17, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Stephanie ... :)

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

Yo, Gene...BACK TO THE WORLD! Great shot of Gina...I guess thats how they say; "You're number one" on the Lower East Side!

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Glad you found another friendly place to help erase the memories. And you can never go wrong when you eat mexican! Welcome back Gene, glad to see you're safe and able to drink again :)

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

I'm fairly certain it was the same people. It was right on the corner of Stanton and Allen and it was bigger and less crowded than the original. It was when my buddy lived in a tiny one BR on Ludlow with a tub in the kitchen (at the time the businesses on the block were pretty much Katz's, Max Fish and The Hat), and the floor in the apartment was extremely slanted, and after 6 pint-sized frozen margaritas, that slanted floor became a real problem.

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFat Al

Another walk through lonesome town...personally, I wouldn't drink in a place that had Spit in it's title.

@Gene: Good work mate!...German beers! Big German beers! They would have been amazing after a long dry spell in the desert. Looks like a cracking week of NFL. I'd assume that you're a Ravens fan?
Too bad about the loss in extra time but still a good game. Sucks to have to get up at 6am on a Monday to watch it.

@365: You've fucked up the space/time continuem (spelling?) by sitting at a table. I guess I'm lucky I'm not autistic. That Mexican plate looks like a great homestyle meal. Shan and I drank a box of sweet, sweet mexican brews yesterday in the sun listening to US internet radio. Next weekend we'll be cranking out Woody radio. Have you drank Sol before? Awesome brew. It's exactly like Corona but $20 cheaper.


October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang Love's ZioumZioum

@Tim: Danm Ravens! I also like the Chargers and Giants and Jets ... not a good day!


October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Fat Al: It seems like every apartment in the LES back in the day had a tub in the kitchen.

@Tim Clack: You've come up with a new rule! Never drink at a bar with spit in the title. (The two other rules for those of you just tuning in are: bars with tin ceilings are always going to be great and if Richard Marx comes on the jukebox or sound system, run, don't walk to the exit sign.) I've never heard of Sol's, but I'll keep an eye out for it.

@JHwang: I take it you've cracked open a beer or two already! Cheers!

October 17, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Hat's off to the Hat!
I like Gina already!
Welcome back Gene. Thanks for all you do.
Yes, that is a great German piece...er PLACE!
Holy Moley!

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@BORIS: that "piece" was quite a joy to watch scooting around the bar :)

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

I'll bet it was.
Again. Glad you had a safe deployment.
Thanks again.
Good seeing you back here.

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

That Beaver skit was awesome,,,never seen it before, June Cleaver was always so calm about everything, and the necklace she always wore,,, SCTV hit it with this,,,that dude that plays Beaver actually looks like him.

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@Al: That's John Candy playing Beaver. This is one of my favorite clips from SCTV. A classic.

October 18, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Mmm...that food looked good. I'm gonna punch that address into my transmogopherer and head there as soon as I land. Nothing like a mid-afternoon margarita to start things off right. And I hope I get the one-fingered salute from Gina. Welcome to NY! HA HA HA! Dig it. Anyhoo, glad you found such a great place to escape from all those baseball fans. As for your first stop - Spitzer's Corner - isn't that the name of Elliott's bootleg porn tape? DON'T REQUEST THE SPECIAL SAUCE!!!

Hey! Welcome home, Gene! Cheers!

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

Welcome Home Gene!! Very nice bar you choose in Germany, it looksed like fun and the beer downright delightful.

Thank you for your service to our country.

Marty, The Hat rocks love it completely and the food looks so delicious. I LOVE spicy Salsa and chips. Yum and the enchilada and rice...fantastic!

Negra Modelo is a yummy beer i love it. We have similar tastes which makes me very happy.

You craked me up with this one, "Bartender Gina serves up a Negra Modelo along with some Lower East Side attitude. I love it!" I love it too!! Yay Gina!

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

@Tiki Bar Susie: I think that picture of Gina is one of my favorite's of the whole bar crawl, glad you got a larf out of it!

October 19, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

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