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Friday
Oct292010

Friday, October 29th, 2010—Bar 292

Day 292—Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Phil Hughes

While Googling around tonight I came up with what I think will be a real winner. I found a bar on the Upper East Side called Phil Hughes that has been around for four decades, so they must be doing something right. Plus, if you’re like me, you’re wondering, “Who the hell is Phil Hughes? Let’s go find out.

The outside of the bar is unassuming and kind of looks like an apartment house, but the Heineken sign gave them away, let's go check it out.

Oh boy, this looks like the real deal here. A dark, quiet dive bar where people come to drink, period.

The bartender was a nice woman, but didn't want her picture taken. She took my photo and then reluctantly said I could take photos after I told her I wouldn't bother any of the people at the bar and would keep my flash off so I wouldn't bug anyone. The following pictures were snapped in about five minutes before she could change her mind. I had to document this joint!

There's lots of booze here, but I wouldn't order a Cosmopolitan if I were you.

An ancient Guinness sign hangs on the wall behind the bar.

I think this cash register is the original deal.

There's dark wooden tables opposite the bar, but none of the regulars sit at them.

Here's a window seat, table for two!

A lantern on this wall illuminates some pictures of sports scenes from the past.

And there's more pictures and a lantern on this brown wall.

There's a pool table in the back room, but I don't think it gets a lot of use. The regulars here use most of their energy to shuffle to their spots at the bar.

Old Glory hangs on the back wall. Somebody cue up The Star Spangled Banner.

After taking my pictures I had a few beers and chatted with a retired sanitation worker at the bar over a few Budweisers. On about the fourth beer I asked the bartender who Phil Hughes was. She told me he was the original owner and that he died a couple years ago. His family now owns the bar and hopefully they'll keep it in business. She pointed to his picture hanging at the bar hugging a dog. I asked if I could take a picture and she smiled and said I could. "Oh," she said, as I walked over to take the shot, "turn on your flash for that one." It was one of those moments that make me glad I'm doing this. TO PHIL HUGHES! Goodnight, everybody.

Review
This is one of the last true old-school New York watering holes. If you’re under 60-years old, you’ll probably be the youngest person in the joint. This bar has absolutely no frills, no specials, no gimmicks and is a true throwback to what a bar should be—a place to sit and throw back drinks in a dark and dank atmosphere. The patrons of Phil Hughes are grizzled and drizzled regulars who shuffle and limp to their bar stools and drink beers and shots. Talk can get lively and then it will fall silent again as everyone takes pulls off of their bottles of bud and straight up scotches.

There’s a full bar here, but the beer choices are strictly domestic and if you order anything more complicated than a screwdriver, you’re pushing the limits here. There’s no food or kitchen, but if you want to bring in a slice from a neighboring pizza place, I don’t think anybody would mind. And if you’re an early morning drinker, like a lot of the retired regulars here are, you’re in luck, the bar opens at 8am.

Stop in and have a drink or two at Phil Hughes and keep a legendary dive bar alive. But leave the plastic at home, Phil Hughes only takes cash...on the barrelhead, son.

Phil Hughes
1682 First Ave. (Near 88th St.)
No phone (The mark of a truly great bar!)

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Reader Comments (23)

CLASSIC CRAWL! A great find and glad you got to take pictures. Loved the fact that she told you to turn the flash on for the Phil Hughes photo. TO PHIL HUGHES!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

TO PHIL HUGHES!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

I could easily make Phil Hughes my favorite bar if I lived in the area. I can see myself sitting there without too much distractions and holding forth with older gentlemen who I usually refer to lovingly as "old farts", usually a woman bartender is best in a place like this to keep the old farts in line, like here. Less is more sometimes,,,here it works. A really great find and one to visit for sure. TO PHIL HUGHES!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

This place does get a few youngsters on the weekends, who actually play pool. I come here to escape mad frat sports bars in the Upper East Side when a game is on. When I was last here I made the mistake of answering my phone, 'cause it was my Mom. I mumbled that I'm probably the youngest one here, which was overheard by a woman who took umbrage. After I hung up she asked my age (43), and she happily agreed that I was the youngest and we had some conversation. I met a woman (in her 70's) who comes all they way from Woodside to hang out here. Pre-renovation, you would swear that you walked into a pensioners' pub in rural Ireland.

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMySoCalledLiver

@MySoCalledLiver: This is one of the few bars I've been in where no one was talking on a cell phone or texting, pure heaven! A classic bar on the Upper East Side!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Definitely looks like a good place for no distractions. Just a beer. Can relate that sometimes you would just want a drink. Nothing else.

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

I wonder if Phil Hughes, from the Yankees, has ever wandered into here ?

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

To Phil Hughes!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Good floors in this place. And any guy who loves his dog enough to hug him in a photo must've been a good guy, indeed. TO PHIL HUGHES!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

funny, we have a Phil Hughes down here who opens the batting for the NSW & Australia cricket sides....he hails from the sleepy little town of Macksville about an hour drive from me....that pub looked like it belonged in Macksville & yeah i'd have a beer & a chat to to the locals in this one, ya never know who ya might meet, wot ya might learn....cheers to both Phil Hughes '!!!!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfitzy

TO EVERYONE NAMED PHIL HUGHES!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

awww FAAAAARRRRKKK!!!!!! yeah okay off topic, but i need to vent!!!! 6am here, i'm off to work when i see a ad on the idiot box for Port's Ironman Triathalon today...now dont get me wrong people, i have nothing personally against these fuckwits who think its cool not to drink, not to smoke, not to possess any form of personality wotsoever, people who pride themselves on having resting heart rates in the mid 20's, people, sorry "TRIATHLETES" that pay $800 buck entry fees to torture themselves for 8 hours & wonder why they are falling arse over head having heart failure....but more importantly these FUCKWITS have all the major roads thru & around Port closed off for the fuking cycle leg....now you can bet your bottom dollar i will get a rescue callout this morning/today where i cant get the ambulance to my koalas....FUCK OFF to Coffs Harbour or some fuckwit town that deserves your fucking IRONMAN!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfitzy

@Fitzy: If you're upset, let us know, don't hold it in like that, you might get an ulcer!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

It looks like a very nice bar indeed.

Cheers to my fellow 365 patrons, Cheers to you Marty and Cheers to Phil Hughes!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

@Tiki Bar Susie: Cheers to you, have a great weekend!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

that was sweet that she said you could use the flash for phils picture. to phil hughes!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

thanks for just being there marty!!! i knew you'd understand......

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfitzy

@Fitzy: Ha ha ha!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@Fitzy: You can send them down to Newcastle. I won't be here!

@MySoCalledLiver: We've got heaps of pubs down here like this one. There's a few sports clubs that I sometimes drink at where every regular looks like Bart Cummings (google him...he's a horse racing legend in Australia...you'll then see what I mean) Some pubs are like walking straight into the 1960's!

@365: Some serious drinking gets done here I bet. The sort of drinking that you do to forget about stuff. I reckon there's a bloke that sits at the bar with a photo of his wife in his pocket. He looks at it after every drink. Then the bartender asks if that's his wife in the photo. The man would reply "yes, it is". The bartender would then say..."I'm sorry, did she pass away?" the man then says..."No no no. I just like to look at it after every drink". "Why?" says the bartender. "be cause when she starts looking better, I'm going home!"....(rimhsot)....

Thats enough out of me for one day I think. So much shit to do....packing, cleaning, dog washing, dog feeding, then the drinking and the drinking....I'll more than likely visit the crawl tomorrow but if not....
WE'LL SEE MARTY, BIFF AND AARON ON TUESDAY...at a place in Greenwich Village!

@Tim Clack: Ha ha ha! Another good one! You going to be performing at comedy clubs when you're out here? I look forward to hoisting a few with you on Tuesday as you crash into the crawl!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

alright...how 365 found this place...how co-pilot al missed this place...how i can even say anything about this place...why do i bring up this about this place...this place is closed...yes out in/on the web in a couple places it is closed...it once did have a phone number and maybe phil's family said "what do we need a phone for?' and let it go...hell it has even been billed as "bar and restaurant" that doesn't serve food...i guess it is closed...nice classic find 365...to phil hughes...now way off topic...anyone see the daily show...lot of talk about chicken which was on topic on the crawl recently...KOC

rr

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@raginrr: Keep fucking that chicken!

October 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

thought the term was "chokin' that chicken"...KOC

rr

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

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