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« Saturday, July 24th, 2010—Bar 195 | Main | Thursday, July 22nd, 2010—Bar 193 »

Friday, July 23rd, 2010—Bar 194

Day 194—Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
International Bar

The PayPal donation bell has rung again! Al Rizo from Miami sent in 25 bucks with this stated purpose on the PayPal receipt: “For the darkest dive in NY, preferably the International Bar in the East Village.” Thanks so much for the generous donation, Al! Al’s a daily commentator here and has contributed in the past and I appreciate the donation. And every dime I get goes back on the bar crawl, so if you enjoy this journey I’m on and can send a few bucks, it’ll help me out a lot. My night job doesn’t pay big-time dough and it’s expensive doing this. Okay, the begging portion of this post is over (for now!)

Al asked for the International Bar and that’s exactly what Al is going to get. This is a legendary New York dive bar and it should be a good night. Get ready to dive in, Al, this dark bar is for you!

No bright signage for this dark bar, just a gold-leafed logo on the window, nice.

Here's the doorman, who's name I forgot to write down, if you're reading this, leave your name in the comments section and I'll update it.

There's one seat at the bar and I'm taking it. It's darker in here than the photo suggests, the flash brightens it up. Take my word for it, this is a true dark bar. Good choice, Al!

Elaina the beautiful and friendly bartender serves up the first of many three buck cans of Schaefers.


Some of the drink specials on the walls.

The bar in all its darkness.

A big can opener in a little bar. Makes me think of Chris Farley.

Alvin was seated next to me and toasted the 365 Bar Crawl.

A dark painting in a dark bar, I love it.

Edgar Winter moment.

Jacques was here in the evening, but said he prefers mornings at the International Bar. Jacques has a restaurant in Brooklyn, check it out here: Bartabac.

Susan was seated at the end of the bar and I had a nice conversation with her.

Roger was the other bartender on duty, here he is in action.

There's tables in the back of the bar.

Meanwhile back at the bar Susan and Elaina are chatting.

The International Bar has a great selection on the jukebox. Some of the artists you can listen to include: The Damned, Patsy Cline, Nina Simone, The Byrds, Leonard Cohen, Big Star, Buck Owens and The Shaggs. Any jukebox that has The Shaggs on it is alright by me.

I met two fellow-midwesterners at the bar, Doug and Joe. Both are from Chicago, Doug still lives there and Joe lives here in New York.

Susan's friend Unkle Waltie stopped by for a drink.

Here's Elaina and Keith with a fan that Keith brought in as a gift for Elaina. Keith's a photographer, check out his work here: Keith Sirchio.

Casper the Friendly Ghost says, "Goodnight, everybody!"

Al has written to me and told me he prefers dark bars, which shows he’s a true bar aficionado. Dark bars are the best bars, check out Esquire magazine’s defintioin of a dark bar: The Dark Bar in Esquire. Sadly, these days, dark bars seem to be slowly becoming extinct. But the International Bar is a true dark and divey bar in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It’s a legendary bar that closed in 2005 and was resurrected in 2008 by East Village musician Molly Fitch and her partner Shawn Dahl. The bar is a narrow, railroad styled bar with quirky signage and knick knacks on the walls, cheap drinks, friendly bartenders and a local cliental that are friendly to newbiers stopping by the bar.

The drinking is easy and cheap here. It’s a full bar and the some of the bottled beers include: Corona, Budweiser Amstel and Rolling Rock. Cans of Genesee Lager can be had for two bucks and Schaefer cans are three dollars apiece. There’s a full bar and the drinks are strong and the martini’s are made to overflow the generous-sized glasses.

The International bar opens it’s doors early at 8am, but even at that hour it’s a dark bar. A true Manhattan original.

International Bar
120 1/2 First Ave. (Near 7th St.)

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Reader Comments (28)

When you say dark bar in connection with NYC, images from detective movies start flashing through my head. To the best of your knowlege, has the international bar ever inspired any real detective stories or movies? See any Popeye Doyle types fuming away at the end of the bar wearing a trenchcoat and a .38 strapped to his ankle?

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

@Jaws: Ididn't see any, but I'm sure this place has been used in movies. I'll do some research and see if I can find out.

July 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Holy crap! I haven't seen Schaefer in a while! Good to see it still exists. And same goes for the International Bar. Dark bars are the best, especially when they're filled with good people, which -clearly - this place is. Thanks to Molly and Shawn for re-opening the joint, to Marty for taking us in for a visit, and special shout-out to Keith for taking Elaina that fan. It's not only purty to look at, it's about to be much-needed. It's going to hit 105 in Ohio today and that shit's heading your way!!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

Thank you so much for going to the I Bar so quickly. I really appreciate that. I like how Molly and Shawn have kept it dark and the deep purple wall fits perfectly. You are correct, dark bars are becoming extinct and yes, that's what I look for in most bars, the I Bar shows how a small place can become a real good bar with minimal crapola. Remember the place sat there gutted for three years until Molly and Shawn came along. They even had to buy the mahogany bar from the Raccoon Lodge and install it at the I Bar,, thats some dedicated owners,,,,, Way to go Marty.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@Biff: Thanks for the heat warning, I'm alerting my air conditioner to be on high alert.

@Al: Thanks for the donation and the great suggestion of this bar, one of the best on the crawl so far!

July 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

didn't know that hot doorguys existed:)
and that bartender.. wow.. she is beautiful....
I love this place.
thank you Al for suggesting it!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

only 6 bars to go for 200. will it be dear i say the theskinnybarlounge.com

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternick beal

Great choice from Al and great coverage and photos as always from Marty. Beautiful team effort on the crawl!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

I too, love a dark bar....probably because i have a better chance of getting picked up by a drunk horny slut in a dark place. The last time i got lucky i ended up with a large woman that looked like George C. Scott! I did not notice this until we got outside under the streetlamps, so i Pattoned her fanny and told her to hit the highway!

There is a backyard with tables too, though I don't know when it closes. I've only noticed it when the Sun was out, and I've never been back there because the Sun was out. Ask for a "Special" and you'll receive the Genesee lager and a shot of Evan Williams bourbon for $4. I think half the bar drinks this which may be why they are so friendly.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMySoCalledLiver

Looks like a fun and fabulous place!!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

LOL Prof!!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

Schaefer is The One Beer to have , when your having more then One .
Remember that Schaefers commercial song , or I am just to old ?

@Professor: Ha ha ha! I've felt your pain, but I'll never tell.

@Jason: I'd say you're too old, but that would make me ancient, so I'll just pass on the advice of Bluto Blutarsky: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

July 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

i agree with gidget, hot doorman! this place looks like a good place to sit and get plastered at. dark bars are good because everyone looks good in them. LOL!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

@My So Called Liver: Thanks for the garden information and drink special.

One other thing I left out is that there's no TV's in the joint and that alone elevates it above most other bars.

July 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Hey Marty,,, no TV's for sure elevates this bar because it seems most of the places have 200 tv's going all the time. A bar should be about socializing and that box spewing sports, and tea party politics just gets in the way of enjoying a drink with people in a dark atmosphere,,,lets see how many bars are going to make the no tv list.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Wow..dark bar! Will definitely have to check this out. Really curious how dark it really is.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSleeplessInNewyork

No lights, no tvs, no assholes = nice bar

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

Marty - did you get the donation I sent through a couple of weeks ago?

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Brooks

You did, David and I apologize for not acknowledging it. Another friend of mine just sent me an email asking if I got his donation and I looked and fucking PayPal hasn't been sending me email notifications when donations come in. I'm going to thank you in tomorrow's post and I'll thank you right here in the comments, Thanks David, mate! I appreciate your generosity and friendship!

July 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Hey Marty.......Did you get that 5000 dollar donation from me that i sent last week? If not......Fuck yo ass.....I'm goin out an getting me sum Ho's and bitches and a whole shit load of booze to kill the bug up my ass!

Yes, Professor, I got it and spent it on a hooker that looked like George C. Scott. She kept calling me Bob though and asked me to Patton her ass, whatever that means. I think she was high on crack. Send more money soon!

July 24, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

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