Day 194—Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
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.
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.
120 1/2 First Ave. (Near 7th St.)