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« Wednesday, August 4th, 2010—Bar 206 | Main | Monday, August 2nd, 2010—Bar 204 »

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010—Bar 205

Day 205—Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Smith's Bar

Okay, first things first. The Chief who comments here and runs the fine Peoria Bar Review blog has a friend who’s playing a show in Brooklyn tonight. The guy’s name is Derrick Hart and check out one of his video’s here. And this is his website: Wrecking Ball Wreckords. He’s playing a show at Coco 66 and if you live in Brooklyn or want to see some good live music, check it out, it’s only five bucks at the door. I’d go, but I have to work. My fucking job always gets in the way, but I need the dough for the bar crawl.

And speaking of dough for the crawl, I got not one, not two, but three generous donations tonight. The first one is a generous 20 dollar donation from James Schiano, who was the friendly and hospitable bartender at Saturday’s venue, Jamie-Lynn’s Kitchen in Brooklyn. The message on James’s reciept said, “Get drunk on me.” Alright James, don’t mind if I do! Mucho thanks, James for your hospitality the other night and for this donation!

The number two donation was a generous donation of ten dollars from Matt Mullen who resides in San Rafael, California. The message from Matt was: “Hey, 365 bars guy, I enjoy reading your blog. If you can, buy a beer from California .” I’ll do my best, Matt, I’ll see what the bar has in stock. Thanks a lot for your donation!

And last but not least, Ryan Borho generously sent in a twenty dollar donation with the message saying: “Marty, Great website. Let me know next time you're on the UWS. From, Ryan Borho (son of Dane, nephew of Jim.)” Holy shitballs! A Borho lives in New York and no one told me? Thanks so much Ryan we’ll hang out soon! Say hi to your dad and uncle for me!

I wasn’t going to visit Smith’s Bar because I didn’t think they’d let me do the bar crawl thing in there.
Years ago I got thrown out of the bar when they found out I was writing a review of the place for Time Out New York. This place was a real New York dive bar and the only thing older and grumpier than the grizzled bartenders were the sizzled and sozzled geriatric alcoholics that frequented this dump. Well someone told me they renovated it last year and that the bartenders are friendly now and the vibe of the bar is totally different. That got me curious, so let’s go check it out.

You gotta love the half-lit neon sign.

It's Monday, so there's plenty of seats at the bar.

And friendly bartender, Troy serves up an ice-cold Corona. A friendly bartender in Smith's? A big difference since the last time I was in here over a decade ago.

And Matt, this isn't a California beer, but it's from Mexico which is close, cheers to you, James and Ryan for donating to the 365 cause!

Lee was seated next to me at the bar. He was in town from Leicester, England and is part of a comedy duo called Naylor and Gant. Here's a clip of one of their performances: Naylor and Gant.

Opposite the bar are large, German beer hall style wooden tables and stools.

Here's Jayna, the cute waitress on duty this evening.

More tables in the back with big windows providing a nice view of 44th street.

Tom and Kevin were enjoying drinks at the front of the bar in a window seat.

They asked me to join them in a picture and Lee grabbed the camera and got the shot.

You can gaze at a pay phone outside the front window that overlooks 8th Avenue.

As you can see, there's a huge beer selection available.

Jarrod, Cassie and Ashlee were in town from the land down under. That's right, more friendly Australians meet me on the bar crawl. You gotta love it!

They've cleaned the joint up, but the bar remains the same.

It turns out that the other bartender on duty was from England, so I had to get a shot of Lee and Peter together. Two English gentlemen in New York City.

And a parting shot as I make my way out the door. Goodnight, everybody!

Smith’s used to be a real dicey, Hell’s Kitchen dive bar. It’s been renovated and like much of the neighborhood, it’s cleaned up its act and the bartenders are now friendly and the cliental no longer consist of skid row alcoholics. It’s spacious inside with a long wooden bar and German beer hall tables to the side of it. There’s live music Wednesday through Saturday in an adjoining room which has its own bar. Every Tuesday is karaoke night at Smith’s.

You can quench your thirst here pretty much any time of the day, the bars hours run from 7am to 4am. There’s a full bar here with over a dozen beers on tap and a large selection of bottled beers including: Amstel Light, Corona, Beck's and Miller Lite (hello, Biff!) Smith’s has a large menu with breakfast, lunch and dinner items available. There’s nine varieties of burgers available, chicken wings, nachos, mac and cheese and hot plates including: Chicken-Fried Steak, Grilled Chicken Platter, Chicken Pot Pie and Fish and Chips.

The “new” Smith’s is a friendly joint where tourists and locals easily mix for a nice drink, free live music and karaoke on Tuesdays. But I have to be honest, a part of me misses the old Smith’s where I would’ve been thrown out on my ass for bringing my bar crawl in there.

Smith's Bar
701 8th Ave. (@44th St.)

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Reader Comments (27)

They totally remodeled Smith's. I would of never recognized it. This place was a real old NY dive when I went there years ago. Behind the bar it still looks more or less the same and the sign outside is the same. Wasn't Smith's bar the place that made the news recently because of Ted Koppel's son binging there in the morning, then passing out drunk and dying at someone's apartment?

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Not that I wish you or the 365 website ill Marty, but there ought to be at least one shot taken in at least one seedy very old school NYC bar with an irate, old school NYC bartender pointing his finger at the door and screaming "GET THE @#%* OUTTA HEAH!!!" to make the 365 experience truly complete!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Smith's does look like a very nice bar. I really enjoyed the photographs and it is neat to know that a few of the visitors there were from England. I spent a year studying overseas in London when I was a Junior in College, It was an amazing experience and England (and it's friendly people) will forever hold a dear place in my heart.

The bartenders and the cocktail waitress were so friendly and nice looking and it was great to see a nice variety of patrons enjoying the very cool establishment.

What is the deal with Hell's Kitchen anyway...why is it called that?

Marty, I am so glad that you gave Smith's another shot. I like their selection of draft and bottled beers too!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

Watched Lee's video..
very funny!
pretty funny cause I am eating a bit of red Leicester cheese.. which of course is from Leicester...
was gonna put it on a cheeseburger for lunch..
seams like a fun bar with a true pub atmosphere:)
and Jayna is quite the cutie!
really like this bar.. glad they remodeled it so you could give it a second chance.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

@Al: It was one of the stops that Ted Koppel's son made the day he died.
@Jaws: I had the experience at the fucking House of Brews, but sadly no picture to accompany it.
@Tiki Bar Susie: It's funny, I never thought about why it's called Hell's Kitchen, I'll have to look in to that and I'll post it when I find out.
@ Gidget; Post a picture of the cheeseburger on your blog if you get a chance. I've never seen Leicester cheese.

August 3, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@marty..i'm lagging on the cooking thing and just eating the cheese so far LOL.
i'll email you a pic of the cheese...
i'm distracted....
watching all of Lee's videos.. he is a very funny guy.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

@Gidget: Lee's a cool guy and that's what I love about this bar crawl, not only finding cool bars, but meeting the people inside of them. I look forward to your cheesy email!

August 3, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@Tiki Bar Susie: According to a show about old NY restaurants by Anthony Bourdain,, Hell's Kitchen got that name because immigrants moved to that section because it was affordable and they worked in low paying jobs in restaurants, dishwashing,, line cooks,,cleaning ,etc.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

It's a nice bar but I wish I could've seen it back in the day. Now I'm curious about the name Hell's Kitchen too. And I'm loving Lee's video's as well. It's cool how you meet people and help spread their talent and links around. I also enjoyed Derricks video. Lots of fun adn entertaining stuff here everyday!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

@Al: Thanks for clearing that up!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

Yay, Miller Lite (hello, Marty)! Looks like Smith's cleaned up real nice. Sounds like they have some good grub and entertainment options, although I'm glad you lucked out and went on a Monday, considering the fact that Tuesdays are karaoke and your ears may have exploded had you been subjected to that. I also am a great admirer of Smith's hours. After all, you can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning. Point is, I really like this bar. And although I'd probably miss the sleaze of the old-school dive, it has plenty of redeeming qualities. And you got some great pics of the joint, too. I especially like the half-lit neon and the one of the English gents, where the ceiling looks like an upside down fashion runway. Who needs Bryant Park, anyway?

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff


Rob Grant and Doug Naylor wrote Red Dwarf, a super-duper huge sci-fi comedy show in Britain that was popular about 15 years ago - I mean HUGE there. I think they worked on Spitting Image and Jasper Carrot too. I even read the Red Dwarf books by them, which were sci-fi/fantasty along the lines of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy series (the books by Douglas Adams, not the crappy movie)! Sorry, most of this is probably meaningless to US readers, but if that's the guy, then that's a pretty damn impressive celebrity 365bar appearance right there! Well done! I'm totally jealous!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTorquil

I miss the old Smith's. It used to have actual edge, like guys muttering slurs at you while you were trying to down your Bud in peace. Not always pleasant, but always real.

It also used to have a steam table. When that went, the place moved perilously close to the other generic joints on 8th ave.

That said, on those occasions (rare) that call for a 9:00 a.m. eye-opener, Smith's remains the go-to spot.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFat Al

Also, I read The Boy Who Wanted to be a Fire Truck a couple of weeks ago - it was great! I read it almost in one sitting!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTorquil

@Torquil: I hope Lee sees this and he'll answer whether it's the same duo. Have you checked the videos? I can't because I'm at work and it's blocked. Thanks for buying the book and I'm glad you enjoyed it, nice to hear from you!

@Fat Al: I agree with your senitments. This is not the Smith's of the old days, but it's not a bad joint to have a few beers and at least they kept the crazy-ass long hours! I always get a kick out of the fact I got thrown out of the old Smith's because I was going to write them up in Time Out New York!

August 3, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

When I worked @ Color Wheel some maybe 11 years ago I had 4:30 AM to 1 PM shift , so I would walk up 9th Ave @ about 3:30 or 3:45 AM & I would run into night life action , & there was 1 night that Smith Bar had some .
I walk up 9th Ave from home & would turn on 45 St , since there where always people around that didn't look like problems , you don't want to know what I had walked into in the past at that hour . So this one night I am walking east on 45 St & saw allot of police action , so even better I am not going to run into riff raff . When I got to 8Th Ave , all the police where on the right at 44 St where Smith Bar was & to my amazement there was a car crash & car was smashed into the smith window @ the right side of the entrance , I remembered this because I saw something odd , the car that crashed into the window was in the opposite direction of the cars moving up town on the street , I try to find out how that happen , but police where not to friendly that night . So did they renavated after that ?

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

I dont think it;s the same duo from Red dwarf.. that was Naylor and Grant.. he is gant without an r..
and they are much older than Lee...Seen them on one of my red dwarf DVD's ..but can't remember what they look like..but I dont think its them...I think they were alot older...

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

You're right! Gah! Stupid R's! Stupid excited eyeballs missing the difference! Oh well..

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTorquil

Smith's is not the same at all! At least they do have live bands and long hours, so you've got to give them that. Hell's Kitchen is a little too cleaned up in my opinion, but still some good spots around.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNYer

@torquil very glad to see another Red Dwarf fan though:)
best sci fi comedy show ever!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

I used to hear Red Dwarf from the other room while my dad watched it, forgot about that show. Maybe if I start hanging out in bars I'll meet some English men? I would like to meet some English men. I doubt they vacation in Utah though...
Nice bar.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

I wasn't a Red Dwarf Fan, but I did enjoy seeing Billy Barty Blush.

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Holy Crap i'm a bit late catching up on the crawl today..,
@ Tiki bar Suzy, 365 Bars and Al....Check out Wikipedia in regards to Hell's Kitchen.
They claim that there is several reasons behind it's name and it's not a Gordon Ramsay tv show.
Great to see some fellow Aussies out and about doing what we do best; Boozing it up in pubs.

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clack Downunder

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