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Wednesday
Jan132010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010—Bar 3

Day Three, Tuesday January 12th—Double Down Saloon

Okay, day three.
Only 362 more to go. My liver just hicupped. Tonight I’m going to the Double Down Saloon. This was suggested by one half of last night's cutest couple from the Parkside Lounge, Eric Danville, pictured below.

I’ve heard of this place and I just checked out their website and one of their specialty drinks is called, “Ass Juice.” The bar’s motto is “Shut up and Drink.” So it should be an interesting evening!

Here we are and yeah, I know this is a shitty photo, but it was freezing out and I wanted to get inside and start drinking!

The bar was crowded and I got the last seat. Woo hoo!

One of the few rules in this joint is, "You puke, you clean!" Fair enough!

Allow me to introduce the first bartender of the evening, the lovely Jenna Leigh. In addition to being a super fun and fabulous looking bartender, Jenna Leigh also paints.

Update! Jenna Leigh just sent me one of her paintings (below), it's titled "Kerosene" and it's very cool! Great work Jenna Leigh, thanks for sending it in!


The Double Down is home of the fabled Ass Juice. As much as I was afraid to find out what this fabled drink was, I knew I had to sample it.

And Jenna Leigh was more than happy to pour me a shot of the fabled drink. I asked a question I never thought I'd ask in my life and the question was, "What is Ass Juice?" Jenna Leigh told me it was a secret, but told me a crucial ingredient is, "The blood of our enemies." Yikes!

And you know what? It wasn't too bad. For Ass Juice, that is!

 There's tons of drink specials at the Double Down, check them out.

These three were holding down the end of the bar, from left, Andre, Money and Stef.

Dany was visiting from Switzerland and said the Double Down was always on his to-do list when he comes to New York. Dany's a bartender in Switzerland, so he knows his shit when it comes to bars!

The front room of the Double Down.

I can live with this motto!

Okay, I'm stalkng Jenna Leigh with my camera, you got a problem with that?

 Great selections on the jukebox ranging from the Bobby Teens to Iggy Pop to the Clash, the Dead Milkmen and even Louis Prima.

No Hippies!

Here's the infamous Punk Rock Pony. After my shot of Ass Juice I was afraid to get on this thing, I wasn't in the mood to clean up my own puke.

The bar starts to pack up as the evening wears on.

The lovely and vivacious Alison was the other bartender on duty.

Maxy gets ready to break a game of pool, once I stop taking her picture.

Another drink special at Double Down is the Bacon Martini. Alison serves me one complete with Slim Jim swizzle stick.

Here's a close up of the bacon-infused vodka. And yes, the bacon is cooked and people have been known to eat it.

Here's my lame attempt at a pig face as I drink the Bacon Martini. As far as the drink goes, let's just say it's an acquired taste.

He's a Broker and she's a Para-Legal going to Law School. I present the Double Down's official Power Couple, David and Jessica.

Pinball!

Here I am with Jennifer and Meg. Jennifer (A.K.A. Ms. JennCity) is a musician and DJ, check out her websites: Suicide City and her MySpace page.

 Alison serves up the final Budweiser of the evening which leads to...

Bathroom break!

A surprisingly clean toilet for a punk rock joint!

Lots of graffiti on the walls, but no mirror for my obligatory bathroom shot. Drats!

Huh, I wonder what asshole wrote that graffiti on top of the toilet?

Review

In the ‘70s the word “Gonzo” was given birth. Legend has it that Boston Globe editor Bill Cardoso first used it to describe the writing style of Hunter S. Thompson. In the mid-ninties “Gonzo Porn” was the newest form of porno. And now thanks to Double Down Saloon, New York has its very own Gonzo Saloon!

It’s Gonzo meets Punk Rock as you enter the doors of the Double Down Saloon on Avenue A in the East Village of New York. It’s the home of the fabled “Ass Juice” and the saloon’s motto is “Shut Up and Drink!” The only rule is: “You puke, you clean!” which is fair enough. The bartenders are friendly and fun and the clientle are a mix of punk rock regulars and first timers checking the place out.

There’s daily drink specials, the best punk rock/garage juke box in town, a backyard smoking patio, a pool table, cool murals on the walls and even a sticker-riddled punk rock pony to ride. So quit moaning about C.B.G.B.’s closing and get your ass over to the Double Down Saloon. They bill themselves as “The Happiest Place On Earth” and after a few Budweisers, a shot of Ass Juice and a salty Bacon Martini, I have to agree!

Double Down Saloon
Double Down MySpace Page
Double Down Radio Show
14 Avenue A (@Houston St.)
212-982-0543

 

Tuesday
Jan122010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010—Bar 2

Day Two—Monday, January 11th—Parkside Lounge

Alright, I’m a little hungover from last night, but you know what they say when you fall off your bike...actually I have no idea what they say when you fall off your bike, I just know that the best cure for a hangover is more booze. I’ve been meaning to go to the Parkside Lounge ever since my friend Alex Tirpack started bartending there over a year ago, so now is as good as time as any to make the trip. And awaaaay we go!

Tonight it wasn't as cold as last night so I walked down Broadway and eastward on Houston till I arrived at the sea of neon announcing I had made it to the Parkside Lounge.

A river of booze awaits you at the Parkside Lounge.

And there to drink all things bottled and Budweiser is me!

Joining me in the swillfest is Parkside Lounge regular Rich Fahrer. Rich is a data analyst for CDM Connect (I hope that's the right name of the business, after only one drink my notes were a little garbled) and can drink a bottle of beer in 2.6 seconds. Really, I timed him.

This is Jodi, the manager of the Parkside Lounge. I pressed her for dirt on Alex, and while conceding he's a good bartender did confess that, "he's a dirty hippie." You read it here first, people! Take that Page 6!

Bill is another Parkside regular who told me the cheap drinks and ESPN are what lures him in.

And now for the cutest couple of the evening...Eric Danville and Victoria! It was announced at this photo session that they are oficially boyfriend and girlfriend. I blessed them with my third bottle of Budweiser and let them be in their romantic end of the bar. (Eric, by the way is a New York bar afficionado who recommended tonight's bar. Stay tuned for that, tomorrow!)

Foosball!

Dan Mackay is another regular at Parkside Lounge. He's an iron worker who's working right down the street, which makes the Parkside an easy after work stop.

Some of the many beers to be had, both bottled and draft.

Life, it's more than a cereal and a board game, it used to be a magazine as shown here on the walls of the Parkside Lounge.

I thought I'd check out the pool game brewing in the back of the bar.

Sadly, I blinded this fellow with my flash and he missed the shot. Sorry!

Two hand models from the Home Shopping Network were there to illustrate the highlights of the game.

Time for the nightly bathroom break.

One of the cleanest toilets in a bar I've ever seen!

And the sink is loaded with ice in case you need to freshen your drink up.

Sadly there was no mirror for my obligatory bathroom shot, but I did notice this graffiti on the sign over the toilet. Hmmm, I wonder what wise-ass left that there?

Cocktail watiress Celida demostrates the fine art of when life hands you lemons, put them in a tray and stuff them into other people's drinks.

Trip Henderson's Whistlin' Wolves were the featured band of the evening in the spacious back room and they put on a great show.

While Brian Brannigan isn't a regular, he is a professional guitarist with great tales of meeting Waddy Wachtel, seeing Little Feat and a fan of the late John Hartford, who I met at Peoria Steamboat Days. A long story, which I shared with Brian, but I'm not going to share it with you. You should've been there. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!

Bartender Emily (check out her band's MySpace page: Action City Blackout) performs her version of the Golden Globes at the Parkside Lounge. And the winner for the best writer/journalist/bartender/dirty hippie goes to...

Alex Tirpack! He'd like to thank all the little people who made this and his midget dick joke possible.

This is Christorpher Lee (no relation to the horror star) one of the owners (along with Karen) of the Parkside Lounge. When asked to dish the dirt on Alex, Christpher said he was a big fan of Alex, but when pressed did admit that he thought Alex was also a dirty hippie, in addition to being a great bartender. In addition to running the Parkside Lounge Alex is an actor here in NYC and has not one but two websites, check them out: Sparkplug Productions and Christopher Lee NYC.

Christopher told me that the Parkside Lounge has the best Bloody Mary in the world and the key to this is the special ingredients of pickled string beans and peppers. He says it's the ultimate and tastiest hangover cure to be found. Check it out some hungover Sunday.

Speaking of pickled, I was on my ninth or tenth beer and the writing was not on the wall, but on the sidewalk outside that my night was over. Goodnight everybody! And special thanks to Alex and the whole crew and crowd at Parkside Lounge, a splendid and fun time was had and I'll be back. You've been warned!

Review



The Parkside Lounge is a legendary Lower East Side hangout located in a part of New York that still feels like New York. It’s equal parts old school meets new school cool and definitely a smorgasbord of characters (on either side of the bar), fun, live music and a wide menu of cheap but good and potent drinks and a large selection of bottled and draft beers.

You can’t miss the bar on the corner of Houston and Attorney, due to the fact that it has the largest neon sign in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Once inside you’ll find a large bar, comfortable booths, a pool table, TV, foosball and a couple of video games for your perusal and playing adventures. The clientele ranges from neighborhood regulars to first timers drawn in from the hypnotic neon sign outside. It’s a fun mix of people and the bartenders and waitresses are some of the friendliest and fun in town. The night I was there a high-spirited joke telling-session between customers and staff provided big belly laughs in between many bottles of Budweiser.

There’s music and comedy every night of the week in the spacious back room. The music ranges from rock ‘n’ roll to country to acoustic and, well, just about any genre. Check Parkside’s MySpace page (below) for the schedule. Along with the music comedy is thrown into the mix some nights.  Most night’s there’s no cover charge for the music/comedy, which along with the cheap drinks to be had, makes the Parkside Lounge the perfect bar for these economically challenging times.

And be sure to try the Parkside’s specialty Bloody Mary. A patron recently told bartender Emily that the Parkside Lounge’s Bloody Mary, “changed his life.”

Parkside Lounge
Parkside MySpace Page
Parkside on Twitter
317 E. Houston (corner of Houston and Attorney)
212-674-9308

Monday
Jan112010

Monday, January 11, 2010—Bar 1

Day One—Sunday January 10th—Otto's Shrunken Head

Okay, here we go. It’s the maiden voyage of A Guy Walks Into 365 Bars. If you’re reading this I thank you for stopping by and hope you come back every day, as it will updated daily (usually in the afternoon). Make it easy on yourself and bookmark it for your convenience. If you’re not sure what’s going on, click here and find out: Walking Under The Influence.

Okay, it’s about 25 degrees and with the wind chill it like 14 blood-chilling degrees outside. So I’ve decided what better bar to go to when it’s a harsh motherfucking winter night, than a Tiki Bar. So I went to my good friend Google and typed in “New York City Tiki Bar,” and here’s what came up:



Otto’s Shrunken Head!
Sounds like a perfect place to start this crazy adventure. So put on lots of layers and let’s begin the cold walk to Otto’s Shrunken Head...hey, you over there, put a hat on for fuck’s sake! What are some sort of sadist? Okay, let’s go!

My first plan was to walk here, but it's so fucking cold out I hailed a cab and baboom, here we are at the corner of E.14th and 2nd Avenue.

Just a short walk down 14th Street and here we are, Otto's Shrunken Head! Let's go inside, I'm freezing my balls off!

Wow, I'm feeling toasty already and I haven't even had a drink yet. Oh, wait, I had three beers in my apartment before I left...never mind.

Speaking of beer, I thought I'd start out with a bottle of Bud before I go into exotic Tiki territory. Look at my notebook, what a journalist I am!

A view from my perch on my barstool.

This is the comfy back room where people are waiting for the next band to play.

Here's the fabulous bartender Lani, who has just whipped up my first Tiki drinky of the night, I believe it's called Naughty Hell, a place I like to frequent! It was delicious and loaded with booze, just the way I like them! And check out Lani's band Stark at their website: Stark Website.

Remember the crowd in the back waiting for the band? Well, here's the band they're waiting for, Sweet Magma. That's Matt on the right and Justin to the left. Check them out on MySpace: Sweet Magma.

And here's the third member of Sweet Magma, Nick!

Whoa, check out the Happy Hour, you get 241 Buds! I'll have to come back for that.

Here's Jessica Finn and Patrick Phalen. Jessica lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Matt lives right upstairs from the bar. I asked Matt if I could crash on his couch if I got too loaded and he said, "sure." They left shortly after that. I hope I didn't scare them away.

Onstage is Metal John. He puts on a one-man show with his guitar and it's pretty unbelievable. I didn't get a chance to talk with him, so you'll have to Google him to see if he's online anywhere. Hey I can't do all the work here, I have booze to drink! (Update: Here's his website: Metal John.)

Speaking of booze, here's the fabulous Lani with Tiki drink number 2, a Zombie. It was delicious!

Here's musician Bill Popp. Bill graciously gave me a CD and like an idiot I lost it. Here's his website, buy a CD or something, he's a great musician and a nice guy. Website: Bill Popp and The Tapes.

Here's the host and emcee for the night, Frank Wood. And here's Frank's website: Frank Wood Promotions. To his right is Patrick, who's band is 5 1 x 7. I hope I didn't mangle Patrick's band's name, if so, leave a comment or send me an email and I'll correct it. Yes, the booze is starting to kick in now.

Here's Frank announcing...

The aforementioned and seen, Sweet Magma! Great band!

And here's Lani with Tiki drink number three. I can't really remember what this was, but it was delicious!

Oh, oh, I've got Marty Feldman eyes!

Time for a break in the action!

Note to self: Get some stickers made that say, www.aguywalksinto365bars.com.

Obligatory bathroom mirror shot!

Warning shot: If you drink too many Tiki drinks, you'll resemble a Tiki drink in the morning. Thanks to Lani and everyone who talked to me at Otto's Shrunken Head, it was a grand and festive evening!

Review

Imagine that someone slipped some amphetamine into Don Ho’s tiny bubbles and he joined the Ramones. It sounds like a kooky scenario, but that’s the feeling you get as you walk into Otto’s Shrunken Head. It’s Tiki, Rum and Rock ‘n’ Roll, baby!

My favorite night to go out is Sunday night and I have to tell you that after living in New York for 16 years, this has to have been one of my favorite Sunday nights out. While I was there I saw three live bands and there was no cover. The fabulous bartender Lani was quick with the drinks and an excellent mixer of exotic Tiki drinks. The bar itself has plenty of tables, lots of room to stand and a band room with tables and comfortable chairs in the back. All done up in a fun and festive Tiki atmosphere, a nice respite on a freezing cold January night.

Otto’s is a cool Tiki bar loaded with rock ‘n’ roll attitude and a friendly neighborhood atmosphere. Plus scattered through the week they have live DJ’s spinning tunes, bands that run the gamut from Lounge/Exotica, Rockabilly, Punk, Country, Rock, Garage, Metal, Surf and Acoustic/Singer/Songwriter. They also feature Open Mics, Spoken Word/Poetry, Literary Readings, Film Screenings and have a monthly live band Karaoke night. So no matter what night you decide to go to Otto’s something will be shaking and baking.

Of course they’ve got a multitude of Rum based Tiki drinks, there’s also over half a dozed frozen specialty drinks and a full bar with about any kind of drink you would want and a decent amount of beer in bottles and on tap. Check out their website below for drink specials and other Otto info.

Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 East 14th St.
NYC 10009
212-228-2240