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Entries in Classic NYC Bars (2)


Friday, June 25th, 2010—Bar 166

Day 166—Tursday, June 24th, 2010
Rum House

First off, thanks and a shout out to Fat Al for giving 365 a shout-out about the Subway Inn stop in his blog, “The Half Empty Glass,” that he writes and runs with his fellow contributer anonymous271. Here’s the post: 365 in the Half Empty Glass. Thanks, Fat Al, let me know when you guys want to join the crawl, I’ll buy the first round.

Every year Esquire magazine puts together a list of “America’s Best Bars.” There’s two bars in New York City that made the list this year and one of them (Old Town) I’ve already been to. The other is a place called The Rum House in the Edison Hotel on 47th St. near Broadway. That’s within walking distance from where I work, so let’s go see if Esquire called the right shot here.

Okay down 30th street...

Over to Broadway...

And awaaay we go!

Hello pretzel man.

Hello smiley pretzel man.


Yikes, it feels like last Friday all over again, where the fuck is this hotel?

Whew! Here we are. Now where's the bar?

Right next door, and it looks promising.

Nice and dark inside and it has the feel of the old Times Square. Nice choice, Esquire! I'll renew my subscription.

Francisco is a true gentleman and an excellent old-school bartender. And he knows the secret way to hold the 365 Bar Crawl card. Not too many people are clued into this.

Part time waiter, Steve told me the bar is struggling to exist, with rising rents and other bills bars face. Stop in here and have some drinks and let's help this place survive. It's one of the last worthwhile watering holes in Times Square.

Free pretzels!

A great tin bartop.

There's tables in the back.

Mary and Brian work down the street and said it would suck if the place closes.

The crowd here is a nice mix of friendly locals and tourists.

Francisco hard at work.
Meanwhile, back at the bar I met Martin, who was visiting New York from Ireland.

Then Joan and Lasse stopped in. They're a fun couple visiting from Denmark. The beers are really starting to flow now, along with good conversation. Tonight is one of the great night's on the old crawl.

John and John (could it be that I've drank so much at this point I'm hearing double?) join the party.

Another great night meeting and hanging out with new friends from all over the globe on the Bar Crawl! Goodnight, everybody!

Okay, since I got the idea to go here from Esquire, I’ll reprint their review (this way I don’t have to write one!)


The Rum House at Hotel Edison, New York

You're having: Scotch, rocks

When I'm in New York, I often ask to meet people at my favorite dark bar, a place called the Rum House that fronts the Hotel Edison on 47th Street. Not because it has a good jukebox (it does), or because the drinks are remarkable (they are not), or because it's an old-timey Times Square haunt. I like it because the windows in the Rum House face north, toward the cold cavern of a midtown cross street, hugged as they are on either side by heavy curtains. Because passers-by tent their brows and press the glass for a look at the guts of the place, which the darkness does not yield.

Because when I get there early and let my eyes adjust, I always get the first long look at the blinking and uncertain face of whosoever I am meeting. The place gives me options while they search the darkness. I can stand, or I can wave them over to where I sit, or I can wait until they recognize who I am and where we are. —Tom Chiarella


Esquire, you made the right call on the Rum House, one of Manhattan’s finest and a dying breed of a bar. Good review Tom, but I had a Beer, bottle; about seven of them. Cheers!

Rum House
228 W. 47th St. (Near Broadway)


Thursday, June 10th, 2010—Bar 151

Day 151—Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Old Town Bar (Originally headed for Sophie's)

I got an email suggestion for a bar from Ian Roure. He suggested Sophie’s in the East Village and it’s a spot I’ve been meaning to go to, so that’s tonight’s destination.

And now a plug-ola for Ian since he suggested this joint. Ian fronts a great band called The Larch . It’s post-punk power pop with a touch of psychedlia thrown in. They have new album and you can check it out right here: Larix Americana by The Larch. And of course I never would have met Ian, had I not met his lovely wife (she sold me an ad years ago!) Liza Garelik who not only plays keyboards and sings with The Larch, she’s got her own musical group, Liza and the Wonderwheels. Check this amazing band right here: Liza and The Wonderwheels.

Alright, time to get crawling, Ian asked for Sophie’s, so he’s gonna get Sophies. Away we go!

It's a chilly and rainy night tonight and it's going to be rough to catch a cab.

Motherfucker, I've been out here for ten minutes and nothing! I'm not walking all the way to the East Village from here, I'm already tired from my shift at work.

Looks like I have to start the old familiar lonely walk down Fifth Avenue in search of a bar. Cue up the song, boys.

What a shitty night!

And still not a cab in sight. I'll go to Sophie's next week, Ian.

Memories, doo doo doo doo da doo...

Then at 23rd and Fifth it hit me...

Old Town Bar! I've been meaning to stop here on the crawl and tonight's the night!

Esquire magazine named Old Town one of the best bars in America. Not just New York, America!

And here we are, the legendary Old Town Bar. (We celebrated commentator Biff's birthday here last year!)

Bartender Patrick serves up not one...

But two bottles of Bud. I need to shake off the rainy chill from the walk here. Cheers!

There's a full bar here at Old Town.

And it's a cellular free zone! You gotta love it!

The walls are lined with large and comfortable wooden booths.

Old Town photos can be had at their website: Old Town Photos.

There's tables in the back for larger groups to convene and drink at.

Memorabilia and photos hang on the walls.

Patrick buys a round for a group at the bar and gets the party into full gear.

Here's Patrick with his girlfriend Colleen. America's cutest couple!

Denise was seated nearby and we happen to work in the same industry as I do and I had a nice conversation with her.

And since this is bar 151, Patrick and I have two shots of Bacardi 151. Salud and goodnight everybody!

If the Old Town Bar gives you a sense of Deja Vu, you’re probably old enough to remember the original opening sequence of the David Letterman Show when he was on NBC. They picked this iconic NYC bar to film the opening credits footage. From the tin ceilings to the tiled floor to the long and sprawling dark wooden bar, Old Town is a true and blue old school Noo Yawk joint. The large wooden booths and the memorabilia on the walls complete the picture of a perfect NYC tavern. Esquire magazine named it one of the best bars in America, check it out: Esquire’s Best Bars in America (scroll to number 16).

This historic tavern has a full bar with a decent bottled and draft beer selection.
They are also a restaurant (a full dining room is available upstairs) and some of the selections include: Steak Salad, Clam Roll, A Liverwurst Sandwich on Rye, Sliced Steak Sandwich and five varieties of burgers, which are their specialty. There’s a working dumbwaiter that delivers the meals to the bar, one of the few in town.

Old Town Bar is a must stop for any bar crawler living or visiting in New York City and it’s a cellular phone free place as well. God bless the Old Town Bar!

Old Town Bar
45 E. 18th St. (Near Park Ave. South)