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Entries in dive bars (10)


Saturday, November 13th, 2010—Bar 307

Day 307—Friday, November 12th, 2010
Hickey's Bar

First off the donation bell has rung from a donor who prefers to remain anonymous. This person sent in a more than generous donation of fifty bucks and it's not the first time he's donated. I thank you very much, this bar crawl isn't cheap and I appreciate you picking up the tab for tonight!

Okay, onto night number two with the BBC. I just got an email and they’re coming out of their 379th bar of the trip. They’re taking it light tonight and have only had 379 beers and 139 mixed drinks between the three of them. Hey, time moves on and you slow down a little, it happens to the best of us. Gene picked another bar tonight that I think will be a winner because Fat Al from the Half Empty Glass chose this bar as a backup joint in case we got tossed from the OTB bar last Sunday for taking pictures. And that bar is Hickey’s, which looks to be a perfect Friday night spot. It’s an old dive bar and from what I’ve read it’s an older cliental, so maybe it won’t be packed and crazy. There’s only one way to find out...

Is to walk over. Here we are outside the well-worn walls of Hickey's. So far this place looks like a winner, nice pick, Gene!

Nice and divey inside and check it out, a whole corner of the bar is free on a Friday night!

James the bartender is quick with a bottle of Bud.

Some of the crates of empties are stacked up in the front room.

Here's a shot out the front window looking out at 33rd Street.

Obligatory bar room mirror shot!


There's a long wooden railing opposite the bar.

The paneled walls feature vintage boxing photos and sports mirrors.

You got two choices of drafts here: Budweiser and Budweiser Light. If you don't like it, go to some fancy-pants joint.

A long shot of the interior of the bar. Potato chips and booze, a perfect picture if ever there was one.

Some kids were whooping it up down at the end of the bar, let's go and say hi.

They were happy to have their photo taken and to be part of the 365 bar crawl. From left: Andrew, Toika and Chris.

Meanwhile back at the bar, James is taking care of business.

Hey, some people have taken over my spot at the bar!

And of course it's the BBC ready for night number two on the bar crawl. From left: Gene, Smoopy and Terry, flashing the 365 colors on his shirt that he bought at the 365 Bar Store. Speaking of the store, "Boris" is working on a new "Crawlapalooza" design that we'll be unveiling soon. I'll show a sneak peek of it in a day or two.

Everybody dance now!

The BBC show off their Rockette-like dance moves.

Gene suggested we try the old-school thumb to nose salute as an alternative to the one-fingered flip that's been so popular on the crawl.

But in the end, James proves that half a finger is better than none. Well done, James, best one-fingered salute yet! Goodnight, everybody!

It’s easy to walk by Hickey’s bar and not even notice it. There’s a well-worn exterior, with a modest sign saying, “Hickey’s For Delicious Food and Large Drinks.” Well, to be honest, the drinks are about average size and the delicious food consists of potato chips and peanuts, but this place is a classic. It’s a narrow joint with a long wooden bar taking up most of the space. There’s tables in the back and the brown paneled walls with boxing photos and sports mirrors give the place a 1970’s rec room feel. There’s hardly ever a crowd in here and the bartenders are old school and gentlemanly and sometimes known to crack the wise on patrons.

Don’t expect a big drink selection here. If you order a bottle of Budweiser you’re safe, same for a draft. Mixed drink? I’d stick to something neat or a gin and tonic. Don’t even think about ordering a Cosmopolitan in this joint, the odds are the bartender has never heard of the magazine Cosmopolitan, much less the cocktail.

Hickey's is one of the last great dive bars in Manhattan. Stop by for a drink or four and let's keep this joint in existence!

Hickey's Bar
139 W 33rd St (Between 6th and 7th Ave.)
(212) 502-5259

Bonus Photos: Gene and Tiffany!

The BBC made a pit stop at Nassua’s bar yesterday and Gene met the lovely Tiffany who was part of the bar crawl on October 30th. Here’s a couple pictures of the two of them, enjoy!


Friday, November 5th, 2010—2010

Day 299—Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Coal Yard Bar

About a week ago I read a post on the fine EV Grieve blog announcing that a new bar was opening in the East Village called Coal Yard Bar and that  the owners were the same people who own the International Bar that I visited last July.
That bar is certainly one of the top ten bars in New York I’ve been to, so I’m curious to see what the Coal Yard Bar is all about. So what do you say that we go check it out?

Here we are, let's go in and see what's happening, it looks nice from the outside.

Wow, nice and dark in here and it feels like a bar that's been on the block for years.

And friendly bartender Johnny serves up an ice cold Rolling Rock for three bucks. There's happy hour prices in here all night long.

And here's a pretty and familiar face, Elaina was the bartender on duty when I went to the sister bar, The International, great to see her again!

The bar's been open about a week, but tonight was the official grand opening night and here I am with the beautiful owners of the bar, Molly and Shawn.

Molly got shots for some of us up at the bar. From left: Yours Fooly, Shawn, Molly, Fernando, Roger and Lauren giving the double-fingered salute. Cheers!

A shot of the dark bar in all its glory.

Kristen and Julie were enjoying the opening night's festivities.

A shot of the top of the maple wood bar.

There's a nice-sized window up front where you can gaze out onto the East Village.


The liquor bottles behind the bar are lit up in a nice shade of magenta.

Vintage beer signs dot the walls of the bar.

Molly introduced me to her friends, Cal (far right) and head of security, Big Lee giving the middle finger salute that's become so popular on the 365 crawl.

Like the International, the Coal Yard has a great jukebox with selections including: Roger Miller, The Velvet Underground, Dolly Parton, Led Zeppelin and Bo Diddley.

When asked to have his picture taken, AJ said, "Why the fuck not?" I like his attitude!

Meanwhile, Elaina's taking care of business at the bar.

There's tables in the dimly-lit back room.

There's a long wooden railing opposite the bar to rest a drink and an elbow on.

Fernando and Jason were hanging out by the front door. Both men are musicians and they introduced me to another musician who's name is...

Marty! We'll call this shot, "Marty Squared."

Hey, these two look familiar...

By cracky, it's Clacky and Shannon from Australia completing a trifecta of one finger salutes! Goodnight, everybody!

Molly and Shawn, the owners of Coal Yard Bar deserve a medal for reviving the International Bar in the East Village in 2008. It’s one of the best bars on that block and beyond and now they’ve taken the old rule of, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,” and opened up a sister bar, The Coal Yard Bar. Walking into the bar you immediately feel at home and although the joint is new, it feels like it’s been on the block for years. The dark-grained wooden half moon bar is impressive and dominates the front of the bar. It was made and crafted for the bar and owner Molly told me they wanted it to have the finish of a Les Paul guitar. To just imagine a bar with a Les Paul guitar finish is a genius thought and they’ve pulled it off here.

There’s a full bar and well drinks are just four bucks. There’s a decent selection of draft beer and there’s also cans and bottles available. Rolling Rocks go for three bucks a can, so that’s what I had. Happy hour runs from 3pm to 8pm with a dollar off everything, so you don’t need to come here on payday to enjoy a night of drinking.

In the 1850’s coal yards dominated this area, and now there’s a new Coal Yard on the block that feels like yesterday’s dive bar. And that’s a good thing.

Coal Yard Bar
102 First Avenue (@6th St. )

And in honor of tonight's trifecta flip-off, I present the "365 Flip," artwork by "Boris!"


Friday, October 29th, 2010—Bar 292

Day 292—Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Phil Hughes

While Googling around tonight I came up with what I think will be a real winner. I found a bar on the Upper East Side called Phil Hughes that has been around for four decades, so they must be doing something right. Plus, if you’re like me, you’re wondering, “Who the hell is Phil Hughes? Let’s go find out.

The outside of the bar is unassuming and kind of looks like an apartment house, but the Heineken sign gave them away, let's go check it out.

Oh boy, this looks like the real deal here. A dark, quiet dive bar where people come to drink, period.

The bartender was a nice woman, but didn't want her picture taken. She took my photo and then reluctantly said I could take photos after I told her I wouldn't bother any of the people at the bar and would keep my flash off so I wouldn't bug anyone. The following pictures were snapped in about five minutes before she could change her mind. I had to document this joint!

There's lots of booze here, but I wouldn't order a Cosmopolitan if I were you.

An ancient Guinness sign hangs on the wall behind the bar.

I think this cash register is the original deal.

There's dark wooden tables opposite the bar, but none of the regulars sit at them.

Here's a window seat, table for two!

A lantern on this wall illuminates some pictures of sports scenes from the past.

And there's more pictures and a lantern on this brown wall.

There's a pool table in the back room, but I don't think it gets a lot of use. The regulars here use most of their energy to shuffle to their spots at the bar.

Old Glory hangs on the back wall. Somebody cue up The Star Spangled Banner.

After taking my pictures I had a few beers and chatted with a retired sanitation worker at the bar over a few Budweisers. On about the fourth beer I asked the bartender who Phil Hughes was. She told me he was the original owner and that he died a couple years ago. His family now owns the bar and hopefully they'll keep it in business. She pointed to his picture hanging at the bar hugging a dog. I asked if I could take a picture and she smiled and said I could. "Oh," she said, as I walked over to take the shot, "turn on your flash for that one." It was one of those moments that make me glad I'm doing this. TO PHIL HUGHES! Goodnight, everybody.

This is one of the last true old-school New York watering holes. If you’re under 60-years old, you’ll probably be the youngest person in the joint. This bar has absolutely no frills, no specials, no gimmicks and is a true throwback to what a bar should be—a place to sit and throw back drinks in a dark and dank atmosphere. The patrons of Phil Hughes are grizzled and drizzled regulars who shuffle and limp to their bar stools and drink beers and shots. Talk can get lively and then it will fall silent again as everyone takes pulls off of their bottles of bud and straight up scotches.

There’s a full bar here, but the beer choices are strictly domestic and if you order anything more complicated than a screwdriver, you’re pushing the limits here. There’s no food or kitchen, but if you want to bring in a slice from a neighboring pizza place, I don’t think anybody would mind. And if you’re an early morning drinker, like a lot of the retired regulars here are, you’re in luck, the bar opens at 8am.

Stop in and have a drink or two at Phil Hughes and keep a legendary dive bar alive. But leave the plastic at home, Phil Hughes only takes cash...on the barrelhead, son.

Phil Hughes
1682 First Ave. (Near 88th St.)
No phone (The mark of a truly great bar!)