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Entries in Hell's Kitchen (8)


Friday, December 31st, 2010—Bar 355

Day 355—Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Blarney Stone (on 9th Avenue)

Before I begin, I need to direct all of you to a piece of genius. Karen and Jon at Grade “A” Fancy have outdone themselves with a piece of film that sadly displays some of the sad closures that happened in New York City this year. I’d say more, but it speaks for itself, check it out here: 2010 R.I.P.

Okay, another night, another Blarney bar. I think this is the only Blarney bar I haven’t hit yet...there may be one near Wall Street..aw, at this point who the fuck cares? I’m picking this one, not only because I think it’ll be a good stop, on the bar crawl but because it’s all about location, baby! It’s just a few blocks from where I work and I’m getting out of work early, which is nice because I have to get up early to post this and then do my early New Year’s Eve bar crawl. Wow, that’s a lot of “early’s in one sentence.” Makes me think of Biddy Early’s! Let’s go, I think I’m losing my fucking mind here.

It's 8pm so there's a lot more people out and about than usual. A lot of hustle and bustle and I have to admit to being a fan of neither the hustle or the bustle. But in spite of that, what the hell, let's all do the Hustle! (Do it!)

I told you it was close and here we are.

Okay, it looks like a great spot in here and there's plenty of seats at the bar. Shall we?

Linda's the pretty bartender on duty and she's not only friendly...

She's quick with a beer. Peace, love and suds.

An overhead shot of the bar.

And a longshot from below.

Christmas may be over, but there's still a tree in the window here.

There's a long wooden railing and stools opposite the bar.

Sports pictures hang on the well worn walls of the bar.

At first glance you'd assume this is a Jets bar...

But the Giants sign in the back room by the pool table shows otherwise.

Linda and Gregory pose for the 365 camera in the back room.

A shot of the bar from the other end.


Here's Luis, a regular at the bar. I had a great conversation with this man with topics ranging from music to books to politics to our current culture and everything in between. One of the best things about this bar crawl is meeting people and having interesting conversations and this was one of the best. Great to meet you, Luis!

Halfway into our conversation, Luis' brother Larry walked into the Blarney Stone. It turns out Larry works security at the Horseshoe Bar, which was the 129th bar on the crawl, along with the BBC. Check it out here.

A parting shot from Luis and I. Cheers and goodnight, everybody!

Okay, as I said in the introduction, I have to get to my bar early today and get it over with before the contingents of meatheads start swarming all over this town. New Year’s Eve is NOT a good night if you’re a seasoned bar crawler. Too many amateurs that don’t know how to drink. The odds of getting vomited on go sky high on this night, so I’m hoping to finish early, come home get a bunch of beer and watch the Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. So I guess what I’m getting around to saying is, I’m going to slack and not write a review. I found this “citizen” review on NY Citysearch and it sums the place up perfectly and it even mentions Linda, check it out.

(This review is for the Blarney Stone on 9th Ave. and 29th Street. There are several other bars in Manhattan with the same name.) I'm really reluctant to write about this place. If I thought more people would read this, I wouldn't. It's like a fragile glass sculpture. It could so easily be destroyed. As it is, this could be the last place of it's kind south of 125th Street? Wow! A DIVE BAR in the best sense of the word. Nothing faux or pretentious about this place.

Everybody at the bar was our instant friend. The thickly brougued bartendress bought us two pitchers of beer. When we walked in, I said, "this place would be perfect if it weren't for the music being too loud." In ten minutes, Linda, the bartendress came to ask us if there was anything she could get us. "Yeah," I said. "Lower volume." POW! She was at the controls. "Just raise your hand when it's at a good volume," she said. "Excuse me," I didn't, but should have, said. "Are we dead and is this heaven?" The neighborhood is foreboding with NOTHING, but one pizza place and lots of people sleeping on the sidewalk. I hope that's enough to scare off tourists. Once inside, the funkiness, friendliness, and everyone's-a-pal spirit, makes this our best new discovery of the year.
—Drink Club NYC is a roving group of NYC drinkers


Happy New Year, everybody!

Blarney Stone (on 9th Avenue)
340 9th Ave  


Thursday, December 2nd, 2010—Bar 326

Day 326—Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Another donation rolled in yesterday from Philadelphia, PA. Bruce Davis sent in a generous donation of twenty bucks along with this message: “Hey, Marty, I want you to take this 20 bucks and buy a few quality micro-brews with it. None of that piss-water Corona with my 20 smackers allowed! Love your site! Keep it going, even beyond 365, please.” Ha ha ha! I Iike a man who doesn’t mince words! Mucho thanks, Bruce and there’ll be no Corona or Budweiser tonight in your honor!

Taking on Bruce’s challenge I Googled NYC craft beer bars and I noticed a bar called, Valhalla. So I checked them out and they have a decent review in New York magazine and they have a shitload of craft beers on tap and in bottles. So it’s off we go in search of some non piss-water beer!

I’m on the escalator at Penn Station and these two fuckers have pushed their way past me as they run down the escalator. This is one of my biggest pet fucking peeves. People running and/or walking down the escalator at Penn Station. I know people are in a hurry here, it’s a train station in the heart of Manhattan and people are going to be running around and acting nuts. But if you want to run to catch your train and you’re running late, here’s a little clue...

Run down the fucking STAIRS! That’s what they’re there for! But nooo, everybody’s got to run down the escalator instead of the stairs. The escalator is for lazy people like me that really don’t give a flying fuck where they’re going or when they’re going to end up there. This is my 326th bar, do you really think I’m in a hurry to get there? Fuck no, so just let me relax on the escalator and run down the stairs to catch your stupid-ass train to Bumblefuck, New Jersey and leave me the fuck alone. My worst time on the escalator was one night a couple years ago when a fat woman who smelled like beef stew and linoleum with tons of bags shoved me aside and said, “Hello? I’m trying to get to my train!” And she screamed it in my ear that I have tinnitus in. I’m almost deaf in that ear, but loud noises really irritate it and her screaming into it really made it ring. I jumped away and she ran past me and it really pissed me off. Normally I can let things go, but sometimes when I get pissed I go a little nuts, so I ran after her and started screaming at her, yelling, “Hello, the stairs are for running down...Hello, you shouldn’t be running on the escalator... Hellooo, Hellllooooo...” She was running from me and people were staring at me like I was a complete lunatic and I ended up collapsing in laughter near Auntie Anne’s Pretzel stand. Oh, the fun one can have in Penn Station! Anyway, back to the bar crawl.

Okay, fast forward from my subway ride and walk to tonight's destination, Valhalla. Let's check it out.

Nice and dark in here. It's a little crowded, but there's a few spots at the bar. Let's go snag one.

And the beautifula and friendly bartender, S.J. serves up a bottle of Chimay.

Okay, Bruce, this non piss-water beer is for you! Cheers!

Here's some of the beers on tap and the bottles above show the monster selection in here.

And there's even more on the other side of the bar.

The tables up front have a nice street-side view.

Wooden picnic tables line the walls and lend themselves to the Nordic style of the place.

Chris and Catherine were enjoying beers at a table behind the bar and wished me well on my 365 journey.

A horny Viking goddess hangs over the bar and blesses all beer drinkers.



Jelena and Thiago were chilling out at the bar. Thiago told me he had read about the 365 blog in the Daily News back in March.

The wrought iron chandeliers provide the dim light in the bar.

I decided to try one of the flight samplers of beer and here's S.J. preparing it.

And here it is, I got the Around The World flight. This included Blue Point Pumpkin from America, Uniborne Apple Ale from Canada (Hi Lex!), Bitburger Pilsner from Germany, Fullers London Pride from the U.K. and Cautier Blonde from Belgium. Quite a trip! (And S.J. kindly wrote all the beers down, so she gets a co-writing credit for this post.)

And the flight is over, so crew prepare for landing at 16th Street. Goodnight, everybody!

In Scandinavian mythology, Valhalla is a hall where there’s an ongoing party for dead Viking warriors and it’s ruled over by the god Odin. In Hell’s Kitchen it’s a bar where it’s ruled over by a bartender. The bar is dark, lit up only by dim wrought iron chandeliers and candles and the walls are wooden and a few wall mountings pay homage to its Viking namesake. Picnic tables line the walls and while the bar has a friendly vibe, people tend to stick to their own groups, sampling beer and enjoying the chill vibe in the bar.

There’s a multiple page menu to peruse and decide which type of beer you want to sample. Flight menus also offer several types of beer in five ounce sampling mugs. There’s a full bar in addition to the massive beer selection and an impressive amount of single malts. There’s also a small food menu including a Vahalla dog, chicken wurst, German frites, potato salad and Bavarian pretzels.

815 Ninth Ave. (@54th St.)


Saturday, November 6th, 2010—Bar 300

Day 300—Friday, November 5th, 2010

Tonight’s a special night, it’s the 300th bar I’ve been to in a row. I thought about what kind of bar to go to and as usual kind of waited till the last minute to pick one. I decided on a bar called McCoy's in Hell’s Kitchen. This whole thing is about bars and McCoy’s appears to be just that: A bar. Nothing too special, kind of dark and a nice place to have a beer or four. Plus it’s a pick from 365 commentator Al Rizo and those always seem to be great places. Al is the co-pilot here and he sure can sniff out a great bar. Let’s go see what he sniffed out at McCoy's.

It's Friday night and there wasn't a chance of getting a taxi, so I sucked it up and walked the 21 blocks to McCoys. I passed this deli along the way and it's my kind of place. They have a lotto beer here. (Rimshot.) Plus an ATM shot for Joey D!

Here we are at McCoys bar in the heart of Hell's Kitchen.

The sign outside announcing their happy hour and other specials inside.

There's a trifecta of shamrocks outside on the wall and what I assume is a barrel of fun. Let's go inside.

It's packed inside and really loud. I found one seat at the end of the bar. It's nice and dark in here, another great pick from Al!

Shane was the only bartender on duty and even though he was busier than fuck, he agreed to pose for a photo. You can see the, "let's get this shit over with" look on his face.

Here's my view from my seat at the bar. It was so crowded and noisy I decided to skip the meet and greet photos and just take some shots at the bar and relax somewhat. It's been 300 bars and I feel I can take a little break from socializing for one night.

It's a great bar, but they could ditch these big screen TV's in my opinion.

Wow, people keep streaming in, it's really crowded in here. Oh well, it is Friday night after all.

Vintage black and white photos line the wooden wall opposite the bar.

A shot of the bar with lots of empties on top of it.

Sports pennants and knick-knacks hang over the top of the bar.

A photo of two midget baseball players hang on the wall. I like that.

The backroom has booths and tables and it's packed back here too.

The jukebox is legendary here and has such varied artists as: The Pogues, The Clash, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Warren Zevon and The Kinks among others.

A shot from the other end of the crowded bar.

Back at the bar, I had several beers and thought about all the different nights out I've had on this bar crawl. Tonight I just met Shane, but most nights I meet at least four people and talk to them. Take the average of four (most nights it's more) and that's over 1200 people I've met on this journey so far. Crazy.

300 bars down! Thanks so much for everyone who comes here and checks this out. It really does mean a lot to me. And I truly appreciate all you people that leave a comment, it's added a nice social community touch to the site. Cheers to all of you and goodnight everybody! 65 more to go!

McCoy’s has been on the block in Hell’s Kitchen since the 1800’s and is one of the oldest bars in New York City. The front room is narrow with a long wooden bar taking up most of the space. There’s a window side booth up front and more booths and tables in the back. The jukebox is also in the back room and has one of the most eclectic selections in town. And you can even suggest they add a song to the jukebox here.

There’s a large selection of bottled and draft beers including: Guinness, Brooklyn Lager, Yuengling and their very own McCoy's Irish Ale. Happy hour runs from 4pm till 7pm with four buck beer and shots and various daily specials. The pub grub here includes such offerings as a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, burgers, wings and popcorn shrimp. And the kitchen is open till 4am for all you midnight tokers.

768 Ninth Ave. (Near 51st St.)


Bonus Photos From Tim Clack In New York City!

365 commentator Tim Clack and his girlfriend/almost wife Shannon are in town and here’s a few of the photos he’s taken during their vacation here along with his captions. Thanks for sending these along Clacky and it’s been fun hanging out with the two of you.

Some bright lights at Times Square.

Robert Cray band at BB King's nightclub.

Physical Graffiti on St Marks Place.

Some big arse buildings!


Once again, Thanks to my co-pilot Al Rizo for a great suggestion! Al artwork by our own in-house artist, "Boris."