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Entries in Lower East Side (19)


Monday, October 25th, 2010—Bar 288

Day 288—Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Okay, I have to go to the doctor’s to get my bloodwork done early tomorrow morning to check my cholesterol and to see if my liver is starting to quiver, so I’m heading out early. I’m going to a bar on St. Marks Place called Bua that was suggested by Megan from La Flaca where I went last Thursday. She used to work there and recommended it for the bar crawl, so it’s off to Bua we go!

Here it is, Bua bar, let's check it out.

Wow, this is one dark bar, the only lighting in the place is candles. Nice!

Shane's the bartender for the evening and he's quick with a beer.

Cheers, everybody!

The walls are brick and the bottles are illuminated by flickering candles.

Nice quote behind the bar.

Victoria's a former New Yorker who now lives in San Francisco.

A shot of the bar in all it's darkened glory!

The candle=lit brick walls in the bar give it an earthy atmosphere.

There's wooden communal tables and a nice window view of the street in the back room.

A wooden railing lines the walls.

These two ladies are seated next to me at the bar, let's go and say hi.

It turns out they're both from Amsterdam. Felicia on the left lives here now and Hanneka is visiting. Cheers, ladies!

A long shot of the bar.

Okay, time for Sunday dinner. Shane recommended the pulled pork sliders, so that's what I'm having.

And here they are.

They're served with pickles and homemade country mustard.



And Shane continues the one finger bartender salute. Goodnight, everybody! (Thanks to Fat Al over at the Half Empty Glass for a shout out about the new tradition here.)

As I stated above in the introduction, I have to go get my bloodwork done early today (it’ll probably come out as foam!) so I have no time to write the review. Here’s a review from New York magazine (it’s one of their critics’ picks). Good luck getting through Monday!


Long before Bua called it home, 122 St. Marks Place was the original locale of musical hub Sin-é, where a scrappy Jeff Buckley used to play for tips. Now a comfy bar full of Tisch and Cooper Union students, the joint’s Irish in name (Bua is Gaelic for “victory”) but not in practice, forgoing the usual pub hodgepodge for more capricious comforts: cauldrons of sangria and a sprightly cocktail menu instead of an extensive whiskey library, Berkshire pulled-pork sliders in place of bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie. The space itself is divided into two big rooms, each as large as your typical Manhattan dive, with long oak benches ensuring room for dozens. (The outdoor patio’s wicker furniture, however, is a slightly deceiving touch—drinks aren’t allowed outside.) And with shows long a thing of the past, the bar’s patrons are now the main attraction: In the space’s flickering candlelight, the chatty twentysomethings all look lovely. 
Tom Blunt


122-126 St. Marks Pl. (Near 1st St.)


Friday, October 22nd, 2010—Bar 285

Day 285—Thursday, October 21st, 2010
La Flaca

One of the many blogs I follow and comment on is New York Magazine’s Grub Street. Today they had a “first look” at a new Mexican restaurant and bar on the Lower East Side (bordering on Chinatown) called, La Flaca and they said it had and El Sombrero-like vibe. While I like to call El Sombrero, The Hat, I’m anxious to see what this place is all about. Plus I’m thirsty for a margarita so that’s tonight’s destination.

There's no sign outside, but it's the only restaurant on the block, so to quote the Talking Heads, I guess this must be the place.

The bar looks nice and there's plenty of seats, let's go snag one.

And Andy the friendly bartender is quick with a frozen margarita. Andy's an accomplished artist, check out his website here: Andy Mecca.

It's a small margarita, but they pack a punch here. This glass is equal to one twice it's size at most places.

It turns out that this woman is not only a customer at the bar...

She's also one of the owners! This is Daniela, who owns the place along with her boyfriend, Bobby. And now for another weird coincidence, I met Bobby last summer because he bartends at bar 119 which was the 198th bar on the crawl. At the time he told me that he and his girlfriend were going to open a Mexican restaurant and bar in the fall and now by sheer coincidence here I am! This must be the place! And to top it all off, Daniela keeps up the Aussie bar crawl connection, she's originally from Sydney, Australia.

And Daniela generously brought out some chips, dips and guacamole to sample.

Along with one of the house signature appetizers, the Bola di Chino Chicken Dumplings. The name has a special meaning, which you can read about in the review. Everything was delicious!

This vintage chandelier hangs over the dining room and provides some of the low-lit atmosphere.

All the tables are custom made by a friend of Daniele and Bobby's.

There's two benches in the front of the restaurant also custom made.

They're made from 100 pound tree trunks. Very cool and woodsy.

Some of the Mexican motif hanging on the front wall.

There's rocking chairs up front, if you want to have a little siesta after dinner.

Which is what Andy and I decided to do.

Here's the lovely Megan who does waitress duty as well as bartending.

And here she is in active duty.

Meanwhile, it's starting to get hopping back at the bar.

Graham was seated next to me and was wearing shades. He confessed that someone may have put something in his drink earlier, but I'll never tell!

Here's Daniela with Brock. Cheers!

Maybe I'm a little paranoid, but this fucking guy stared at me for the whole night behind the bar.

Grub Street's Daniel Maurer wrote that this place had a vibe similiar to El Sombrero and this picture proves it! (Check out this link, the 11th picture down.)

Okay, one look out the window and I'm gone like a cool breeze. Goodnight, everybody!

La Flaca has just celebrated their first week anniversary, but to walk into this warm and friendly restaurant and bar, you’d think they’ve been on the block for years. The magenta, low-lit hues of the room make it feel like it’s an eternal sunset inside and there’s a comfortable dining area with custom-built wooden tables and benches and a nice bar area to sample cocktails. The decor and atmosphere is inviting and drips of Mexican flavors from the menu to the maracas hanging behind the bar. And you can literally rock out here, there’s two wooden rocking chairs in front of the dining room to relax and enjoy a drink in.

They just got their liquor license last night and celebrated by breaking out the wine, beer and frozen margaritas. Within the week you can sample such signature cocktails as: the El Patio which is the home-made signature Bloody Mary with a salt and pepper rim; the La Flaca which mixes Tequila, Triple Sec, Mango, Mint and Lime Juice; the Caliente which is Jalapeno infused tequila, lime, lemon and blood orange juice and the Lucero wlhich is the house margarita frozen, or on the rocks.

The food menu includes tacos, burritos and enchiladas, plus combination plates. And if you’re not in the mood for Mexican, burgers can also be had here. One of the unique signature appetizer dishes here is a nod to their neighbors in Chinatown. The appetizer is dumplings made of chicken, cheese and green chile and the name of the dish is Bola di Chino Chicken, which translates into Chinese balls. Brunch is available on weekend from 11am to 4pm with various Mexican egg dishes including: Huevos Con Chorizo—Two scrambled eggs with Chorizo; Gordito Burrito—Two eggs with bacon or soy bacon, onion, tomato and cheese and Tacos del La Flaca with steak, fried egg and avocado.

La Flaca
384 Grand St. (Near Suffolk St.)


And now a request from Tim Clack. ZZ Top for Clacky, by Cracky!


Sunday, October 17th, 2010—Bar 280

Day 280—Saturday, October 16th, 2010
El Sombrero A.K.A. The Hat (Originally headed to Spitzer's Corner)

Live...from New York, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger! With musical guest...anyone except Richard Marx. A special appearance from BBC bar crawler, Gene Rubbico, just back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan! And now all the way from the Lower East Side in Manhattan...Spitzer’s Corner!

And here we are, Spitzer's Corner on Cheeseburger Saturday Night.

Goddamn, there's a line at the door and it's only 7pm. That's not a good sign.

The front bar is jammed, but the bouncer told me there was another bar in the back.

And he was right, but it's packed as well. Shit. Time to improvise and take that lonely walk.

Every bar I pass is packed. I think it's because there was a playoff game at 4pm, so people went out early. I'll be glad when that fucking thing is over. (I'm not a baseball fan, but I do hope the Yankees win it.)

The Hat Restaurant! (Some people call it El Sombrero, but I prefer The Hat.) I haven't been in this place for years, I used to love it in here. If I remember correctly, there's a small bar in the back.

And there it is and there's plenty of seats. Areeeba!

Bartender Gina serves up a Negra Modelo along with some Lower East Side attitude. I love it!

The lovely Stephanie was the other bartender on duty.

As you can see, they have a full bar here.

And chips and salsa magically appear on the scene. The salsa was spicy and delicious.

Here's a shot of the cozy dining room.

There's a nice view outside the windows that line the far wall.

Sombreros, Mexican art and artifacts hang on the opposite wall.

More sombreros atop the jukebox. This place really lives up to its name!

Meanwhile back at the bar, Stephanie and Gina are busy mixing drinks. It's a thirsty crowd tonight. I placed my food order, but was told you can't eat at the bar. So I was promptly seated...

Right here at this table.

And here's Stephanie with my Mexican feast.

A birds-eye view shot of the chicken and cheese enchiladas. They have giganzo portions here. It comes with beans and yellow rice.

And here I am getting ready to devour it. It was delicious.

Uh, oh, that elephant's starting to turn pink, time to go home. Goodnight, everybody!

Some people call it El Sombrero, some refer to it as The Hat. I call it a nice, cozy relaxing restaurant and bar to kick back and have a nice Mexican meal and some ice cold cervezas. El Sombrero has been on the block in the Lower East Side for over 25 years and the patrons are all neighborhood regulars with some packs of NYU students invading it occasionally. The jukebox features Latin music and the tables in the dining room can be pushed together for larger groups. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing.

There’s no draft beers here, but some of the selection of bottled beers include: Bass, Presidente, Negra Modelo and Tecate. There’s also margaritas available and a full bar for any type of mixed drink. The menu includes all the regular Mexican staples such as burrtios, tacos, enchiladas and chimichangas. Some of the specialties of the house include: Crispy Red Snapper Burritos, Sizzling Skillet Sliced Filet Of Beef, Steak Ranchero and a Roasted Half Chicken rubbed with lemon and garlic, over scallion, bacon mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach.


They’re open till 2am on weeknights and 4am on the weekends, if you’re looking cap off your night with some Mexican treats. ¡A las últimas noches y al sombrero del EL!

108 Stanton St. (@Ludlow St.)

Bonus Photos!
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember back in May we were visited by Gene, Smoopy and Terry from Baltimore, collectively known as the BBC (Baltimore Bar Crawlers.) They blew into town for a few days to booze it up (rumor has it that between them they had over 387,421 drinks during their visit and went to over 4,698 bars, these people are serious bar crawlers) before Gene had to do a tour of duty in Afghanistan for the Air Force Reserves. Well, Gene did his duty and now he’s back. He was dry as a bone for months as you can’t drink alcohol over there, but he sent in some pictures of his trip back home and shared some photos of him enjoying his first beers and bars in Germany on his way back home. Here they are with captions provided by Gene. Welcome back, Gene, I look forward to boozing it up with you, Smoopy and Terry soon!
Ramstein, Germany. Me having my first beer in 128 days. 1 litre of some kind of dark Hofbrau. It was good!
Ramstein, Germany. Me having my second beer. A tasty Veltins.

Darmstadt, Germany. Die Theke. Found this place after walking around for a half an hour looking for a real German bar.

Die Theke is a nice little German place. Bartender didn't speak English, or take dollars! (Note from Marty: Holy moley!)

Die Theke...me having my 4th beer with two chaps from England. Cheers!


I spoke with 365 commentator and co-pilot Al Rizo in Miami today and he reminded me that Barbara Billingsley died yesterday. She's best known for playing June Cleaver on "Leave It To Beaver."

Here's a great "Leave It To Beaver" satire from SCTV. Enjoy!