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Entries in Upper West Side (10)


Wednesday, January 5th, 2010—Bar 360

Day 360—Tuesday, January 4th, 2010
The Abbey Pub

More cash donations alert! Two men who have had the luckless task of being my manager at my night job are Frank Scott and Decker Decker. They’ve both been very supportive of this bar crawl and I appreciate it. And what I appreciate even more is that both of them generously threw twenty bucks apiece into the bar crawl till yesterday, check it out below (that’s Frank on the left and Decker on the right):
Thanks, guys! Sheldon Levine would be proud of both of you.

One of the things that was difficult on this bar crawl was to find different types of bars every night that would be entertaining not only to go to, but for people reading the blog to look at. I always tell people that doing this was kind of like doing an improv play, because you never know what’s going to happen. If nothing interesting happens with people, you need the bar to fall back on to get some good pictures of and tell about the history of the place. Sure, there’s thousands of bars in New York, but so many of them are what I like to call “cookie cutter bars” that have no personality whatsoever. So I always appreciated people suggesting bars and no one has suggested better bars than the man I refer to as my co-pilot, Al Rizo all the way down in Miami. Since the remaining nights are now in single digits, I emailed Al and asked if he had a last minute request and he asked if I would go to The Abbey Pub on the Upper West Side. You asked for it and you’re going to get it Al! Next stop, Abbey Pub. Well, actually the next stop is Penn Station, this place is way uptown, so we’re subway bound. All aboard!

Attention Penn Station: The holidays are officially over, time to take that fucking shit off the walls. Thank you.

Here's the train and once again to quote Fat Al, lean back, motherfuckers!

Look at everybody hypnotized by their texting devices. Hi, assholes!

It's freezing out and the streets are empty up here.

Here we are, the Abbey Pub, let's go in and have a drink or three.

There's lots of people in here for a Tuesday night, but I see a spot at the end of the bar, let's grab it.

And no sooner do I sit down, than the lovely and friendly Francis serves up an ice-cold Corona.

Bottles behind the bar surround the vintage cash register.

Natalie and Dan were seated next to me and wished me well on the last stretch of the 365 journey.

A quick glance above reveals what all classic bars have, a tin ceiling.

Francis and I toast to the 360th night in a row. Cheers!

Free popcorn!

A line of stools are lined up to sit at when the bar is full.

There's seating rooms to the side and back of the bar.

The wooden booths look a little like church pews. "Our Father who art in Pabst..."

There's also tables and chairs to relax at and hoist a hearty brew.

Which is exactly what Kayla and Kevin were doing back here.

Here's someone working the room, let's go say hi.

It's Heather who's a pretty waitress at the bar. This Sunday Heather's taking part in the No Pants Subway Ride of 2011. Check out the details here: NPSR of 2011.

Meanwhile life goes on back at the bar.

I was going to take an obligatory bathroom mirror shot here, but there's no obligatory mirror in the bathroom. Uhh...well...umm...goodnight, everybody!

The Abbey Pub has stood tall on the block for over 50 years. It’s a low-lit bar with brick walls, a long wooden bar and tables and large wooden booths off to the side. The bartenders are friendly and the crowd is a mix of neighborhood locals and Columbia students. The regulars tend to hang at the bar leaving the booths and tables to the rowdier Columbia kids.

There’s a full bar with a nice selection of inexpensive beers and drinks available. The food is your basic bar choices including burgers, chili and fish and chips. The kitchen is open till 11:30pm during the week and till 1:30am on the weekends. Happy Hour runs Monday through Saturday from 4pm to 7pm and on Sundays from noon to 7pm with one dollar off beer, wine and well drinks. There’s also nightly drink specials available at the bar.

The Abbey Pub
237 W. 105th St. (Near Broadway)

Cheers to Al Rizo for picking another winner! (Al co-pilot artwork by “Boris.”)


Bonus Photos From Clacky’s Bunt Custer’s Bar: Part II—The Search For More Booze And Bird Flippage!
Yesterday we featured photos from the opening night of our Aussie friend and 365 commentator, Tim “Clacky” Clack’s Bunt Custer’s bar. And now here’s part II, with captions provided by Clacky. Oh, Clacky...

Umm...this raunchy removal of clothing was stubbornly denied in the following days.

Who's the stud? Why it's Bunt Custer himself!

Here's Chris and Mick Hogarth. Chris is a great chef and Mick is Chris' dad. He and wife Julie we're visiting from Tasmania.

As you can see Bunt's is friendly to Dogs and feet.

Some fine fare cooking up behind the bar.

And the wonderful aromas attract some unwanted attention. This is my dog. her name is Baps and that's Chris's dog Dio named after the late great Black Sabbath singer.

For those about to drink....We Salute You!

Closing time at Old Bunt's.


Saturday, December 11th, 2010—Bar—335

Day 335—Friday, December 10th, 2010
Broadway Dive

If you recall last Tuesday I visited the Ding Dong Lounge on the Upper West Side. I told my friend and fabulous and best DJ in the universe Gidget (listen to her on Woody Radio and check out “Boris’s” “Secret Weapon” show as well), that I was going there, she immediately reminded me that she knew a woman who DJ’s there occasionally and that her name is Linda. Sadly Linda wasn’t there, but Gidget told her I had stopped by and she left a comment on the 365 fan page on facebook, (which Gidget set up and it’s maintained by her and “Boris,” and I thank the two of them for doing that for me!) and invited me to stop by on Friday night when she’s behind the DJ booth at the Ding Dong Lounge. So I decided to find another bar in the neighborhood, do that as tonight’s official bar and then stop in and say hi to Linda and the folks at the Ding Dong Lounge. Oh, tonight’s bar is called the Broadway Dive. Let’s see if it lives up to its name.

And here's the place, the Broadway Dive.

And there's a seat at the end of the bar. Perfect!

And even more perfect is friendly and pretty bartender, Alison serving up a cold beer. Let the Friday bar crawl begin!

A view of the bar from where I sit.

Ian was seated next to me at the bar and lives on the block.

And seated next to Ian was Arnaud who is visiting New York from Paris, France.

Cheers from the three of us.

Christmas lights and wreaths add a festive touch to the joint.

And Santa's hung his hat and is passed out in the back room.

A fish tank looms over the bar, always a nice touch for a dive bar.

Just some of the draft beer available at the bar. They have 17 taps and they rotate the selection weekly.

Marble-topped tables and stools are lined up opposite the bar.

Which is where Julie and Dylan were sitting and enjoying some beers.

Meanwhile, back at the bar...

Alison is busy pouring beers for thirsty patrons.

But she's not too busy to stop and pose with the other bartender on duty, Joe.

There's lots of activities going on above the bar. A plane zooms overhead...

And a bicycle hangs from the ceiling.

And elephants are on parade.

But when those elephants turn pink, it's time to go home. Goodnight, everybody!

And I continue to slack off as far as reviews go, I’m running late today and have a lot of stuff to do, so here’s a review of the Broadway Dive from New York magazine.


Marked by a twin red-and-white neon tavern sign over the door, this quintessential neighborhood hangout has been around for almost 20 years. Many patrons have been drinking here for over five years, more than earning their unofficial bar stools. But don't be put off. Broadway Dive is a bar for socializing, supported by an easy-mingling crowd of off-duty cops, writers, actors, shopkeepers and laborers. A mounted wild boar's head, an oversized model airplane, a few ceiling fans and a couple of bullet holes evoke a long-gone era when this 'hood was decidedly dodgy. Entertainment comes in the form of an iconic jukebox on which Patsy Cline and Elvis meet Marvin Gaye and The Ramones, plus a dart board and eight sports-tuned TV screens. A word to the wise: This is a bar for Mets fans and beer drinkers; Yankee fans and cocktail sippers are tolerated at best. — Michael Anstendig

Daily, 11:30am-7pm; $4 domestic draft, $5 well and selected wines


Broadway Dive
2662 Broadway (Between 101st and 102nd)


Bonus Photo of Groovy DJ Fa La Linda at the Ding Dong Lounge!

Okay, since we’re in the neighborhood, let’s stop by and say hi to Gidget’s fellow DJ friend, Linda at the Ding Dong Lounge.

And here she is, Groovy Dj Fa La Linda, a virtual DJ  who, according to her card, spins a go-go gourmet blend of garage, punk, soul, funk, freakbeat, psych, surf rockabilly and beyond. And having heard her work, I agree, she’s a great DJ and the tunes were superior. Great to meet you Linda! If you’d like to contact Linda for a DJ gig here’s her email: Groovy DJ Fa La Linda.


Video Via Clacky

Clacky sent in this video of The Cosmic Psychos, Take it away, Psychos!


Wednesday, December 8th, 2010—Bar 332

Day 332—Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Ding Dong Lounge

First, the bad, bad, BAD news: The end of the Mars Bar as we know it may be coming. Read about it here at the EV Grieve blog. It’s funny but I discovered the EV Grieve blog after I went to the Mars Bar on Easter Sunday and bought a pizza dinner for myself and everybody in there and he blogged about it, you can read that here: Easter At The Mars Bar. People always ask me what my favorite bar has been and I always reply that I don’t have one because there’s been so many good ones, but I always tell them that my favorite night was Easter Sunday at the Mars Bar. I was going to make it a tradition to buy pizza there every Easter Sunday. Fuck. First Fedora’s, then the Rum House, probably Ruby’s and now maybe the Mars Bar is going to be disappearing. Motherfucker, I need a drink. Luckily I’m going to a bar within minutes. I’ll drown my sorrows there, I don’t want to even think about this shit right now.

Easter Sunday at the Mars Bar.

Last night, Maddy suggested I go to the Ding Dong Lounge, a cool bar uptown. I’ve been meaning to go there, I wrote a review of it for newyork.citysearch.com years ago and had a good time there. I remember it was not long after September 11th went down and I was nervous about taking the subway uptown. Well, I’m not nervous tonight, so it’ll probably get blown up and you may never read this. We’ll have to wait and see. Thanks for the suggestion Maddy, this bar’s for you!

Okay, here we are at Penn Station to take the train uptown.

Step back? It's obvious the cretins at MTA don't read The Half Empty Glass because...

You  need to lean back, motherfuckers!

Okay, once again through the magic of the internet you're spared a ride with a screaming baby, loud teenagers and a ten minute wait at Times Square and here we are at the Ding Dong Lounge. The place is a little bigger, but looks pretty much the same as it did ten years ago when I wrote my review.

Wow, this is one of the darkest bars yet. You'd love it in here, Al!

And here I am closing the deal on my first beer with Johnny the bartender.

The photo above was taken by Adrianna, one of the owners of the bar. Adrianna is a photographer and her husband is another co-owner and played guitar in a punk rock band before he opened this bar. Like an idiot I forgot to write down the band's name...

But here's Adrianna with a photo of the band. That's her husband on guitar on the left. UPDATE: According to Gidget and/or Linda, the name of the band was the Mobile Homos.

Here's a shot of the dimly-lit bar from my perspective.

There's a pool table up front.

And there's candle-lit tables opposite the bar.

There's a table and a wndow seat in one of the front windows.

The Circle Jerks opening for Run D.M.C. That had to be a great show!

A vintage Plasmatics poster.

A Buzzcocks poster hangs behind this faux window.

There's a brick-walled lounge area in the back of the bar.

Empties, a shot glass and...FIRE!

Ralph was seated next to me at the bar. He's a regular who's originally from Haiti but lives here now.

A shot of the candle-lit bar.

Here's Will and Chris who were chilling out near the bar and enjoying beers.

Johnny's taking care of business behind the bar.

And speaking of taking care of business, I had to make a bathroom stop. Check out the cool flyers on the walls in here!

Sometimes that shit works both ways. Goodnight, everybody!

Once again I found my old review at newyork.citysearch.com and once again those asswads have removed my byline. I’m reduced to a “Contributer at CitySearch." Oh well, they paid me the princley sum of 25 bucks to write the fucking thing, I guess they can do whatever they want to with it. Here’s the review (with my byline restored!) below which still stands pretty true today, except CBGB’s is gone now. But you can still buy a T-shirt.


City Search New York
Top rated (4 stars)
By Marty Wombacher

The Scene
The compact Ding Dong Lounge is dark inside, with brick and blood-red walls surrounding a plain-and-simple atmosphere befitting a true punk rock bar. The walls are decorated with posters of vintage flyers advertising punk gigs from days gone by. While a few college kids have started checking out the bar, the clientele tends to be an even mix of thirsty men and women between 25 to 40.

The Draw
Punk rock from the Stooges to Turbo Negro blasts on the sound system; a DJ (Gidget knows one of them, hi Linda!) mans the turntables almost every night, with live music on a limited schedule. Beer goes for $4 or less, and shots for between $4 and $5. And most surprisingly of all, the bathroom is clean. Take that, CBGB.


And there's a sister Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne, Australia! The first one of my Aussie mates that sends in a picture of that Ding Dong Lounge gets a free 365 Down Under T-Shirt, designed by "Boris."

Ding Dong Lounge
929 Columbus Ave. (Near106th St.)