So many bars, so little time: I’ve reviewed a gazillion establishments over the years, but the most fun by far are those where you can get sloppy drunk and not feel bad about it in the morning. Dive bars like journo hangout SIBERIA (356 West 40th Street, 212-333-4141), which reeks faintly of vomit, but nobody seems to care. Sometimes owner Tracy Westmoreland vaults me on top of the bar to dance the funky chicken—hey, even I have to hustle for free drinks sometimes. Then there are classier places with no less of a neighborly feel, like JIMMY’S CORNER (140 West 44th Street, 212-221-9510), quintessential New York in that old-school gangster way—reminding me that to survive in this city you have to be willing to put up a fight. That sounds like advice conservative Post columnist Steve Dunleavy would agree with. At least he’d put up a fight if you stole his bar stool below his etched likeness at Irish pub LANGAN’S (150 West 47th Street, 212-869-5482).
No matter what the hipsters tell you, I still say that the best ‘hood in which to toss ’em back is midtown—the closer to Port Authority the better. This is where you find people who do real work, or at least those who really work at drinking. Of course, I have a special place in my heart for the anything-goes East Village, even though downtown standbys like the TILE BAR (115 First Avenue, no phone) and INTERNATIONAL BAR (120 First Avenue, 212-777-9244) now compete with the likes of ARSHILE (166 First Avenue, 212-358-7950), which sells bottles of champagne in the four-figure range. My, how the neighborhood has grown up. Or maybe it’s simply because most of my friends can’t afford the tab at all those fancy one-name lounges on Lafayette Street, like BUTTER (415 Lafayette Street, 212-253-2828) and REHAB (380 Lafayette Street, 212-475-7878), that makes me disdain them so. Give me kitschy MARION’S CONTINENTAL (354 Bowery, 212-475-7621), located around the corner, any day. There they make delicious martinis, Gibsons and manhattans, and they’re not only well-priced but served attitude-free.
But I never said I didn’t want to make friends who can afford exorbitantly priced drinks: Neither well-priced nor attitude-free are those uptown blue-blood bastions that even the working girl in me can’t help but find swell. Luxe living rooms like BEMELMANS BAR (Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street, 212-744-1600), where the most sublime potions on earth are born. With tip they cost upwards of $20, but at least here the waitresses won’t make the mistake of pouring a shaker full of water into your double-digit martini like they are wont to do at the SOHO GRAND (310 West Broadway, 212-965-3000). I can’t talk cocktails with class without gushing over the Bloody Mary at the KING COLE BAR AND LOUNGE (St. Regis Hotel, 2 East 55th Street, 212-753-4500). If this spicy baby doesn’t squash your hangover, at least the Max Parrish mural of Old King Cole passing gas will make you feel like less of an ass. Speaking of asses, we’ll be seeing each other at the bar. Over and out.