Where NYC Writers Like to Drink


Everyman’s Library has just released a single-volume collection of Flann O’Brien’s five novels (778 pp., $25). Famous for writing one of the funniest books ever, At Swim-Two-Birds, O’Brien was also noted for his fatal enthusiasm for alcohol. On the occasion of the new book, and to honor the late Irishman’s comic genius, we asked a swath of writers to name their favorite NYC bar.

Josh Goldfaden: O’Connor’s (Park Slope). “It’s dusty, dank, and disgusting, but luckily it’s dark, so you can’t see how disgusting. There’s a stink, too . . . that O’Connor’s smell—like a turd lovingly basted in stale beer and cigar ash.”

Kurt Andersen: Brooklyn Social (Carroll Gardens). “The hipster simulacrum of a plain-old neighborhood bar on Smith Street that nicely avoids hipster tweedom.”

Dana Vachon: 24 Prince (Nolita). “Your presence is welcomed rather than resented, even if you’re just lingering with a notebook and a glass of wine. Also, the bartender is a fox.”

Amy Sohn: Temple Bar (Nolita). “The kind of place you’d go to have an affair with an older man.”

Joshua Furst: 1020 Bar (Morningside Heights). “Not that many bars in the city where you can talk about Foucault for two hours.”

Amanda Stern: Alta (West Village). “Alta is very cozy, smells how you’d imagine your country home might if you knew how to cook ribs and properly make a fire.”

Dale Peck: The Vig Bar (Nolita). “One step above bridge-and-tunnel, but it’s the former local of a friend of mine. He keeps a backgammon set there, and we get together to play.”

Sarah Vowell: Old Town Bar (Union Square). “My favorite because of its kindly waitresses, old wood, charming neon sign, reasonable prices, cameo in the old Letterman title sequence, and, most importantly, nearness to my home.” (David Amsden adds: “It’s the new Cedar Tavern.”)

Anya Ulinich: Bar BQ (Park Slope). “It’s just so mellow and un-fancy and kinda dark. There’s a wide sidewalk outside where the kids can play when they get sick of the adults singing along with Morrissey.”

Arthur Phillips: Floyd, NY (Brooklyn Heights). “Relatively cheap pints and a huge menu book with all the takeout places in the neighborhood.”

John Hodgman: Pegu Club (Soho). “The finest Gibson in town.”

Staceyann Chin: Grand 275 (Clinton Hill). “I’ve spent hours and hours writing there and cavorting with many drunken writers, living vicariously through their drunkenness because I’m not brave enough to shred my own liver.”

Anthony LaSala and Seth Kushner: Kitty Kiernans (Bay Ridge). “You can go while waiting for your laundry to dry on Saturday morning and not be ashamed you’re nonsensically smashed.”

Arthur Nersesian: Grassroots Tavern (East Village). “A nice rundown bar that’s retained its street cred of cheapness.”

Keith Gessen: Pink Pony (Lower East Side). “I don’t think writers should go to bars. They should go to libraries. . . . I am opposed to your paradigm.”

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