We’re thrilled that healthy people the world over are going to lace up their sneakers and run 26.2 miles for fun (“Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?” — name that movie*) in the five boroughs tomorrow. We’ll be cheering for them. From our beds.
The only marathon we’re in shape for here at Fork in the Road is one of the drinking variety — we’ve been training for it for years! — so we’ve put together a pub crawl that (loosely) follows the marathon route. If you do it right, it might even leave you at the finish line just as wheezy and sweaty as the guys and gals who ran the race, you champion.
Stop No. 1: Staten Island Ferry (bring a roadie!), Whitehall Terminal
OK, you sticklers, we realize that the real race starts over by the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge, but you don’t really want to be stuck on that part of Staten Island with no way to get over to Brooklyn since the bridge is shut down for runners, do you? We didn’t think so. Get your start by jumping on the free ferry from the Whitehall terminal at the tip of Manhattan. Bring a couple of roadies — beer is allowed on the boat — take in a view of the harbor (and the Statue of Liberty!), and then turn around and come back. The ferry departs every half an hour, and you’ll have about a five-minute wait time on the return trip.
Stop No. 2: Longbow Pub & Pantry, 7316 Third Avenue, Brooklyn (and maybe Bab Al Yemen)
Jump on the R train to Bay Ridge at Whitehall and head out to the 77th Street stop. Walk up to 74th Street and Third Avenue, where you’ll find the Longbow Pub & Pantry, a Welsh pub that pours cider and doles out formidable plates of fish and chips. If you’d like to get something more out of your trip to Bay Ridge — how often are you out here, after all? — walk up to Bay Ridge Avenue and Fourth Avenue and find Bab Al Yemen. Go on, have a little lamb.
Possible dim sum interlude: Pacificana, 813 55th Street, Brooklyn
You’re going to be passing through Sunset Park via the R train, so if you want a solid way to steel your stomach for what’s to come (and you skipped Bab Al Yemen), you might stop off at Pacificana. It’s a bit of a hike from the 59th Street or 53rd Street R stop, but hey, you decide if dumplings are calling your name.
Stop No. 3: South, 629 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn
Take the R on up to Prospect Avenue and head over to South, on Fifth Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets. Have a craft beer (or a $3 Miller High Life), a shot, maybe a grilled cheese, and, if you’ve failed to heed our food suggestions prior, definitely some popcorn, which is free.
Stop No. 4: Hank’s Saloon, 46 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
Oh, let’s hit a dive bar, shall we? Take the R up to Atlantic Avenue, and find your way to the intersection of Atlantic and Third avenues, where one of this city’s iconic taverns has held court for decades. Shoot some pool, toss back a cheap drink, and pump a bit of extra cash into the jukebox, which spins classic rock.
*Back to the Future Part III (Bulletproof vest!)
Stop No. 5: Tørst, 615 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn (or Calexico)
Hop aboard the Fulton Street G train toward Court Square and go on up to Nassau in Greenpoint (you could jump off in Williamsburg if you want, but remember, we’ve got three boroughs to go here). Might as well check out Torst, if you’ve yet to experience it — you’ll find it at Manhattan and Nassau. If you need a breather from beer, you could go have a frozen margarita (and a fish taco) at Calexico.
Stop No. 6: Alewife, 5-14 51st Avenue, Long Island City
Back on the G Train, this time to 21st Street in Queens. Hike on down to Alewife, on 51st Avenue between Fifth Street and Vernon Boulevard, where destination-worthy craft beer flows from dozens of glorious taps. Garlic fries or chile-lime edamame are solid choices if your stomach’s feeling wobbly.
Stop No. 7: Jones Wood Foundry, 401 East 76th Street
The marathon heads up First Avenue back in Manhattan, and it’ll pass right by Jones Wood Foundry, a British pub you should visit for its ales and bangers and mash. Take the 7 train back to Manhattan and then catch the 6 up to 77th Street and hike over. It’s only a few blocks — and you could use a breather by this point, right? Consider it a fluid station slow-down.
Stop No. 8: Giovanni’s/G-Bar, 579 Grand Concourse, Bronx
To the Bronx we go, so grab the 6 train up to the 4/5 and then take that to Grand Concourse/149th Street; Giovanni and G-Bar are just a block or so up on the Grand Concourse at 150th Street. Cozy up to a “martini” that’s not really a martini–like the cheesecake martini, made with vanilla rum, pineapple juice, and a splash of cranberry–or a frozen drink made with peaches and ice cream. Or, you know, a bottle of Dom, which is also on the list. Come on, push through the wall–we know this is a tough stop, but you’re on the home stretch.
Stop No. 9: Sylvia’s, 328 Lenox Avenue
Get on the 2 and head to the 125th Street station, then walk up to Sylvia’s, a 50-plus-year-old soul food joint. Suck down a Sugar Hill beer or go for a frozen drink–a half dozen grace the menu–and supplement, if you’re so inclined, with a platter of ribs.
Stop No. 10: Earl’s Beer and Cheese, 1259 Park Avenue
Walk back over to the 6 at 125th and head down to 96th Street so you can sashay over to Earl’s Beer and Cheese, the Spanish Harlem craft beer spot that also boasts a menu of gussied up drinking food from chef Corey Cova. Have a grilled cheese or a taco while you nurse your ale–you deserve it.
Stop No. 11: Subway Inn, 143 East 60th Street
Get back on the subway to 59th Street, and go find the Subway Inn, another classic NYC dive bar pouring cheaper drinks than any of its neighbors. Order a pitcher if you’re with a group and still going strong–if not, a $5 pint will probably do.
Finish line: Rosa Mexicano, The Smith, or P.J. Clarke’s, Lincoln Center
You’ve had a big day, you star drinker, so maybe it’s time for a walk across Central Park South. The NYC marathon finish line is up at 67th Street, so get yourself up to Lincoln Center, where you–depending on your state of being and mindset–can duck into Rosa Mexicano, the Smith, or PJ Clarke’s for your victory lap pour.