The late David Foster Wallace once wrote that new arrivals to a place swiftly become “economically significant but existentially loathsome, like an insect on a dead thing.” The insight applies just as well to the lobster boils of Maine as it does to the East Village bar scene, now a shell of its former self swarmed every night by the arrivistes who at some point heard about “downtown.” Some joints accept their fates and begin serving $14 cocktails. Others, like Kingston Hall, have bartenders who spook the bros into leaving by pretending their names are Xavier and flashing the gold crown they all wear on the same tooth (the left incisor). The psychological warfare continues with an overall Jamaican theme — most of the time the only black people there are working the door. But once the frightened yuppies are gone, it’s an affordable, pleasant enough spot for drinking liquor out of coconuts. So have a drink — or two, as the happy hour deal is buy-one-get-one-free.
149 Second Avenue, Manhattan