The latest installment has us 65 bars into the tour! Only 35 to go. One thing we are finding is that the longer this takes us to complete, the more bars are disappearing. Some smaller, neighborhood type bars are closing up before we can get there to sample the drink. At least my book has the recipe so we can sample them at home. Sorry if this report is too long!
This trip started off with us winning a bid on Priceline for a great room at the Intercontinental Barclay for $125. We were so happy with this hotel. The rooms were big, clean and the staff was great. I checked online and the price for one night at regular rates (“special rates” according to their website) started at $349 per night. I was expecting to get stuck with the smallest room in the hotel but we really had a nice room. We arrived around 11:30 and checked our bags and headed out. We tried the Oak Bar first but the Plaza is all closed up due to renovations. We really thought the bar would be open but we couldn’t get in. It was raining pretty hard so we headed back to the King Cole Bar (If you’ve read any of my previous reports, I know we’ve been here before, but their drinks are so good and they have the best bar snacks in the city IMHO!!) We only had one drink here and then headed to the Grand Central Oyster Bar for their “Bloody Clam”. Neither one of us likes Bloody Marys so we really weren’t looking forward to trying this drink. Luckily, the bartender told us that they no longer make that drink because of some clam juice problem. Whew! We lucked out on this one. So we got the old standby whiskey sours and checked the place out. There were other people at the bar eating cold Manhattan chowder, crab cakes and fish and they all said their food was great. It was a nice place with lots of conversation. And the building itself was incredible. Right outside are the famous whispering walls (thank-you Daiseegee for telling me where to find them!)
After this, we headed to the East Village to the Boxcar Lounge for their “Japan Cocktail”. This place is real small, and I imagine it gets wicked crowded at nighttime. They had a sign up that said their happy hour was from 4pm – 10pm. We got there right at 2pm when they opened and were the only ones there. Within 10 minutes, 3-4 other people came in. The drink was okay – kind of sweet. The kind where if you drank it all night, it would make you sick. It was sake and plum wine. One was definitely enough. From there we went back to the hotel and checked in. While we were in the room we called numbers for two bars that we weren’t able to get into during our June Trip: XL and Cherry. The number for XL had been disconnected so we assumed it is closed. Cherry is now open only for private parties. So, we were a little disappointed because so far 3 places were closed/gone. So we went down to the hotel bar and had a few drinks while we waited for 5pm to arrive.
At 5, we headed to IXTA for their “Sans Gria Blanco” which was great. I’m not a big sangria fan but this was a very good drink – real light and citrus-y. We both liked the drink and even tried their margaritas and whiskey sours too. This place was also small – they had about 12 tables inside and maybe 5 outside and even though there were only 4 people in the place eating at 5pm, all the tables had a “reserved” sign on them so I guess they were expecting a big crowd. The barstools have virtually no back on them so hit this bar early in the night or you might find yourself falling out of them! From there we headed to Cibar in Gramercy Park. Both of us agreed that this is our new favorite bar of all time. The drink menu was outstanding. There were so many different drinks. The tour drink was the “Suffering B@st@rd” which has 3 kinds of rum, pineapple, orange and cranberry juices and then they float a hollowed out lemon heel in the glass, fill it with 151 Rum and light it on fire. They bring it to you on fire. It was incredible. OK, the joke was that when we first arrived, we sat down at the bar, ordered our drinks and I went into the bathroom. When I came out, my drink was there – I had missed the whole darn presentation! So, of course we had to order another round - so I could experience the whole thing of course! Anyway, some other people at the bar commented on how cool it looked and pretty soon a lot more were being ordered. They were so good – one of my favorite drinks from the tour so far. I will definitely be going back to this place. From there we went to the KGB Bar back in the East Village for their “Trotsky” which was really small (A tiny martini glass) but it was very good. The bar itself was small and crowded – not my style at all. I think they must have a performing arts place downstairs because they asked you to be quiet as you left so you didn’t interrupt the performance downstairs. Or maybe I was just too loud clunking down the stairs. From there we headed up to 73rd street to go to the cocktail room but once again fate was cruel – the place was closed up and had a big FOR RENT sign on it.
I had planned on going to the Pegu Club but we never made it back. We actually ran into some friends of ours while we were stumbling back to subway and went back to their apartment for a couple hours. By the time we left, it was all we could manage to find our way back to the hotel and crash. On Sunday morning we took a two-hour walk through Central Park. I have been so looking forward to Literary Walk being completed but I really don’t like it. I thought it was going to be paved but it’s just loose stones. I’m thinking that when the leaves fall or it snows, they will never be able to clean it up. I hope it’s just a temporary walkway – I really liked the old walkway with the cracks in the blacktop much better.
Well, that’s all – until next time…cheers!