Thursday, December 18, 2008

Welcome to the Johnsons

123 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 420-9911

Bathroom situation
- 2 unisex bathrooms which are sooo brokeass...seriously, the grime on the walls will card you on your way in regardless of how old you look.
Takes credit cards? - they had one of those old school click-clack credit card devices, but it broke down in 2002.
Crowded on weekends? - yes, this place is insufferably ironically popular. And yet...
Seating - 10ish seats at the bar, 10ish plastic-covered old school 70's chaises, and two benches against the wall near the billiards table in the back. The seat cushions on the seats in the front are so low to the ground, you'll feel like you're bout to bust a drive-by in South Central in the 90s.
Neighborhood - the wrong side of the tracks of the LES.
Type of crowd - Folks who are OK and folks who are downright scum. Full disclosure: Visceralist almost got his favorite winter coat jacked here on some douchebag shit...and the bartender was complicit. Email for the full story.
Pretentious/assholes - some fuckers, yeah (that winter coat story got us heated).
Cost of Stella - don't have it here, so BYOS.
What time people start showing up - 10ish, average.
Bartender efficiency - usually two bartenders on the heavy nights, which is almost sufficient. The drinks are about as cheap as your mom, so best bet is to stock up on a few at a time so you have to deal with these coat-stealing mugs as little as possible.
Official Website - MySpace page. Last comment is from back when the Democratic presidential primary race was still interesting.
Food? How late - no, but the air is thick enough with bar-musk to make you feel like you never want to eat again.
TVs? What's on - 1 brokeass 70's TV which usually plays brokeass 80's movies on VHS.
Guy/girl ratio - 80/20
Toys - Pool table and a Ms. Pacman/Galaga table. The pool table has no sign up list so you really gotta be on Braveheart mode if you wanna actually get to poolin'.
Age of clientele - everyone dresses like they're in their 20s, so you know what that means...16-42.
Space for dancing - Visceralist saw some clown dancin around after he thought he'd gotten clean away with gankin someone's winter coat (little did he know, he hadn't). Not sure if it was to any particular bpm tho.
Décor - If this place needs to be summed up in one sentence, it looks like the kind of puke you'd find coming out of your mouth after you personally witnessed your uncle making your grandparents re-enact 2 girls, 1 cup.
Grimeyness - Holy...
ID check procedure - Perfunctory bouncer.
Hood specificity - Right on the border of deceny.
Music medium, style & volume - they have a perennially brokedown jukebox, so you're at the mercy of the iPod belonging to the bartender or the Eastern-European actress/model/spokesperson/intern he's fucking.
Specials or most popular drink - happy hour:
Profile - Google first page results: reviews by Citysearch, New York Mag, Yelp, Schecky's, Clup Planet, UrbanSpoon and BlackBook Mag. *crickets*

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Friday, December 5, 2008


132 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 529-2731

Bathroom situation
- 2 single-person bathrooms...ostensibly men/women but the clientele doesn't seem to distinguish too keenly.
Takes credit cards? - yeah, with a grunt.
Crowded on weekends? - people come here to wait to meet other people, but they tend to stay "for a bit" so it can get a little touchy-feely.
Wifi? - no (I really need to ditch this metric).
Seating - 15ish seats at the bar. 2 tables and 4 large booths which are perched atop a platform. The booths are all wood, but surprisingly cozy-comfy.
Neighborhood - like an insider's guide to the Lower East Side. Btw, Visceralist has a crazy story about this place that involves a dope-feenin' bike messenger from Bodymore. Email us if you've got nothing else to do, and we'll give you the details.
Type of crowd - I hate to say this, but: trashy, bottom-feeding, and lazy/lonely types.
Pretentious/assholes - need not apply.
Cost of Stella - $6/pint
What time people start showing up - All hours, this place attracts folks like the bar in Demon Knight.
Bartender efficiency - very folksy, so prepare to have your annoyance at the inefficiency drained out by some good ol' fashioned charm.
Official Website - Here. Mentions something about Karaoke, which doesn't actually exist here. Otherwise, the site's unnecessarily busy, so *crickets* to that...
Food? How late - no, punk
TVs? What's on - 3 flat screens filled with all the programing basic cable allows.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/40
Toys - A graffitti'd Big Buck Hunter.
Age of clientele - 20s-30s with most folks acting 10 years younger than their biological age.
Space for dancing - Maybe for a mini-Charleston or a condensed tootsie-roll, but not much else.
Décor - As red as The Enemy in Demon Knight.
Grimeyness - It feels like they prolly clean up the place every now and then, but want to make it look like they're too cool to clean up.
ID check procedure - Bouncer (no further comment).
Hood specificity - The oft-overlooked LES.
Music medium, style & volume - and eclectic mix alternating from the juke & bartender's iPod. Volume is at just the right level to give you the feeling that your evening is being personally soundtracked by Quentin Tarantino.
Specials or most popular drink - happy hour:
Profile - Google first page results: review by NY Mag, but this place often gets confused with its UES non-union equivalent. :(


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Local 138

138 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-0280

Bathroom situation
- 3 individualized, unisex bathrooms in the back. All with enough girth to take care of whatever business needeth to be taken care of.
Takes credit cards? - With enthusiasm.
Crowded on weekends? - Yes, but not terrible. Given that it's across the street from the velveteen rope'd Libation, you'd think there'd be more overflow traffic, but it's surprisingly manageable at all times.
Wifi? - nyope.
Seating - Standard sized bar with 2 window-viewed-up booths, plus 2 more tables and scattered chairs.
Neighborhood - On the crossroads of the officially-cool and the monied non-elite.
Type of crowd - Mad chill, homie. You could seriously enter this place, make a $100,000 (or below) business deal and walk out without ever catching the name of anyone.
Pretentious/assholes - If they're here, they keep to themselves.
Cost of Stella - $5/pint, homie.
What time people start showing up - 10ish.
Bartender efficiency - 2 bartenders working an unaccountably large/well-stocked bar, but not really any problem making eye contact.
Official Website - n/a. And they're prolly better off keeping it this way.
Food? How late - Nope. And Visceralist DOES NOT recommend the burger place next door.
TVs? What's on - 2 flatscreens, both showing LOST last time Visceralist was there.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/40. Do NOT expect girls to randomly waltz into this place. They're only coming because someone done brung 'em there.
Toys - por nada. So please come with (aka make up) a good story.
Age of clientele - 20s official.
Space for dancing - nah, this is the type of place to come to when your behind is downright, gosh-darn pooped from shaking all night, ya know?
Décor - looks like a set from an early 1990s straight-to-vhs movie called "Last Call (for Lust)"
Grimeyness - wannabe cleanly. That is, the lighting makes it difficult to see any dirt that may, in actual fact, be present.
ID check procedure - standard ID-checkin' bouncer.
Hood specificity - LES (but the part where you'll overhear a lot of "Psshhh, this ain't THAT cool. I know this little spot in...")
Music medium, style & volume - Bartender's choice vis a vis a strategically placed Personal Digital Media Player. Non-offensive modern arena rock shit last time Visceralist was there. It won't get in your way, player.
Specials or most popular drink - happy hour: they don't advertise it but it's half price beers till like 10pm weekdays. Sorry for being so vague, but $3 Stella pints will make you forget a lot of specifics.
Profile - Google first page results: reviews by Citysearch, NY Mag, Yelp, New York On Tap, Club Planet, Shecky's, Trip Advisor & Urban Spoon (but no page to call their own...weak sauce).

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Motor City

127 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 358-1595

Bathroom situation
- 2 unisex bathrooms. The one on the left side of the bar is larger and fairly decent. The one on the right is straight tore up.
Takes credit cards? - No
Crowded on weekends? - Fuck yes. Plus they have a go-go dancer who does the damn thing in the windowsill from time to time. She's still a human being though, assholes. This is just how she earns some extra dough to support her dreams of becoming a(n)...
Wifi? - nyet.
Seating - 10 stools at the bar, scattered tables and couches. If you visit on the weekend, you'll likely be standing...all other times you'll prolly be able to "pop a squat" (I hate that phrase).
Neighborhood - Across the street from Spitzers and in a very well-trafficked part of the LES. Lots of smokers outside tho (suckers :p).
Type of crowd - attracts the biker crowd and the wannabe biker crowd. Also the crowd that's into "obscure"-punk-rock-that-most-people-have-actually-heard-of.
Pretentious/assholes - Hit or miss.
Cost of Stella - just try asking for one without getting the ol' stink-eye.
What time people start showing up - 10ish.
Bartender efficiency - they have the bottle-openers hanging on hooks that come down from the ceiling which is wild classy, but overall the service still leaves something to be desired.
Official Website - here. Features a mildly lugubrious photo of the aforementioned window-dancer.
Food? How late - open-faced knuckle sandwiches served nightly.
TVs? What's on - no.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/40. And the girls will steal on a muthafucka if need be...
Toys - a Ms. Pacman/Galaga unit & pinball. My old roomate tells me that the ghosts in their Ms. Pacman run faster than they should though, so please take that into consideration before depositing quarter-dollars into this arcade cabinet's coin receptacle.
Age of clientele - 20s-30s, though I should qualify this by pointing out the the guys tend to skew much older than the girls.
Space for dancing - not really, but who can really dance to poorly-recorded punk/garage rock anyway?
Décor - lots of Detroit-themed ephemera. Mock-cool? I will say tho, know how to make a lilly-livered hipster feel uncomfortable.
Grimeyness - yes, please.
ID check procedure - half-assed bouncer.
Hood specificity - LES
Music medium, style & volume - Usually a Rock DJ (w/genuine vinyl) playing exactly what you'd excpect. FYI, the music is loud as all kinds of fuck in this joint. You get used to it though. No juke.
Specials or most popular drink - happy hour:
Profile - Google first page results.

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Lounge 87

87 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 995-1172

Bathroom situation
- 2 large unisex bathrooms. Lots of graffiti, but not too dirty.
Takes credit cards? - No
Crowded on weekends? - I don't believe I've ever seen this place in any sort of condition that could be described as "crowded" or any synonym thereof.
Wifi? - this place is more on some modem status.
Seating - 10 stools at the bar, but they have a large back room that has ample seating which is never filled.
Neighborhood - This spot is located on an otherwise empty block and across the street from a parking lot (where some group does bootleg Shakespeare plays in the summer). Still firmly within the parameters of the LES.
Type of crowd - friends of the bartenders, losers, general riff-raff. But nice folks.
Pretentious/assholes - I don't think the people who come here have the time or energy to be assholes.
Cost of Stella - n/a (short for non-applicable)
What time people start showing up - please...
Bartender efficiency - one or two bartenders most nights and given the (lack of) crowd you'd think that you would never have to wait for a drink, but they stay chattin with their friends all night. Still not much of a wait tho.
Official Website - here. In which they claim to offer bottle service...which is hilarious.
Food? How late - menu contains 5 appetizers including a $35 Pupu Platter.
TVs? What's on - 2 flat screens, mostly playing Adult Swim and random movies.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/40 [note: ratio only applies when more than 5 people are in the bar at the same time].
Toys - n/a (see above for definition)
Age of clientele - 20s-30s
Space for dancing? - a modest dance floor in the back space. Due to the usual "crowd" however, you'll never be able to use the "Oops, sorry I bumped into you, totally unintentional...this place is jammed tonight, right?" excuse.
Décor - they put about as much effort into it as I feel like putting into this review.
Grimeyness - maybe a little better than the grime level at the fast food places in the Herald Square area. Maybe.
ID check procedure - n/a
Hood specificity - SoLes
Music medium, style & volume - eclectic shit coming from the bartender's iPod all the way, mate. Volume won't be an issue cuz there's a good chance the tunes will be the most interesting thing going on. No Juke.
Drink Specials - happy hour:
Profile - Google first page results.

Update: Visceralist went there this past Saturday and it was actually jumpin. Guy to girl ratio was more like 80/20 though, so...


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Lucky Jack's

129 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-6555

Bathroom situation
- 2 upstairs: 1 men, 1 women, both single-person, both extra medium as far as cleanliness. 2 downstairs: 1 men multi-person, 1 women multi-person, also clean. Note: the downstairs space is often booked for private parties so you'll often have to wait for the upstairs bathrooms, which can be a drag on an otherwise great bar.
Takes credit cards (min?)? - Yes
Crowded on weekends? - Yeah, and it can be difficult to navigate, though the Allen St. side is generally less packed.
Wifi? - no
Seating - the building extends the length of the block from Orchard St. to Allen St. and the bar extends most of that length as well, so there's a gang of seats at the bar, but they get yoinked up quickly. There's also 3 tables in the front and 2 in the back, also with bar stools.
Neighborhood - middle of the LES with entrances on both Allen & Orchard streets. Allen is your best bet for picking up cabs or the M15 uptown bus.
Type of crowd - those among us with Midwestern roots will feel oddly at home here most nights.
Pretentious/assholes - you'll occasionally hear the odd dude outside the bar yelling at some female that been done him wrong, but otherwise a likable crowd.
Cost of Stella -$6/pint
What time people start showing up - 11ish. Earlier if there's a playoff game (or equivalent thereof) going on in the pro-sports world.
Bartender efficiency - 2-3 bartenders who all work the entire length of the bar, which is prolly rough on them, but they're adept at keeping up with demand. Btw, I saw the one bartender who looks like he's the guitarist in an Evanescence-type band hop over the bar and handle some damn business one night (with someone who was acting an asshole) and it was wild gully. He's a cool guy too.
Official Website - Here. A little out of date (Summer '06 photos in the Gallery), and not entirely necessary for a standard-issue bar like this, but cute.
Food? How late - nope. Stella's like liquid pumpkin pie tho. And they have Stella btw.
TVs? What's on - 5 flat screens full up of sports sports sports. If it's not too crowded they'll take channel-change requests. As long as the request is sports.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/40. Despite the TV situation, LJ's doesn't exactly have the sports bar vibe that turns some girls off.
Toys - pool table, touchscreen casual-game console. They do pool tournaments here on Wednesdays too.
Age of clientele - 20s-30s
Space for dancing? - only downstairs in the private party area. And that space has more of a lounge feel to it, so the atmosphere veers more towards the conversational.
Décor - low-key sports bar disguised as a trendy LES bar and almost pulls it off.
Grimeyness - a bit grimey for a sports bar, but clean for an LES bar, so...
ID check procedure - bouncers on the weekends.
Hood specificity - LES
Music medium, style & volume - indie rock and nuveaux-classic rock, mostly run via the bartender's iPod with a safety DJ on Fri & Sat nites. The conversation of the crowd is prolly gonna eclipse the music volume on any given night. Not necessarily a bad thing. No jukebox.
Drink specials - happy hour: 12-8pm $3 Bud, Bud Light & Miller. $4 Red Hook.
Profile - Google first page results.

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Alligator Lounge

600 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-4440

Bathroom situation
- 2, one multi-person male, one multi-person female. Male has two urinals & one large stall. Women's has two small stalls. Both are grimey, but not totally OCD-inducing.
Takes credit cards (min) - Yes
Crowded on weekends - Yes, due to the free pizza it's crowded most nights, but never really jammed up due to its lack of cool-cache (which is also due to it's free pizza).
Wifi - no.
Seating - 10-15 stools at the bar plus 4 booths and one table in front room. 4 or 5 tables in the back room, which is good for larger groups.
Neighborhood - the Lorimer stop on the L train lets out right in front of this place, so you know what it is. Relatively safe though you'll only be able to pick up a gypsy cab here.
Type of crowd - mostly people from the hood, fairly low-key. A friend told me that an acquaintance of hers had sex on the pool table, but that was after-hours and the person she did it to worked there, so it was all above board...what?
Pretentious/assholes - real cool crowd that is generally respectful and, at times, friendly. Except around the pizza-dispensing area. It can get chaotic-like around there, plus the heat from the oven doesn't help.
Cost of Stella -$6
What time people start showing up - 9-10ish. Though there's a decent crowd throughout the day due to the aforemention'd pizzas.
Bartender efficiency - at least 2 bartenders at the bar and they're generally not too overburdened cuz this place attracts a beer-sip-sippin crowd.
Official Website - Here. It's a MySpace page, and it's just as cheesy as that domain implies.
Food? How late - yes, pizza with all the standard toppings (no feta though, which is straight failz0rspwndl33t!) and it goes all night. You get a free cheese pizza ticket with each drink you buy. If you want toppings, it's $2 extra per pie and you pay for that at the bar. You then take your ticket to the dudes at the oven and wait patiently and you don't act an asshole to them cuz they get ran ragged in front of a hot-ass oven over the course of the whole night, every night. Parm, salt, basil, etc are in plastic trays that are in various spots around the bar.
TVs? What's on - a couple over the bar in the front room. Usually sports, but sometimes movies/current events.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/'s a cheap first date place. Guy to girl: "Tell you what, rather than make this awkward, why don't you just buy the drinks and I'll take care of the pizzas. I'll have a Stella."
Toys - pool table, touchscreen casual-game console, Buck Hunter, karaoke on Tuesdays.
Age of clientele - 20s.
Space for dancing? - yes, in the back. But you'll be playing the DJ vis a vis the Jukebox...and dancing by yourself.
Décor - no frills. Front room is dark but fun, back room is usually empty so couples can get some ladies, leave the panties in the panty-drawer!
Grimeyness - Visceralist's ideal level. Btw their a/c broke down for an extended period during the summer '08, so the stank was a factor. No word on whether or not that's been fixed.
ID check procedure - cool bouncer.
Hood specificity - NeWBurg
Music medium, style & volume - Juke in front & back but sometimes you have to ask them to turn them on. The volume is loud enough to pay attention to, but quiet enough to impress girls over it if need be. The juke is an mp3 dealie which for some reason only has 3 or 4 songs by most of the available artists.
Drink specials - free pizza with each drink purchase. You won't eat as much as you think you might though.
Google first page results

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Spitzer's Corner

101 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 228-0027

Bathroom situation
- 5 bathrooms downstairs. All single-occupancy and incredibly clean. The icing: all have airplane-style occupied/vacant locks. No lie, the best bathroom situation in NYC that Visceralist has encountered.
Takes credit cards (dollar min)? - Yes
Crowded on weekends? - Yes, but there's two large rooms, so it's not horrible.
Wifi? - nein
Seating - 2 German Beergarden-style tables in the front room and one in the back room. Each table holds about 20 people. They also have benches along the walls in the front room and booths in the backrooms. Prepare to catch some cooties from the strangers you'll be sitting all up next to!
Neighborhood - literally on Ludlow & Rivington, aka the aorta of the LES. Expect moderate foot traffic at 2:45am on Tuesdays and ridiculous foot/real traffic at all other times.
Type of crowd - folks who like the idea of the trashy/trendy LES but don't want to have to put up with the reality...but still somewhat cool.
Pretentious/assholes - I have a hunch that this place attracts douches, but you wouldn't know it to look at and interact with the folks here. Surprisingly decent.
Cost of Stella - $6/pint.
What time people start showing up - this place serves an allegedly great brunch, so it's prettymuch crowded all day. If you're looking for a lull, try between 3-8.
Bartender efficiency - usually one bartender each in both the front and back rooms; sometimes 2 in the front room on the weekends. A little slower if you're ordering food (which, btw, comes with free wait service [gratuity not included]).
Official Website - Here. Very clean and efficient (just like their bathroom situation). Has their full beer/wine list and eating-food menus.
Food? How late - yes, full menu till 2am.
Tvs? What's on - nope, so get your interesting anecdotes together.
Guy/girl ratio - 65/35...likely due to the beer-centric nature and distinct lack of apple cosmotinis.
Toys - nathan, so like I said, get your anecdote game together.
Age of clientele - late 20s to early 40s.
Space for dancing? - possibly in their awesome bathrooms, but otherwise no.
Décor - mock-classy with a mock-communal feel, but still pleasant. Lots of concrete. Fantastic bathrooms.
Grimeyness - negligible.
ID check procedure - sometimes the hostess at the front checks, but they attract an older crowd, so...
Hood specificity - LES (say it proud!)
Music medium, style & volume - Top 40...playlist determined by management. Volume level is usually set to "background."
Jukebox? - nah, right.
Drink Specials - Happy hour:
Google first page results: reviews by Yelp, NY Mag, Citysearch and a couple articles about them being caught up in an underage drinking bust in Summer '08 (everyone's gotta have a little dirt on their jacket, right?).

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Sixth Ward

191 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 228-9888

Bathroom situation
- 3 bathrooms: one multi-person male with two urinals and one stall. One single-person women's. One single-person unisex. Unisex is prolly your best bet since most people don't seem to notice it as it's slightly away from the other two. The men's is typical LES grungy. FYI, the stall door doesn't lock.
Take credit cards? - Yes, $20 min.
Crowded on weekends? - Yes, but it's pretty large so it feels reasonable. Low-ceiling-phobes beware.
Wifi? - Nah, right.
Seating - 15-20 at their large bar. 5 booths and 3 tables in the main area. 3 benches in the pool table/pinball machine area. Tons of space in the outdoor area in the back, but tends to get cold in the winter.
Neighborhood - heart of the LES, tons of action Wed-Sat. Hella cops hangin out (plain-clothed and otherwise) most evenings.
Type of crowd - Well dressed. Like, seriously. Like American Apparel mixed with genuine H&M.
Pretentious/assholes? - a good mix, but yeah veers towards pretentiousy.
Cost of Stella - $6/pint
Time people start showing up - 10pm.
Bartender efficiency - surprisingly good at the bar considering the crowds. Usually 3 bartenders working busy nights. If you're in a booth, you're stuck with wait service which is chopped & screwed slow. Slow enough, however, they they likely won't notice if you go get a drink at the bar and bring it back to the table.
Official Website - only a brokeass MySpace page (really?) :
# of people there drinking alone - 1.
Food? How late - yes, it's essentially a robust appetizer menu.
TVs? What's on - sports, like whatever's trendy at the time.
Guy/girl ratio - 60/40
Toys - touchscreen casual-game console, pool, pinball, coin-operated punching bag.
Age of clientele - late 20s.
Space for dancing? - hell no, but they don't play that kind of music anyway.
Décor - from the picnic tables, to the paneling to the booths, they got lots of wood. Otherwise, the typical loungey-like lighting.
Grimeyness - they try to keep it clean, but there's still a pinch of LES dive bar grime.
ID check procedure - low-key bouncer (on the weekends at least).
Hood specificity - NoLes aka FauxLes
Music medium, style & volume - juke/ipod combo. Mostly indie rock. Can be little hard to talk over, but not painful. Outdoor area is music-free.
Jukebox - mp3'd up, large selection.
Drink Specials - kiwi-infused vodka shots: $5. Happy hour: 2 for 1 drinks 12-4pm.
Google's first page results- reviews by CitySearch, TimeOut, Yelp, ClubPlanet, Sheckys, UrbanSpoon, New York on Tap.

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