Monday, November 30, 2009

Los Feliz

109 Ludlow St. (btw Rivington & Delancey)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 228-8383

Bathroom situation
- from the people that brought you Spitzer's awesome bathroom situation comes a slightly neutered version of such. The individual br motif is still very much in effect, but there's only 4 of them and they're only in the downstairs area and they don't have airplane-style occupied/vacant indicators on the handles and they're not quite as clean....but otherwise they're getting some kudos round way.
Takes credit cards? - si, y con mucho gusto. You may be confused when you see "Los Feliz" at the top of your bill and not "Taqueria" tho because the street-facing signage of this place is all kinds of backwards.
Crowded on weekends? - yes, but it turns out to be a minor issue. From the street, this place looks way too small to accommodate your typical Ludlow-based Saturday night LES crowd, but there's a large downstairs area that has some wide birthing hips, so it's all good. Hop in!
Seating - street level: a dollop of stools at the bar and 8 or 9 tables that can be pushed together in case Rob Pattinson shows up with his entourage (he won't tho, cuz according to Vanity Fair he's a beer-swillin loner...bless). Downstairs, main level: a couple of wooden benches leftover from Spitzer's. Downstairs, lower level: some cushiony, benchy goodness and a smattering of hard-backed chairs.
Neighborhood - next door to the new SVA dorms, and on the same block as Mehanatta, Motor City & a teensy bodega whose workers flash a geek'd-up smile while they overcharge Visceralist exactly $1 more than the market value for any given six-pack they have in their brokeass coolers.
Pretentious/assholes - yes, which is unfortunate because this place has an above-average pedigree (from the people who brought you Spitzer's, Dark Room & Fat Baby). Not that those places don't attract their fair share of scum, but they don't seem to revel in it like Los Feliz apparently does. There's nothing inherently wrong with button-up patterned shirts or peacoats on a Saturday night in the LES, but...
Cost of Stella - $6 or $7 by the bottle. Visceralist apologizes for the vagueness here, but we bought it with other drinks and with cash, so it was hard to delineate.
What time people start showing up - as of Thanksgiving Weekend '09 this place still seems to retain some of the sheen it carried from being associated with the bars mentioned in the "Pretentious/assholes" category, so people come here early and often most days. The hilarious Yelp reviews however (which vividly call out Los Feliz on its triflin') don't bode well for its future prospects...
Bartender efficiency - this place has 3 bars: street-level, main downstairs & lower downstairs. Street-level has two 'tenders during the busy hours and you'll have to play the usual game of LES-bartender-ego-scratching to get their attention. The lower-level ones, however, are generally less busy and more helpful. It should be noted here that Los Feliz has a two entrances to the downstairs area. One that you see immediately as you enter and which is manned by a bouncer and another which is accessible via a hidden door towards the back of the "restaurant" area (like something out of the Batman TV series from the '60s) that isn't all that hidden cuz people are constantly using it and it doesn't have one of those mechanical arms on it that automatically closes it. That sound you hear in the background is La Esquina and PDT laughing at this place in unison.
Official Website - tienen ningun. Unclear if this absence is just growing pains or some straight perpetratin...
Food? How late - judging from some of the Yelp reviews from when this place first opened, Los Feliz was initially framed as a restaurant that dabbled in bar-dom/lounge-dom. If this is true, this was a huge mistake. They do have food here and they do serve it to the tables on the street-level via waiters, but let it be known that this is a fuckin LES B&T bar with lounge leanings. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing (shouts out to Verlaine), but please don't walk in here thinking you're gonna get the Basil Fawlty treatment. The food is an afterthought.
TVs? What's on - for all the missteps this place has apparently made according to Yelp, it's surprising that they don't have a totally out-of-place flatscreen Samsung here showing The Real World: Las Vegas on loop. They don't though.
Guy:girl ratio - surprisingly guy-heavy, even despite the abundance of Tequila and Scarface posters on the walls (that last part's a metaphor, btw).
Toys - nothing physical, but Visceralist loves posting via iPhone to that Overheard In Los Feliz blog shit like "But you're short...why would I do that?" and "Fuck them, they're just jealous..."
Age of clientele - fuck, the peacoats here are really like endemic. Visceralist has a bone to pick with them cuz they just scream mediocrity. Plus the neck is wide open and wearing scarves is for women. You know who wears peacoats? Tim Allen wears peacoats. So does Robin Williams.
Space for dancing? - the downstairs main level has a comfortable dance floor that alternates between empty and "OMFG, I love this new Lady Gaga!"
ID Check Procedure - Visceralist's male celeb hair-plug/wig/draw-on culprits: Matthew McConaughey, Travolta, Jamie Foxx, Michael C. Hall, Kevin James, Nic Cage, Affleck, Will Farrell, tbc...(this is all pure speculation, btw)
Music medium, style & volume
- the DJ on the downstairs main level apparently holds sway over the soundtrack for the entire bar, which is aight, but god damn, does it have to be that loud everywhere? Granted, everyone loves a strong 808 and snare, but not to the point where it's stirring your tequila gimlet for you.
Specials or most popular drink - so they have a gang of different tequilas here. Visceralist asked the street-level bartender for a recommendation on which one would make for a decent tequila gimlet and was hit with the "um, let's see...." We won't quite call that a fail, but it definitely ain't a ftw.

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Is in full effect. Playin this game on beast mode now. Just need a fly logo. Toying with the idea of the McDonalds arches with Mickey Mouse ears and with the Nike swoosh underneath it like a smirk. Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Doghouse Saloon

152 Orchard St. (btw Rivington & Stanton)
New York, NY 10002
(646) 429-8780

Bathroom situation
- one large & cleanly unisex unit on the street level. Downstairs, the usual complement of grubby Ms & Ws (1 each). For some reason the street level one is frequently vacant. This is either cuz the folks here just drunkenly overlook it it on their way downstairs or out of respectful deference to Doghouse Saloon's disabled patrons. Keep in mind that it's called The Doghouse Saloon and it's in the LES though, so we'll leave it up to you to figure out which it is.
Takes credit cards? - dear God yes. As a brand new, enthusiastically fratastic bar in the LES (with considerable sq. footage) this place would be foolish to turn down any form of currency, whether it be credit, traveler's cheque, piggy bank, Argentinian peso, piano lesson coupons or X-Men comics from the 80's.
Crowded on weekends? - ummm, yeah....and with a name like The Doghouse Saloon, a million NYC hipsters already disapprovingly assumed as much. It's perversely fitting in a way that this place is back-to-back with Ludlow Street's own B&T oasis Libation, because in much the same way that Orchard St. is the poor man's Ludlow St., Doghouse is the Sidekick to Libation's Blackberry Storm.
Seating - an abundance of stools by the main bar, two large booths in the back. Roughly the same situation downstairs. Upstairs has been christened as the "VIP Area" which Visceralist wasn't welcome at the night we went here, but we were sort of peeking up at it on the sly from the ground looked like there were 5 or 6 tables up there, but then the bouncer caught us and told us to stop looking up there like Nigel Tufnel with that one guitar, so we had to stop.
Neighborhood - next door to Demask latex & leather gear shop. 'Nuff said. [ed. nice callback to the X-Men thing from earlier]
Pretentious/assholes - Barrel, meet my friend Fish. Fish, meet my better friend Chrome Desert Eagle.
Cost of Stella - $6...Visceralist has nothing for this, so commenters, go nuts. Best comment will appear here.
What time people start showing up - ok, full disclosure, Visceralist came here for the first time last Friday from like 10 - 12 and has no plans on ever going back. It was basically dead at 10, but did wind up getting lively and vivacious at around 11:30. Whether or not this is true most nights or if this place gets more brolic as the night progresses is up to the commenters or Yelpers to speak on.
Bartender efficiency - in a word, hysterical. There were 3 pros & 1 rookie working that night. Now, according to their website, they offer guest bartender nights so it's possible that the rook was a guest for the night, but given how new this place is, it was really hard to tell. Either way, the rook was the only one actually working while the others were listlessly cavorting and capering and generally dilly-dallying. Or maybe it was just that they were ignoring Visceralist on purpose (wouldn't be the first time, definitely won't be the last). Either way, the negligence was to the point that it was comical and well, now we're putting them on blast. That's how that goes.
Official Website - here. Their homepage has an "index.html" at the end of it. If that's too inside-baseball of a diss for you, then watch this: they've decorated said homepage in what looks like Clip-Art from the 50's. If it's still like we're speaking Tagalog then consider this: they have the following in the footer of every page on the site: "Doghouse Saloon NYC is the newest bar to hit the city. A fun environment with a free hot dog with purchase of any drink. Stop by to see the large two floor bar area with an upstairs game room, 10 TVs that show all sports games and beer pong tournaments. Located close to Rivington on 152 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002. Doghouse NYC. "
Food? How late - free hot dogs till 4am every night apparently, but considering this place's musk, Visceralist recommends sneaking in some of Duane Reade's new DeLish line of trailmix and assorted candies. [ed. cross our heart, that's not viral marketing]
TVs? What's on - yes, they do shine in this department. They have enough that they were showing the good bball games, college football games & even world cup qualifier games. OK, well, singular tense for all those, not plural, but still...
Guy:girl ratio - they have a Wheel O' Shots here (with "water" on one of the tabs), so you can surely imagine how many women love coming here all the time, like nonstop infinity. Harder to gauge when it comes to the men-folk tho.
Toys - Billiards, Skee Ball, Buck Hunter, and most importantly, Beer Pong. Yes ma'am. Mothers, free your daughters. Professor Snodgrass, we're serving you's out for summer! The Doghouse Saloon has sent out the Close Encounters of the Third Kind quint-tone, and Richard Dreyfus has arrived with a keg over each shoulder! Excitement! Intrigue! Arguments over whether bounce-ins (and you're gonna get bounce-ins) count! Beirut!
Age of clientele - old enough to irreverently procreate. Shouts out to this.
Space for dancing? - yes on the main floor and, if memory serves, downstairs. DID YOU KNOW! That the Courtney Cox "Dancing in the Dark" dance is not only alive, not only well, but flourishing and doing pre-2008-Madoff business?
ID Check Procedure - yeah, pretty on-point too.
Music medium, style & volume
- suppose this is a good time to mention that this place used to be a somewhat-respected LES live indie-music venue called The Annex. Visceralist was considering pointing this out earlier, but really, The Annex was never all that. Never on par with like Pianos or even The Delancey. It was decent for what it was, but we don't think BrooklynVegan or anyone really shed a tear when this place shut down (shouts out to Rothko). At The Doghouse Saloon they have a DJ and, not sure if this is representative, but they did play the full album mix of Fatboy Slim's "Rockefeller Skank."
Specials or most popular drink - they have a bunch of specials listed on their web 0.5 site, but we can't be bothered.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Blue Seats

157 Ludlow St. (btw Rivington & Stanton)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 614-1494

Bathroom situation
- they got 3 single-person units, so when the clock hits 00:00 you can bet that your bladder lost 14oz - 0. Forealdo, a sports bar with this kind of limited bathroom situation is taking an L till the break of dawn. If you really really have to go, sneak down the street to Spitzer's.
Takes credit cards? - yes ma'am [ed. that's for your "football" team, Michigan...shots fired!].
Crowded on weekends?- depends on whether it's tennis grand-slam season or not. If not, then yes. If so, then no. Which, btw, Agassi said in the new Vanity Fair that he wishes he had Federer's talent. Poor guy...Federer, that is. Now he's gotta play Andre off at tennis dinner parties and suchlike...
Seating - this is where The Blue Seats gets all controversial like Ruby...they have 3 (4?) pretty slick booths equipped with 5 flat-screens each which can fit around 6 or 7 comfortably and which can conceivably play any game in the land that's on at that particular point in time. Catch is that they charge by the hour for them. They also have a sick (you'll hear that word a lot around here) viewing room in the upstairs area in the back which is like something out of an episode of cribs where the guy actually owns the place they're showing (shouts out to Smilez & Southstar). Controversial cuz they dare charge for prime seating real estate like this in the LES, but really can you blame them? Though Visceralist is loathe to defend one of Libation's cousins like this, you know that Local 138 is right down the street and Lucky Jacks is right around the corner, so if you're hatin', (GOB voice:) come on!
Neighborhood- hipstery enough to make The Blue Seats seem out of place cuz it attracts too much khaki and not enough denim, but also gentrified enough to make The Blue Seats seem out of place cuz it attracts too much khaki and not enough cashmere. [ed. can we get the Geneva Convention on the line about this metaphor?]
Pretentious/assholes- let's just say that if Visceralist had an AdSense nickel for every time the phrase "it is what it is" is used around this place over the course of an average month, we'd be able to ditch both AdSense & Visceralist and post up on a hammock in St. Lucia till the Mayan calendar resets and makes everything moot.
Cost of Stella- they have it here in draft form and it'll set you back about as much as a Subway $5 foot-long (+tax)...there's a Subway 3.5 blocks south on Ludlow btw. They don't have Stella though.
What time people start showing up - sports o'clock...which is usually about 3 hours before the Michigan Wolverines lose to THE Ohio State University Buckeyes.
Bartender efficiency- if you're seated and actually getting wait-service, you're basically fucked and should prolly sneak in some stuff from Rosario's (they have beef patties and they'll put pepperoni & cheese in them for you if you ask). If you're actually going up to the bar for drinks, you're likely to get someone's attention by waving around a $20 and making noises like Kramer was when he was trying to get Mickey Mantle's attention in some TV show.
Official Website - here. Lil Wayne was talking about The Blue Seats' website when he ad-libbed "Check me out, look..." on the song "Always Strapped."
Food? How late- fuck, finally! Some of the best American-style tapas you'll be able to find in the LES no matter how many stones you turn over or kilts you peek under. Wait, we're talking about Stanton Social, right?
TVs? What's on - yeah, um, think so, um doi doi doi, duh duh, duhhhhhh. Derrrrr. Um, yeah I think a sports bar in New York City would have TVs, um hello?!?!
Guy:girl ratio - needs work.
Toys - knee-slappin, fist-bumpin, bro-hamin, beer-chuggin, Bucks-winnin, bill-payin, cab-callin, cock-yankin, tear-fallin.
Age of clientele - if anyone here is under 27, please join AmeriCorps and/or seek help before it's too late.
Space for dancing? - Visceralist always tries to reserve some space for dancing on the grave of the once-proud Wolverines who we seem to remember at one point actually stood a chance of beating Tressel's troops. But that's about it.
ID Check Procedure - if you're actually underage and try to sneak in here, you deserve everything you get. Yes, all the chips and the dip.
Music medium, style & volume
- if it's not a chant you could easily squeeze in between a turnover and a snap, you won't hear it here. So no Kid Cudi.
Specials or most popular drink- this isn't really a happy-hour type place, but they do have $0.25 wing nights pretty regularly. Check their sick-ass website for more.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cake Shop

152 Ludlow St. (btw Rivington & Stanton)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 252-0036

Bathroom situation
- in a words: surprisingly paltry. They only have one single-use honey-drop on the street level, and it's bus' down like Shaq's knees [ed. and that mug's still making more than Bron Bron this year...smh]. They have a Dude's & Dudette's downstairs, but since that's where their stage is, you'll usually have to come out your pocket to use them. Smfh.
Takes credit cards?- Though Visceralist definitely recalls having left our corporate card here overnight one time and came back the next day all grateful when it turned up in their lost-n-found [ed. not grateful enough to leave a tip though, according to the expense report. smh], they appurrntly no longer take cards here. So unroll them bills, mayne...
Crowded on weekends?- yes, but the street level is usually not terribly painful given that there'll be PLENTY of room in the back area where they still try to sell some kind of physical, analog musical conveyance that doesn't have any usb interface or nothin' like that there. As for the downstairs know that scene in Kubrick's "The Shining" where the elevator doors open and blood pours out like 2 feet deep? No, never seen it? Ok, well just imagine something like that, but replace the blood with sweat and Beacon's Closet receipts and that basically sums up the downstairs "venue" space.
Seating- street level has a few stools and 4 or 5 tables, plus they prolly wouldn't mind if you sat your dumps right down on the record racks in the back, cuz it's not like they're gonna be making any money off them like ever [ed. never ever]. Downstairs has a couple stools and a few couches like you'd find during "lesson time" from an old episode of Electric Company or some such.
Neighborhood- 1 hop + 1 skip away from famed LES nightspot Libation, whose velvet rope no Cake Shopper would make it past even if they gave it the bum's rush in a bodysuit made of H1N1 & Lyme's disease.
Pretentious/assholes- Visceralist had an experience here in which some trick-ass mark tried to cut in the front of the upstairs bathroom line cuz he "had to go really really bad." And then the rest of the night went really really bad for him.
Cost of Stella - a rote $6, but they only have it in those glass bottles you often see beer come in.
What time people start showing up- well, they serve food here plus they sell records [ed. pssht], so folk dawdle in and loiter out basically throughout the day.
Bartender efficiency- the downstairs bar usually has two bartenders on busy nights, but there's still a good chance you'll be struggling to make eye contact and then reaching over a person or two to exchange unrolled dollar bills for booze. Your best bet: waving your arms wildly and screaming "Hey! Heyyyy!" until the needle on the (unpurchased) record skips and the whole place goes silent and everyone turns to glare at you.
Official Website - here. Visceralist can't even stunt on this cuz it's actually quite well organized, colorful and extremely band-friendly (clear contact info for booking + a list of equipment available...a rarity).
Food? How late- Visceralist is a carnivore to the nth, repeating ("Yes, we'll have the Scotch Egg with the bacon au jus.") so something about the vegan-delightful vibe of the cafe here just plain rubs us sideways. Plus, um, hello...there's a recession going, so how often are we really throwing out our day-old pastries, people? Think on it.
TVs? What's on - closest you might get is some kind of TV on the Radio side-project.
Guy:girl ratio- one of the Real Housewives of NYC came here one time cuz she heard The Bravery were gonna do a secret MySpace show that was sponsored by Sparks & American Apparel. With photos by The Cobra Snake. Didn't pan out...
Toys - whipping old records at Chuck Klosterman's stupid glasses.
Age of clientele - let's just say that most folks here will totes understand why Bronson Pinchot's recent AV Club interview was so damn brolic.
Space for dancing? - well, this isn't really that type of place. But on the plus side, it's also not the type of place where you're likely to get your ass gaffled in a sweaty mosh pit.
ID Check Procedure- kissy faces, blush & eye-lash batting ain't a gonna work here. On the other hand, it might...Visceralist has never really been here.
Music medium, style & volume
- j/k...Visceralist caught MGMT here back in early '08 before they blew up the fuck. And, get this, they didn't even do "Kids"...or as the meathead in the audience called it, "Play Control Yourself!"
Specials or most popular drink - PG Tips.

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