The East Village has some superb cocktail lounges, mixological meccas in which a person can indulge in fine drinks, enjoy quiet conversation, and meet attractive people. Then there are these places.
This East Village bar has been providing cheap beer, an A+ jukebox, and a worn-out, off-level pooll table to generations of neighbors. It's not much, but there are those who truly love it.
Want someplace to play beer pong? Go somewhere else. The median age is 87 at this tiny bar, and the livers are twice that age. But amidst the lore, the bluster, and the smoke, you never know who you might run in to. If Bukowski was alive, this is a place you might find him drinking.
Set in the former communist party headquarters (or so they claim) this upstairs drinking hole is populated almost entirely by East Village debauchees, many of whom have seen hard miles. The romance of the place persists, though; it might be the last bastion of the old East Village decay at its best.
The Pyramid Club is a dive bar's dive bar, a minute, barely visible hole in the wall where you meet floozies and flaneurs, drink rotgut whiskey, and listen to the New York Dolls on the jukebox. A consummate East Village destination, in other words.
I mean, what can you say about Milano's Bar? Can any bar be narrower, darker, more sinister, or more enjoyable? It's not so much a dive as a den of iniquity. I wish I could live there.
Sophie's is the quintessential East Village dive bar, all shadows and cheap beer and character oozing out from every stain and dustbunny. When it closes, the neighborhood will have died.
Not to be confused with Blue & Gold a couple of blocks away, this bar is quiet, dark, and thinly populated -- an ideal place for secret assignations, or just a low-key nightcap. Don't go looking for craft cocktails, though.
A crazy faux-Tiki bar in one of the most desolate locations in the East Village, Otto's survives by sheer force of coolness. The drinks, music, atmosphere, and overall likeability of the place always carries the day -- and it's not like anybody is critiqueing their mai tais anyway.
Calling B-Side a dive bar actually gives it too much credit: if it were any skeevier and more low-rent, it would be a movie set. Still, there is no friendlier (or cheaper) place to drink, especially in the northern reaches of Alphabet City.
International Bar was such a run down, grungy, seedy operation that when it finally went out of business it was less of a surprise than a relief. But "what is dead may never die," as the saying goes, and the surprisingly loveable dive bar has reopened and relocated to the unexpected relief of a neighborhood.