Some of us just don't feel right around the beautiful people -- the chic restaurants, the designer boutiques, the craft cocktail bars. So we gravitate to the worst a neighborhood has to offer: the unreconstructed, dingy dive bar. Here are a few sanctuaries for the seedy.
Johnny's Bar is a dive, but it's a dive with panache. Possibly the last true dive bar in the West Village, it somehow maintains its grungy, unselfconscious vibe year in and year out.
A simple, old-fashioned neighborhood bar -- one of the remnants, with Puffy's and a few others, of the time when TriBeca was just another wasteland. But the burgers are solid, the brunch is relaxed, and you can relax at the bar in a way you never could at trendier spots.
New York has more than its share of ersatz roadhouse / biker bars, and while I suppose technically this is one of them (it is in the Meatpacking district, after all) I feel like it has actually become the thing it meant to mimic. You are not really in Manhattan when you're in there -- and I say that as a compliment.
The Dubin House looks nice from the outside -- it's neon harp is something of a neighborhood icon -- but inside it's a true Irish bar, which is to say, a drinking hole. Which is utterly to its credit.
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.
This atmospheric drink-pit is the last thing you'd expected to find in the toney south slope, but that just makes it even more valuable for those of us who need to touch the earth every now and then.
Puffy's isn't what you would call a TriBeCa landmark or anything, but it is a neighborhood fixture, and one of the few downscale, straight-up bars in the area. Which is one reason the locals love it.
Tom and Jerry's is pretty minimal, even by the standards of old-time New York bars, and it's not getting any nicer. It's an an otherwise ritzy area, so you have to wonder how long it can last. Probably longer than any of us.
Although ostensibly a nautical-themed bar, the true concept here is that of a basement rec room, complete with old cushy chairs and aquariums. In any case, it's a desperately needed watering hole in the far west village.