113 Ludlow St, New York, NY | Directions 1000240.719460 -73.988799
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Lower East Side
Very Fun – This place is way funky with an eclectic style and loads of personality. Go early and get a hookah early. Then as the night goes on get your dance on near the DJ. Then on the late night go down stairs and hit up the vodka cage. There are normally a lot of forigners there and they let loose and make for a good time. Not your typical NYC scene..and I like it!
Opa! – One thing is for sure about this Bulgarian bar: you'll never be bored. There are so many facets to this bar/tavern/club that even your most A.D.D. friend will constantly be amused. (Not to mention there's pretty shiney L.E.D. lights on the ceiling of the lower level!) Start out in the upstairs tavern where most nights you can enjoy a live Bulgarian band while dancing, enjoying light food and...smoking hookah? Slightly mismatched but fun none the less. Downstairs turns into a total dance club, but keeps the same Euro vibe. Expect one popular song for every five European folk/techno dance songs, and then expect to inevitably get swept into the circle dances whether you know the steps or not. Other fun distractions include a stripper pole open to any and all patrons and Mehanata's main attraction: the Ice Cage. $20 per person grants you and your friends admission into a porta-john sized booth lined with shelves of vodka. You have two minutes to consume up to five shots, including many top-shelf options. Even better than the drunkenness is that to enter the cage you must play dress-up in an authentic Russian military uniform and hat...stylish. Expect good and raucous times at Mehanata, but also expect a pretty dense crowd and not much range of movement. Drinks are moderately priced and Mehanata does charge a cover if not with an organized party, but in this case it's all about the atmosphere and engrossing yourself in the culture.
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Ice Cage!!! – This two level Bulgarian bar, tucked away in the East Village, may have something that is unique to any bar in NYC… an ice cage filled with vodka. For $20 each, the members of your party get the privilege of donning Bulgarian military coats and hats, entering a glass case (of emotion?), and taking as many shots of vodka they can in two minutes. With bottles lining the walls, it may be overwhelming at first, but stay focused because two minutes is a lot shorter than you might think. If you are able to get 5-6 shots in, you’ve done a pretty good job and feel free to check out the live Bulgarian music upstairs. Or appreciate your admirable pregaming skills and move along to the next spot.
Manhattan's only late-night destination for belly-dancing and Bulgarian beer. – In Short
This long-time Bulgarian favorite may have changed locations, but it didn't leave any of its zany, fun-loving flavor behind. A large chandelier shares ceiling space with the dangling lace of discarded bras, and on most nights the eclectic crowd can catch belly dancers doing impromptu performances and brazen males balancing chairs between their teeth. The diminutive dance floor is usually packed, but patrons with two left feet can pass the time sampling strong beers like Zagorka at the long front bar.
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