224 Ave B, New York, NY | Directions 1000940.729136 -73.978415
Neighborhoods: East Village, Downtown, Alphabet City
great, but not for students – If you lived here 10 years ago, you?d still be coming to Mona?s. It?s quite possibly the best bar?dive or otherwise?in Alphabet City. The drinks are strong and inexpensive, outstanding bartenders Chrissy and Brian reward loyal patronage, and the cheery clientele is refreshing in a neighborhood fast becoming overrun with hipsters and students. The jukebox has the best selection in the area and it?s cheap. One would wish that a great jukebox, friendly bartenders, and the occasional kung fu movie on the television would be enough, but alas, there?s bands on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you?re craving the Star Wars Cantina music, come in on Tuesdays where clarinets are beatified. Mondays it?s trad music. Beware.
Even with two evenings of dubious musical entertainment on offer, you won?t find a better bar than Mona?s.
Last Breath of East Village Roots – My generation of New Yorker has witnessed the supernova of a neighborhood- The East Village. Where there were mean streets in the mid-eighties, there are now high-end strollers, pushed by high-end parents, living in top-dollar condos- and their bars and night spots reflect this. However, there is still Mona's. Before the landed gentry conquered the East Village, Mona's served pints to punk rockers and neighborhood artists and freaks. And Mona's has not changed. Listen to great 70's punk on the best jukebox in the neighborhood, play pool with people who understand pool etiquette, talk to the awesome bartenders and drink underpriced drinks. Leave your pretentions elsewhere.
The Ultimate Guiness – Admidst the smoke, the ex-junkies and decaying banners of bands and teams long departed the soul of a poet lives. It manifests in the perfect Guinness pour, the pain in Ian Curtis' lyrics from the jukebox, and the buy-backs. One of the best punk/postpunk jukeboxes in the city, and the bartenders have such integrity unmatched in any other place. You can point to the bathroom stalls (which have improved), the lack of a sign, or the occasional indigent (who used to be a regular now fallen on hard times) as problems, but that's a simplistic approach. It's more than a place. It's a state of mind.
Seedy, Gross, Divey... in a nice way – This is probably one of the filthier bars I have ever entered in my life. There are thick layers of soot, smoke and dust on the walls above the bar. Some banners hanging are so filthy they are now unrecognizable. The gender-neutral bathroom is frightening, and my heart goes out to all the ladies who use it. Really smokey bar as well.
All that being said, it's a really cool place. Quiet, friendly, unpretentious crowd. Pool table is very competitive, casual players should be prepared to lose every time. Beer is cheap ($3 pint for domestics, $4.50 for Imports) and they have some really, REALLY cheap well drinks.
It's not for everybody, but if you like drinking cheap with a friendly crowd and don't mind getting dirty, this is a great place.
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