Coffee! Give me cofffeee! There was no way ANY pint even sounded good until a triple shot was down the hatch this morning, er afternoon to some (or most) folks. Fortunately thank God, after departing from the West 4th Street Station we quickly stumbled upon a slew of coffee shops. Must be a very popular place for a Saturday afternoon cup because each one was stuffed full of loungers; you know the type. Anyway, we stopped in at the Corrado Bread and Pastry shop where we could at least squeeze in the door. Funny how all that squeezing didn’t hinder anyone from filling themselves with an abundance of pastries and pies, including our selves with some delectable little danishes that were screaming from the display case. Corrado also serves up a nice sampling of weekend brunch munchies, minus the Mimosas. We skipped anyway, don’t want to start a roll on a full belly; way too much opportunity for nibbling down the road. Speaking of down the road, let’s hit it…
Now, eager for that first pint we went in search of a pub that we had eye-balled on a previous roll. After a bit of not-so-aimless wandering we found ourselves at The Four-Faced Liar nestled between 6th and 7th Avenues on West 4th Street. And let me tell you, for our friend Huck who is from Ireland, he sort of melted into this very real-feel Irish pub. So surreal; it was like a little country pub was just scooped off that island and dropped right into the heart of Greenwich Village. Not only was the atmosphere, low tables, tin ceilings, and décor all about an authentic Irish experience, let’s talk to their Perfect Pint of Guinness! Right glass, right pour, and ooh… the head on that thing…aah. Honestly, the only thing missing here is the Irish brogue- but not to worry, that’s easily remedied after drawing on a few perfect pints, if you know what I mean. Oh by-the-way, check out the window mural of St. Patrick; notice anything odd? Anyway, you know how some places are just happenstance? You know you drop in if you happen to be walking by- well The Four-Face Liar is anything but that; it’s a destination! Wish we were there now. Sláinte! (pronounced ’slawn-cha’, meaning Health! A common toast in Ireland, equivalent to ‘Cheers’)
So in an effort to stay erect, I mean vertical, at least until a reasonable time, we reluctantly headed out the door…oh, and speaking of erect, on your way to the next stop you’ll pass the famous Pink Pussy Cat toy store. HINT: Buying opportunity. Walking into The Slaughtered Lamb is like entering a dungeon; but fear-not, it’s their trademark. The atmosphere is one of relaxation and coziness that is sometimes warmed by the big fireplace in the center of the bar. The bar wraps around to a hidden restaurant and also has a dungeon in the basement that is barred off during the day. Soon you’ll find yourself being served by a metal-clad, boot wearing pair of legs, I mean waitress that will make you want to use your recently acquired toys sooner than later. When you ask for a perfect pint here, what you get is a giggle and straight pull as the barmaid tells you, “I don’t even know what that is!” Be weary though, even if you don’t stay long the influence of the dungeon lingers and you may find yourself later in strange dreams or even medieval sex acts. Enough there.
Stopping into Oliver’s Bar & Grill seemed like a good idea at the time so we went in, but we really can’t recommend it beyond a good belly-up bar. Belly-up being a reference to sitting at the bar and only drinking; in other words, no reference to the aforementioned paragraph. We can however recommend against satisfying any other physiological needs that come with drinking beer (i.e. food or toilet). Needless to say, short stay…
Anyway, there is a buzz in the air and you can feel New Yorkers emerging and converging at their favorite pubs. This was evident by the strange, but pleasant atmosphere of Arthur’s Tavern where we found ourselves next. This tavern was a find! The band was just setting up in the pit and we were the only drinkers there. This gave us a chance to note the décor which included every multi-cultural holiday imaginable. Service was a little slow but made sense as din-din was being devoured by the waitresses who also brought a touch of Bronx flavor to the mix which works well for the relaxed and lazy atmosphere of the tavern. Even with that, the music started promptly at 7pm and by 7:15pm there wasn’t a seat left in the house aside from the seats around a ledge that surrounds the band. It’s kind of like sitting at a piano bar minus the piano. Isn’t that cool? Bring your own food if you want to munch during the show; no food service and they only take cash. I dare you to ask for a wine menu- it’s met with a laugh! And beer is bottled, but much to Tom’s delight Widmer Hefeweisen from her hometown of Portland, Oregon is on the menu. Give it a try but make sure to twist the yeast off the bottom of the bottle before it is opened for a full-body experience. Arthur’s Tavern is a popular place to say the least- check out the website for their unique history and commitment to jazz and blues since 1937.
As we strolled down the street in search of our next stop, we came upon August Restaurant that was so busy we just HAD to go in. We weren’t really hungry yet but just wanted to try on the atmosphere for size- you know, for future dining options. This brick-walled, narrow restaurant is packed pretty tight but cleverly designed. The back room is a heated atrium draped with wall plants to really open up a sense of space and outdoors. We’ll request a table in that room when we do go back for dinner. As far as bellying-up to a bar though, that gets a little tricky. Because we weren’t interested in eating yet, we asked if we could just have a glass of wine. No problem, go back to the bar. Huh? Oh, by the bar.
We were seated in a cloakroom and then served several samples of wine until we made our selection. Our servers were more than accommodating and rather insistent that we stay when we suggested that this was probably not a good time. It was a hoot and very much appreciated. You might guess that we only stayed for one glass, but will definitely go back.
Any idea who makes the best Bloody Mary in NYC? WXOU Radio Bar (no web page) makes that claim and sells them for $5 until 8pm every day. We would have to agree that it ranks right up there. The bartender, Christian only shares his unique recipe with WXOU Radio and Dressler Restaurant in Williamsburg. WXOU Radio is a very comfortable, friendly neighborhood bar with a terrific juke box and simple décor and seating. This will be a good pitch-point for a future roll. What with the Bloody Mary’s and all? It’s across the street from the historical White Horse Tavern which we didn’t actually go into on this roll but always worth a visit.
Instead we chose to hit The Spotted Pig for a couple of hand-crafted beers and a busy atmosphere before grabbing some grub. The restaurant/bar is large with an upstairs. Each floor has a bar in the middle of the room with tables lining the walls. The décor is warm and relaxing and the buzz of business just makes it that much more low-key. This is truly a mixed crowd and everyone will feel welcome and ‘in’ here. Although we did not eat on this evening, the food here is terrific as well as the drinks.
But before we went to the Spotted Pig we had to make a stop at Employees Only, a recommendation (and good one at that!) from Josh, a regular at WXOU Radio. It is obviously popular as the place was a squeeze-box of people and the environment…well you are just going to have to try that for yourself! The Employees Only concept originated a few years ago by some folks in the restaurant industry that wanted to serve up a well-deserved, high quality experience to other fellow employees in the industry. You will note this in earnest with their vibrant and festive atmosphere but more importantly, when immediately greeted by a bartender dressed to the hilt in 30’s attire (mustache included) that is more than eager to get a tasty drink in your hands…with a smile. We had a great time here and will definitely go back but maybe earlier to try for a seat in one of the many cozy spaces available for lounging and mingling. Good energy.
Anyone hungry yet? Our final stop of the evening culminated at Philip Marie where we were met with the same cool, casual environment that we have come to know and expect when we visit here. This is one of our favorite last calls where we sit at the bar, drink reasonably priced, delicious wine and have some fantastic food. Russell and Chris are the bartenders here and they do a great job of leading you into a mouth-watering culinary adventure. My favorite regulars are Bill the artist, Rodney the photographer, and Jerry the apartment dweller- you’ll know who they are if they’re there. It is a classy restaurant and also offers some clever options for private, personalized dinners in the basement.
So this roll all started by trying to relocate The Four-Faced Liar that we could not exactly remember the location or the name. You’ll notice this in the randomness of the map between points A to C. It was a great start to a terrific finish.
Cheers and Happy Rolling!
|A||Corrado Bread & Pastry||35 Christopher Street|
|B||Four Faced Liar||165 West 4th Street|
|B_2||The Slaughtered Lamb||182 West 4th Street|
|B_3||Oliver’s Bar & Grill||190 West 4th Street|
|C||Arthurs Tavern||57 Grove Street|
|D||August Restaurant||359 Bleecker Street|
|E||WXOU Radio||558 Hudson Street|
|E_2||Employees Only||510 Hudson Street|
|F||The Spotted Pig||314 W. 11th Street|
|G||Philip Marie||569 Hudson Street|