EAST VILLAGE BAR CRAWL: From punk rock dive to KGB Bar to OG Irish pub…

CBGB’s may be long gone, but there are plenty of places to grab a drink, and even listen to some punk rock, in New York City’s East Village. So after stuffing our faces full of pastrami, we set out to check out a few of em, all within stumbling distance…

Doubling down on $5 IPAs @ Double Down Saloon

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We’re starting off this adventure at the Double Down Saloon, which is just around the corner from Katz’s Deli on Avenue A at Houston Street. This punk-rock dive bar started off in Vegas, and they’re keeping it hardcore with this badass Black Flag mural on the back patio.
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It just so happens to be Happy Hour until 8 pm, which means you can pound pints of craft beer for just five bucks, bro! We’re starting off with a Founders All Day IPA, which has a nice hoppy taste, but is relatively light at 42 IBU and just 4.7%. What’s more, this beer is only 140 calories, so I can drink, like, 13 of these…
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But instead, we’re switching to Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale. This American IPA is stronger (7%), hoppier (60 IBUs) and more citrusy than its predecessor…which means I *might* only have 3 more.

The Soviet-themed bar that stands with Ukraine…

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Now, the East Village is also known as Little Ukraine (I’ve heard the pierogis at Veselka are so legit!) so it’s not surprising to find a Soviet-themed joint called KGB Bar on East 4th Street, just off of 2nd Ave. As their website makes clear, though, they definitely stand with Ukraine!
The music selection was an interesting mix of punk, goth, and Brian Eno-style ambient music. In Soviet Russia, synthesizer plays you???
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Now, I’ve heard that before the war, you could find a lotta Russian and Ukrainian beers here…but I’m guessing the sanctions against Russia probably put a stop to that. The closest I could find was a Radeberger Pilsner from Germany, dating back to 1872. It’s got a bit of a bite to it, similar to Pilsner Urquell, but not quite as bitter.
(Oh, and they actually have Pilsner Urquell here, too.)

Cozy craft beers at Cooper’s

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Stumbled out of the KGB Bar to find this funky little joint with “Craft” in its name, so you KNOW we had to check it out… This is Cooper’s Craft & Cocktails.
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Starting off with a Mondo Generator from Wild East — Dude, Mondo Generator is my second-favourite Nick Oliveri band, bro! This West Coast IPA is about as bitter as the dude who wrote a song called “Kyuss Dies,” with a nice mix of Citra, Columbus and Simcoe hops. A few of these, and you’ll be loading up your war machine, bro!!!
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Up next, we’re gonna hitch a ride to Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach with this Eccentrics Welcome from Rockaway Brewing Company. This sour beer is super tropical with apricot and passion fruit, coming in at a crushable 4.8%. I think I’ve only had apricot and passion fruit in liquid form, but the citrusy flavours are definitely on point. The techno pop they were playing at this place? Not so much…

If the Bovine was a sports bar, this is the bar it would be…

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When you think sports bar, you usually think some massive place with big screen TVs, chicken wings, waitresses in referee stripes, etc, etc. But Standings, this funky little joint on East 7th, ain’t like that. This place fits maybe 40 people, and the walls are covered in sports cards, pennants, posters and other memorabilia. The night I went, there was only a handful of people in the place, and everybody seemed to be cheering for the Red Sox against the Yankees. Whaaaa???
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Oh, and they also serve a buncha craft beers, like this Prima Pils from Victory Brewing. A nice, crispy German-style pilsner — this ain’t no Bud Light, bro!!!!
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This Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter does a pretty good impression of a Guinness. Nice, chocolatey richness, but not too strong or too heavy. Maybe a little heavier on the cocoa than an Irish breakfast smoothie. Not bad for a nightcap, though…

And we’re ending the night at an OG Irish pub…

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If there’s one place to bring this evening to a fitting conclusion, it’s McSorely’s Old Ale House, an OG NYC Irish pub that’s been open since 1854.

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They only have two beers on tap — dark ale or light ale. And when you ask for a pint, they give you these two small glasses, which’ll set you back 7 bucks. Is this the best beer I’ve ever had? Not by any stretch. (I’d say it’s just a little bit better than Molson Canadian…) But the historic aspect of this place makes it a must-see when in NYC!
I mean, what’s the oldest bar in Toronto? The Senator? Imperial Pub? I guess the Wheat Sheaf is about the same age, but it doesn’t have quite as much character as McSorely’s. Slainte!!!
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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: NYC DINER DUEL: Westway Diner vs. Tick Tock Diner | Burgers, Bacon & Beer

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