My Top 10 Bars/Clubs In NYC That Are Lost To The Ages

The First Essential Scary Truth

John McDonough’s guest blog had a lot of you talking about various bars/clubs now lost to the New York ages. So, as promised, here are my 10 most missed New York hangout/drinking venues.

West 4th Street Saloon (W 4th and Jones) – Great staff, great beer, great burger, a great place to do the hang in a neighborhood dominated by cafes, gay bars and tourist traps. The owner closed the place in 1994 because he didn’t want to pay the ‘massive’ rent of $7,000 a month for the spot. Now, it seems like a steal.

Wilson‘s (23 and 9th) – The greatest bucket of blood I have ever had the misfortune to come across. It was robbed every Monday night by the same guy and hosted at least 3 riots. The owner sold it because he just couldn’t deal with the all the characters and weirdness anymore. The current iteration is called the West Side Tavern.

The Dugout (3rd and 13th) – $1.50 pitchers of beer, the CPA Club meetings every Thursday and all those old Baseball pictures on the walls. Not to mention the ancient drunks who drank on both shifts mumbling/slurring their stories. It closed in the early 1990’s. I wonder where all the ghosts went.

The Village Idiot (1st and 10th) – $1.00 cans of Meisterbrau, shots of whatever was in the bottles for another buck and Tommy McCann, the owner throwing down pints of Guinness in 3 seconds. I had to punch my way out of here once, watched McCann, so fucking hammered he could barely speak, fall into a trench in the middle of 1st Avenue a couple of times while chasing some non-existent non paying customer and never used the bathrooms once. Come to think of it no one did. They were too filthy and dangerous. That’s the reason the Health Department closed the place down in 1993.

Chelsea Commons (24th and 10th) – Although the bar re-opened at 37th and 10th, it misses the warmth of the original. One of the great first date bars in New York. Closed in 2004.

International (the original) (1st and 7th) – Every significant junkie, punk rocker and neighborhood weirdo drank in this joint before the owner died in 2005. Although it re-opened in 2007 after a protracted legal battle between the heirs, the scrubbed up, bar on the other wall re-model just isn’t the same. If you stand out on 1st Ave with the right sort of eyes, you can see Johnny Thunders, Joey Ramone, Lester Bangs and Jimmy the Fiend all shaking their heads in disbelief.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (7th and Ave. A) – Great name, great shitty beer, and the world’s worst Acid sold outside. In 1997, I decided to blow all the bad shit out of my brain and copped from Puerto Rican I knew was out to burn me. What did I get? A tab of mostly Strychnine. King Tut’s closed in the late 1990’s/early ‘00’s. Now it’s a shitty bar/club for the tragically hip called Niagara.

The Old Old Knitting Factory (Mott and Houston) –The world’s greatest progressive Happy Hour. Beer and Well Drinks started at $1 at 4 and the price went up every half an hour until 7. The food was free. Not to mention all the shows for $6-8 and a free beer upstairs. Kristin Hersh hit on me before her first New York solo show in the late winter of 1990. Moved to TriBeca and now resides in Williamsburg.

Mary Anne’s (9th and 6th Ave) – Ostensibly a bar/restaurant before 4am, Mary Anne’s had the best after hours in the city for over 30 years; you just had to know about it. On any given night, Bob Dylan, Jim Dine, neighborhood schlubs and/or Lou Reed could be found in the place at 6am. Closed in the early ‘00’s.

Googie’s (Sullivan and W. 3rd Street) – My favorite bar from my NYU days. It was right across from Samurai Sushi, long the best kept secret in New York Sushi. John Ott and I would stuff ourselves on Tuna and California rolls, get shitty on sake and then crawl across Sullivan Street for pitchers of beer and Monday Night Football. Samurai closed in the mid 1990’s and Googie’s shortly thereafter. Some dark tourist trap with NYU Philosophy Major pretensions inhabits the space now.

(Quick note, the picture is of one of my all time favorite bars in NYC.  The Big Bar on 7th between 1st and 2nd.  It’s still there.  Go in and tell Walter and Ray I sent you in.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Every Friday, get 2 for 1 movie tickets when you use your Visa Signature card.

Recent Comments