Friday, April 2, 2010

Why is this East Village resident attempting to visit all 193 (or so!) LES bars this year?

EV Grieve reader Alex Oliver has set out on an ambitious adventure: to visit the majority of bars (currently 193, but the number fluctuates) of bars in the East Village/Lower East Side by the end of this year.

He'll make brief notes on each bar while onsite. He calls it the Downtown NYC Bar Project (and there's a Web site), and he plans to continue until his OCD goes into remission or his liver explodes...or until he hits them all.

I asked Alex a few questions about this project. Such as:


"First, I'd become pretty comfortable in my regular places. And even with a dozen of those, I'd spend my usual after-work drink time at one of those dozen places, rather than expanding my territory. With such a wealth of bars, I guess I needed some inspiration to try new ones.

Second, I work in online media, and I'm fascinated and/or obsessed with local, mobile, location-based content. I wanted to experiment with the technology to report on events or places without having to do it at a later time, on a computer. I built the blog of places initially, and mapped them all, and now am visiting each to add content to that list of places but doing it using an iPhone and a WordPress app; none of the reporting happens unless it's in the field.

Third, in a past life I wrote similar capsule reviews for the Time Out New Orleans travel guide, and wrote critical reviews (mostly music) for a monthly magazine there and for regional alternative weeklies. It always bothered me that the reviews were after the fact, and invariably you'd use other external input -- friend's opinions, other critic's reviews, press releases, etc. -- to inform what you were writing. This is an experiment in complete immediacy, with no influence other than my own observations at that time. They are not comprehensive reviews, by any means, but they are also exactly what I'm witnessing at the time of my visit."

And the goal of all this?

"Apart from proving out the above goals, I guess to provide a resource -- yet another resource -- for people looking to enjoy some of the better bars in our neighborhood, and hopefully appreciate them as community gathering places rather than places to get drunk. I think we have a great tradition of 'locals,' or neighborhood pubs here, despite the places that cater to the B&Ts, and I hope that by accurately describing the atmosphere of each people get a sense of which ones to frequent and feel welcome at."

He sets the ground rules on his site... As of Wednesday, he had been to 35 different bars since March 11... and only 3.9 bars per week to visit to reach his goal!

1 comment:

blueglass said...
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