Showing posts with label Port 41. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Port 41. Show all posts

Saturday, January 2, 2010

At Port 41: Putting "the salty in 'salt of the earth'

Over at the Times, Cara Buckley does a round up of things to do around Port Authority, including a trip to EV Grieve favorite Port 41. A few of her observations:

"[A] bona fide dive bar with a life-size hippopotamus head — missing one eye and sporting a hard hat — that adorns one wall. Other perks: the bartenders wear bikinis, sometimes accessorized with fishnet stockings, and the regulars — working stiffs, construction crews and, one recent afternoon, a guy passed out by the pool table in the back room — put the salty in "salt of the earth.".


For those women who like to disappear to the bathroom in pairs, the restroom is one stall with two toilets, side by side, separated by nothing.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Drinking near the Port Authority: All is well at Port 41 and the Holland, but here comes Heartland Brewery

Friday, January 1, 2010

PETA gets involved in falling moose/caribou head circus

More developments in the story of the moose head (which was actually a caribou) that fell on a diner at LES hotspot White Slab Palace. PETA has issued a statement!

PETA sent a letter to Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, urging her to encourage members who still have animal heads mounted on the walls of their establishments to take them down and send them to PETA. PETA plans to offer fun, puffy faux animal heads in return. The letter comes on the heels of reports that a 150-pound moose head at the White Slab Palace restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side came crashing down onto a diner, leaving her with a concussion. The woman is suing the restaurant for damages.

"Perhaps it was bad karma--the departed moose's way of taking revenge on restaurant owners who are disrespectful enough to display their remains," writes PETA cofounder and President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "For the new year, we want to help restaurants ditch dead decor and go friendly faux."

In the letter, PETA points out that a growing number of Americans oppose the cruel blood sport of hunting and are repulsed by the idea of using a dead animal's head as decor. PETA has offered to provide a free faux head for every real head that the association sends to the group. Options range from a teeth-baring T-rex to an inflatable, easy-to-clean moose head to an attractive handcrafted faux deer head.

Hmm, and some of my favorite bars have dead animals on the wall: Joe's and Port 41... Will Port 41 replace its hippo head with something plastic....?

Meanwhile, what this saga needs is a theme song...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Drinking near the Port Authority: All is well at Port 41 and the Holland, but here comes Heartland Brewery

You may have seen the signs (warnings?) that Heartland Brewery is opening an outpost at Port Authority. No need for anymore bland around here.

Anyway, noticed that signage on my way over to Port 41, on 41st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, the other afternoon.

(Photo of the bartenders via Midtown Lunch)

Things here remain the same... No, wait. Those sticky red booths have been replaced by new tables and chairs...Or maybe I just didn't notice last time...

In any event, always a jumpy little crowd during the day, from glum commuters to the blitzed office types who never returned from lunch to the construction workers taking advantage of the bucket-of-beer-special -- by themselves. Always the chance for a black eye, of course. Like that one guy. Like maybe don't engage that guy who keeps yelling "YOU ARE THE SHIT" in a conversation. You know, no matter what you say, the response is "YOU ARE THE SHIT."

Oh, and remember to call Prince -- because, as the sign in the men's room reads, this is real...

The folks behind Port 41 also own Dave's, on Ninth Avenue almost at 42nd Street... I'll save the discussion about grand ol' Dave's for another day...

Down the avenue, things also remain the same at the Holland... I worried that the overhaul that shuttered the place for three agonizingly long months (November 2008-February 2009) would strip the place of its character...Not the case...

It took a few months, but the Holland finally has that lived-in feel to it again...It helps that the same crowd has seemingly returned ... it's still the kind of place in which you can see your future.

At 508 Ninth Ave., just past 39th Street, the Door, a rather sketchy hookah joint, has closed.... (and what was this before?)

Maybe I never went here. I hope not.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving thanks one week early: Port 41 edition

Thank God that dingy little corners of New York City still exist that house the likes of Port 41.

To hear some people describe Port 41, you'd think they had been hanging out upstairs with Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper at This Is It in Blue Velvet. Hardly. C'mon, the place has a Web site and flat-screen TVs showing sports, mind you. But! Depending on what time of day (they open at 10 a.m.!) you hit Port 41, conveniently located underneath the Port Authority bus ramp on the north side of 41st Street near Ninth Avenue, you may sense a menacing undercurrent. Which I find comforting. Anyway, any place located 100 feet from Port Authority will attract a variety of interesting characters. Like the hustlers with some great "I-just-got-out-of-prison-can-you-loan-me-$50-I'll-pay-you-back-next-week" stories. Or the people who wander in and stay a suspiciously long time in the men's room.

So there are plenty of attractions here. The beer is mostly reasonable. And, like Rudy's, there are free hot dogs. Which I've never actually tried. Not to mention the bartenders wear bikinis. (Yes, yes -- a few other places in Manhattan have bikini-clad bartenders...)

Has the place has been spruced up a little bit? There are now three 42-inch flat-screen TVs strategically placed around the bar. And weren't there more pool tables in that huge back room? And has there always been a neon coat check sign? (Usually not in a bar-reviewing mode when I'm here.) That's OK. Despite the newish additions, Port 41 still looks on the, uh, rundown side. Which I also find comforting. I'm sticking to one of the booths, by the way. The stuffed hippopotamus is still mounted on the wall. And hey, where did that MP3 juke come from? Ohh! Van Halen! Slayer! Perfect! Now if I could only see.

I hesitated writing about Port 41, which took over the space that once housed Tobacco Road and Savoy Road. But I want to appreciate this place while it's around. In any event, given my most frequent visits, it's hardly a secret. The after-work crowd was split between construction workers and back-slapping chuckleheads in shirts and ties. (And several women in office attire.) Everyone got along just fine, too.

Oh, there's this. My failed attempt at capturing a little slice of the evening, and the people singing along to Van Halen's "Unchained."

[The bikini photos are via Dive In New York City. It was too dark for my shots. Of the bartender]

Reviews of Port 41 by the always entertaining yelpers at Yelp:

I think I have officially found the shadiest bar in New York.. Death Metal blaring, the waitress looked like a meth head, was wearing a bikini top.. Another girl in a bikini top sat there getting felt up by this disgusting guy.. And when I say being felt up, it was close to nudity.. All the while he kept saying "I am the devil, you are an angel, do you want to f*ck the devil" He kept saying this over and over again.. He eventually slammed a bottle of beer on the ground and thats when I left.. This was at 4 pm mind you..
The place was completely dark, it was so weird.. If you are looking for trouble, I think you can find it there.. Its directly across the street from Port Authority, I couldnt imagine this place after dark..

One star? Jesus! This sounds like a rare six-out-of-five-star review!

Here's a more reasonable three-star review:

Probably one of the crappiest dive bars left in Midtown. So crappy it was entertaining. Some homeless guy was passed out in the booth behind us. The bartender was wearing a bikini top, and the crowd was entirely men and some looked like they were on drugs. Drink prices were on the cheap side.

And FIVE stars:

As you read my review of Port 41, please imagine that I am speaking these words to you in a heavy German accent and it is 1925 and the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" is playing on the jukebox.

I realize that this request is as strange as it is impossible, but that is Port 41: strange and impossible. You see, Port 41 should not be. Port 41 is the giant hippo head hanging on the wall. It is missing an eye, and it wants you to stay for another round. Port 41 is the homeless kid, who says he is a marine. He has dirty finger nails,and says he has a Polynesian wife he married on the telephone whom he has never seen.

This doesn't even begin to explain Port 41. Go there and you might find dullness, you might find horror, or you might find magic. Anything is possible.