Showing posts with label bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bars. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

You will be able to sit at a bar again on Monday; food-with-drinks rule may be suspended

Gov. Cuomo announced today that, starting on Monday, seating at bars will be allowed in New York City — for the first time in nearly 14 months.

In addition, the midnight food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

Per a Cuomo press release: "Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world."

Per Eater:
The move follows months of pushback from restaurant and bar owners across the city, who have been calling on elected officials to lift the state's midnight curfew. Industry trade groups and local politicians have also spoken out against the curfew, calling it an unfair, "arbitrary" restriction that hampers the ability of restaurateurs to bring in revenue due to earlier cutoff times.
Meanwhile, New York lawmakers are prepping to suspend the food-with-drink rule at bars as soon as this week, per The New York Times. Cuomo enacted the directive for "substantive" meals at bars last July as a way to keep patrons seated at tables.

Some bars, already under a financial strain and working with skeleton crews, needed to create a menu (Hello bags of Funyuns!) and whip up a kitchen or be forced to close — even if they never served food before the COVID-19 PAUSE. 

Last summer, Abby Ehmann, the owner of Lucky at 168 Avenue B, launched a petition asking Cuomo to roll back his mandate. Several days later, the SLA suspended her license and issued a fine after agents saw that she was not serving food with drinks.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Now hear this: About the new book of East Village bar quotes from Billy the Artist

[Image via @Instagram]

Billy the Artist is never without his sketchpad, which aided him with his latest project — a book of illustrations with snippets of conversation titled "Things You Don't Hear Twice: Quotes From the East Village."

The copies just arrived ahead of a signing this Saturday at one of his favorite neighborhood haunts — International Bar on First Avenue.

In a recent exchange, he shared a little about the book and his thoughts on the East Village ...

I’ve lived in the East Village for 30 years and have always loved the vibe and people here ... I almost always have my sketchpad on me and would draw in my various East Village bars and, of course, hear the craziest quotes from my friends or strangers. I would write down the quotes in the back of my sketchpad and that’s how this book became a reality.

Living and working in my studio in the East Village I need to get out and be with people — be it in the afternoon or night. As I’ve gotten older, I tend to like the daytime in a bar because it [attracts] more regulars.

This book has been in the making for a long time, and both the quotes and illustrations I hope remind everyone how great the East Village was and still is.

[Image via @BillytheArtistNYC]

Billy the Artist will be signing copies of his book this Saturday (Feb. 1) from 2-6 p.m. at International Bar, 102 First Ave. between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

Friday, September 8, 2017

CB3 committee exploring link between bar density and public health

[EVG file photo #goodtimes]

On Tuesday night, CB3's Transportation, Public Safety & Environment Committee meeting is addressing a topic of possible interest: the impact of bar density on public health.

This meeting notice via the EVG inbox explains...

At its September 2017 meeting, Community Board 3’s Transportation, Public Safety & Environment Committee will be investigating the link between alcohol outlet density (the number of alcohol serving establishments within a limited geographic area) and adverse effects on local public health and public safety.

The Committee’s primary focus will be on if existing data establishes such a link and, in the event such a link exists, if CB3 should take any future actions based upon the data (potentially with the State Liquor Authority, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and/or New York City’s incoming “night Mayor”).

To guide us through the discussion, the committee will hear presentations from Robert Pezzolesi, MPH, the Founding Director of the New York Alcohol Policy Alliance, and Professor Sigmund Shipp, Director of Hunter College’s undergraduate urban student program, along with two Hunter graduate students who recently authored a report on the link between alcohol outlet density and public health/public safety in an area of the Lower East Side that has a particularly high concentration of alcohol serving establishments.

In connection with the presentations, the Committee is interested in hearing from community members’ and organizations’ about their perceptions of any link (or lack thereof) between the number of alcohol serving establishments in your neighborhoods and declining or improving local health and safety conditions. Please join us.

While CB3 is seeking public input, keep in mind, per the notice: "The Committee will not be hearing complaints regarding individual businesses."

The meeting is Tuesday evening at 6:45, Downtown Art, 1st Floor Theater, 70 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Your chance to own part of an East Village bar

You've probably noticed these flyers around the past few days ... asking if you'd like to INVEST IN AN EAST VILLAGE BAR. (I saw the flyers on Third Avenue, Second Avenue and Avenue A...)

The link goes to an IndieGoGo page with details on the crowdfunding campaign.

Be an Influencer
You walk in to the bar, point to your photo on the owners wall, and treat your friends to rounds of drinks. Participate in shaping what the bar serves, the events it plans, the specials it offers. You help make the bar you want to hang out in.

Have Fun
The success of every bar is in the service (which already is stellar) and the patrons, who make the experience that much more enjoyable for each other. You aren't responsible for the management of the place, your job is to show up, be friendly, and have fun.

Keep the East Village Great
We're talking about an established pub in the heart of the East Village, just off Avenue A, that can become the living room for you and your friends. Contribute today, and take advantage of the perks forever. Help keep the East Village locally owned, and avoid the 'Bleeckerization' of this great neighborhood.

If adequate funding levels are not achieved, you will be refunded 100% of your investment, guaranteed.

Depending on your contribution (starting at $50), you'll have your framed photo on the owner's wall and receive various drink specials and a bar T-shirt. For $100, you get to represent the bar before Community Board 3. (Kidding!)

The person behind the campaign is looking to raise $200,000. At last look, they were at $1,800.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

East Village Tavern closes for good after tomorrow

[Image via Google Street View]

Management of the corner bar on 10th Street and Avenue C posted the following on the East Village Tavern Facebook page:

The bar opened in May 2008.

Updated 7:45 p.m.

Public records show that Steve Croman's 9300 Realty is the landlord of the building at 158 Avenue C. (H/t to the commenter who mentioned this.)

H/T Shawn Chittle

Friday, August 5, 2016

After 29 years, The Edge is closing on 3rd Street

[Image via Facebook]

The Edge celebrated its 29th year in business Wednesday night by telling patrons that the bar was closing for good at the end of the month.

The owners confirmed that the bar, at 95 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue, is closing.

We heard rumors earlier in the week about some landlord issues.

"We'll just say [the landlord] found an opportunity to sue us for a bunch of money that we can't pay," a bar rep told us via text. "It's really disappointing. The bar has been around 29 years as of [Wednesday]. We just celebrated with a Back to the 80s party. A lot of sad people that the bar will no longer be around. It's been a 'living room' for so many people for so many years."

There are no plans at the moment to find a new location.

Public records show that the landlord is Thermald Realty Associates.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Are these the 6 best East Village bars?

[Photo of Josie's via Facebook]

In recent weeks New York Magazine and Grub Street have been publishing a series of best-of listicles.

Yesterday afternoon, they published "the East Village’s most excellent drinking options" from 1 to 6:

1) The Wayland, 700 E. Ninth St. at Avenue C.

2) Lois, 98 Avenue C between Seventh Street and Sixth Street

3) Standings, 43 E. Seventh St. near Second Ave.

4) Jimmy's No. 43, 43 E. Seventh St. near Second Ave.

5) Josie's, 520 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B

6) Mother of Pearl, 95 Avenue A at Sixth Street

Grub Street notes that "the neighborhood’s zip code is home to 585 active liquor licenses," which means there will be plenty of room for debate about this list.

Friday, June 6, 2014

CB3 study: More restaurants, higher rents and less retail diversity

[Random EVG photo]

The Villager this week summarizes the results of an East Village retail diversity study that Columbia University students recently presented to CB3's Economic Development Committee.

Among the not-really-shocking bullet points for the CB3 area (the East Village, the Lower East Side and part of Chinatown):

• Struggle to retain affordable housing stock
— 42% increase in average rent between 2000 and 2012
• Struggle to retain local businesses
• Rapid displacement of family owned businesses
— Ever growing bar and restaurant industry
— Increasing rents
• Increase in liquor-licensed establishments
— Decreased quality of life
— Nighttime noise complaints
— Inactive daytime storefronts
— Little attraction to residents
— Lack of local retail services
— Increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic congestion

From the Villager article:

More startling perhaps was what the data showed about full-service restaurants and watering holes. In 2004, there were 248 food-services and drinking places in Alphabet City. By 2012, that number had ballooned to 514, significantly outpacing any other kind of business and increasing these businesses’ area "market share" to 32 percent.

Yet, Alphabet City’s number of bars has actually fluctuated, from 24 in 2004, up to a high of 80 in 2008, and back down to 59 in 2012. Meanwhile, full-service restaurants have simply exploded, from 175 in 2004 to 380 in 2012.

The study also found a big increase in median household income — by an average of nearly 45 percent, from just under $37,000 in 2000 to $62,000 in 2012. (In some census tracts in the study area, the median household income jumped 100 percent to $144,821, as The Villager noted.)

Back to the article:

The data also added some weight to claims that city planners under former Mayor Bloomberg targeted the East Village as a "destination neighborhood" for tourists. This is a view with which Stacey Sutton — a Columbia urban planning professor and mentor to the students who did the report — somewhat agrees. A 2012 report prepared for CB3 by Mary de Stefano, the board’s former planning fellow, reached a similar conclusion about the former mayor's intentions.

The area’s food-services and drinking places drew in a hefty $200 million in 2012, according to the report. These were also far and away the area’s chief employers among types of businesses studied, with more than 6,100 workers, up from more than 5,200 in 2006.

The report included some recommendations, including:

• Maintain existing but limit future restaurant, bar, and chain store openings
— Develop initiatives to inform and persuade building owners to look for and keep small business tenants
Materials to support these initiatives:
1) An updated land use inventory
2) A list of retail needs other than restaurants and bars
Require special permits or special zoning regulations to make it difficult for these retail types to open in the area

The meeting was May 7. As The Villager article noted, "Despite the issue’s purported urgency, however, turnout was low at the meeting, which drew few local community members."

We don't recall hearing anything about it … outside the usual monthly email listing all the committee meetings, a number which can be as high as 15.

Find a PDF of the study here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Non-shockers: More bars in 10003 Zip Code than anywhere else in NYC

From the Post today, in a piece titled Booze 'n the hood: E. Village tops tipsy ZIP-code liquor list:

A Post analysis of state liquor licenses by ZIP code has zeroed in on the booziest blocks, with the East Village's 10003 rising to the top of the suds-soaked list.

There were 474 bars, restaurants and corner stores licensed to sell hooch in the hood, beating out Times Square and Hell's Kitchen.

Those who live in the city's cocktail capital have increasingly had enough of the day-to-night debauchery.

"It's like a red-light district," said Andrew Coamey, 44, a CFO who lives in the East Village. "It's honking cabs all night. It's like a bad, disturbing dream."

Jeremy makes a good point in the comments... not really fair to call 10003 "the East Village."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

EV resident looking to do something constructive about nightlife horror show

In response to our post on the Squadron Bill, an East Village resident recently left the following comment:

Three new bars in three blocks on Second Ave between 10th and 12th Streets in the past year. They get drunk/clog the streets/scream/yell/throw litter all over the place. I have NEVER seen anything like this. The entire character of the neighorhood is completely changed. Once a place known for good restaurants and "quaint" shops — it's now THE place to come and get drunk and act up. How does the right of a few bar owners trump the rights of all the rest of us to live in peace in a very lively but nice neighborhood? How did this happen and what can we do about this. The new law will do nothing to help unless we all work together. Help! — contact me directly at — and let's see if we can do something constructive about it.

I followed up with the reader and asked for her permission to make her comment a separate post. ... An East Village resident since the late 1960s, the reader is looking to take action with some like-minded people who are also tired of what has become of the nightlife scene.

[Image via]

Friday, August 20, 2010

A report on last night's CB3/SLA nightlife confab

I was unable to attend last night's special meeting about CB3's liquor-license future. The goal/point:

We will review and evaluate changes to Community Board 3's existing policies and procedures guiding the Board's approvals/denials of all types of liquor licenses for establishments within the CB 3 district. All previous "resolution areas" will be reviewed.

But! Several readers were ... here's one East Village resident assessment:

I didn't find it very productive. A lot of the usuals were there ready to air their grievances about the decline of retail and oversaturation of licenses. [CB3 Chair Dominic] Pisciotta said he was looking for more input on policy, such as seeking a concrete definition of "public benefit" when considering the 500' rule. Something that subjective? Good luck.

[Board member Dave] McWater put up a few good ideas about streamlining the process of the monthly meeting, such as adopting standardized stipulations. Apparently CB4 does this. Special guest Paul Seres, a LES resident who co-chairs the CB4's liquor board was met with scattered boos when he announced he was also the president of the NY Nightlife Association. I think he had some good ideas though, and it was a shame to show him disrespect when he was just offering ideas to help.

[CB3 Manager Susan] Stetzer seemed slightly happier than usual, though was quick to mention on several occasions that the office was already overworked and few of the residents' ideas from last night would be implemented, at least with any immediacy.

In the end, there was the usual "call 311 to report problems" followed by "the police won't come when you call 311" routine. It's clear that real change comes at a higher legislative level. With one board member saying we should be voting for politicians who are sensitive to the bar issues, I wonder if anyone there really felt they possess the power to make a difference.

Jill was there too. Where I borrowed the image. BoweryBoogie has coverage here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reminders: Your chance to say that 38,000 bars are enough for one neighborhood!

Tonight! As reported earlier..

Community Board 3 is hosting a Policy Meeting of the SLA & DCA Licensing Committee

Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. -- University Settlement at Houston Street Center -- 273 Bowery (at Houston St)

We will review and evaluate changes to Community Board 3's existing policies and procedures guiding the Board's approvals/denials of all types of liquor licenses for establishments within the CB 3 district. All previous "resolution areas" will be reviewed.

We want to hear from YOU!

Please fill out a "Request to Speak" form by 7 p.m. Speakers will be limited to 3 minutes.

· What are your plans/visions for the area?
· What are your concerns, problems?
· What do you want to retain in our neighborhood?

I'd go, but I'll be at Happy Hour. Woo!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Your opportunity to help shape CB3's liquor license future

From the EV Grieve inbox...

Community Board 3 is hosting a Policy Meeting of the SLA & DCA Licensing Committee

Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. -- University Settlement at Houston Street Center -- 273 Bowery (at Houston St)

We will review and evaluate changes to Community Board 3's existing policies and procedures guiding the Board's approvals/denials of all types of liquor licenses for establishments within the CB 3 district. All previous "resolution areas" will be reviewed.

We want to hear from YOU!

Please fill out a "Request to Speak" form by 7 p.m. Speakers will be limited to 3 minutes.

· What are your plans/visions for the area?
· What are your concerns, problems?
· What do you want to retain in our neighborhood?

Here's the current policy.

Some pretty big picture questions up there...What do you want to retain in our neighborhood? We could be there all night.

This comment from Daria yesterday sums up what a lot of people have been saying here in recent years:

I used to look forward to new restaurants, excited like, to see what new places we'd have to eat at. now i feel like, "let's see what new places they are building for THEM."

that pretty much sums it up. stuff that used to open around here used to excite me because I felt like they were for those of us that live here. And now I feel like they are for those who don't.

Meanwhile, the current system seems arbitrary and dysfunctional for granting licenses... Like on Avenue B, Sigmund Pretzel Shop, which closes at 8 p.m., was denied a license to sell beer and wine... Meanwhile, a few doors down, Billy Hurricane's gets the OK for a two-level bar featuring a signature drink that will be limited to two per person. (Yes, I realize that this was a transfer from Midway/Rehab... and not a new license... still)

Friday, August 6, 2010

First casualty in the FiDi bikini bar wars

Back in February, we inexplicably wrote a post about the revamped Hook & Ladder II in the Financial District...

...featuring the "Hook and Ladder II bikini bartenders," one of whom in the ad looked a lot like Mariah Carey in a firefighter's uniform ...

Anyway! I'm not sure when this happened, but the Hook and Ladder II is now closed. And their phone has been "temporarily disconnected." Let's just say that the place hasn't been open the last three weeks.

They were maybe foolish to take on the nearby Nassau Bar, where the bartenders look like extras from a Russ Meyer's movie....

[Not actual Nassau Street bartenders!]

Anyway, for some reason, I will now share this story.


Shortly after HALII's grand reopening, I walked in. To see just how cheesy it would be. Never been in the place before. I walked up the stairs, and spotted an empty bar with some dude in front of the taps. A terrible mistake had been made. I quickly turned around to leave.

Wait! he said.

I must have looked like some sadass middle management type in need of an after-work jolly. Maybe I am! He called out a woman's name.

Mary? Stephanie? Linda? Something fairly common, and not like a bikini bar stage name. Cinnamon. Diamond. Isis. Illusion.

Let's call her Mary. Mary peeks around the corner of the back room. The fellow makes a motion for her to come behind the bar. In a very bashful manner, she gingerly walked her way to the bar, zipping up a baggy hoodie to cover her bikini. The scene struck me like a sister whose older brother was making her do something she really didn't want to do, like tend bar in a bikini.

This was her first day on the job. No kidding? She was nice. She smiled. She had braces. She was probably 24. And she had never tended bar before. The fellow explained that they were out of ice, so any mixed drinks would have to be served warm. I ordered a bottle of beer. I watched as he explained the finer points of bartending, such as how to make a gin and tonic.

A few entertaining minutes later, we all got to talking. The fellow and Mary were old friends. We discussed the news of the day. Sports. Movies. Her favorite all-time movie was "The Dark Knight."

So it went. About 15 minutes later, I left. I wished them all the best. They said to be sure to come back and bring all my friends. I promised that I would, though I don't really have any friends who would ever come here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
In the Financial District, Mariah Carey helps usher in the start of the bikini bar war

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Senator's bill could shutter problem bars — eventually

Also in The Villager this week... reporter Michael Mandelkern looks at a new bill by Sen. Daniel Squadron. Per the article:

The state Senate passed a bill on June 24 that sets guidelines for the State Liquor Authority to revoke the licenses of routinely raucous bars and clubs.

If Governor David Paterson signs the bill — co-sponsored by state Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Robin Schimminger — into law, the S.L.A. could shut down nightspots if police are called at least six times within two months for excessive noise and disorderly conduct.

However! There's a however...

Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3 . . . was doubtful that many places would have enough bad incidents to fall within the new S.L.A. standard.

"There are some bars [in the Lower East Side] that have constant problems, but I think it would be extremely unusual [to have six incidents in 60 days]," she said. “There are very few bars that would reach this level."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quote of the day: "Beer pong is not the Lower East Side"

From a DNAinfo article by Patrick Hedlund on the proliferation of bars in areas other than Avenue A:

Just south of Avenue A, Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side counts 19 bars/restaurants on the three-block stretch between Houston and Delancey streets.

While many of these places have arrived without incident, a decidedly déclassé bar featuring drinking games doesn’t necessarily fit with everyone’s idea of a neighborhood pub.

A frat bar is not representative of this once-bohemian neighborhood,” said Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, a longtime East Villager who counts the proliferation of bars as one of the board’s most pressing issues.

Beer pong is not the Lower East Side.”

Previously on EV Grieve:
Of the 147 storefronts on Avenue A, 70 of them are bars, restaurants or vacant

Photo by EV Grieve

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Drink your hangover away at DTs and rock!

On the post here Monday titled, Whatever happened to simple bar names... and concepts?, several of you left some suggestions for other potential future bar names/concepts hereabouts to sit alongside the real new bars coming like the 13th Step and SRO:

-- Shit Faced (Curt Hoppe)

-- I'm opening up a bar called "Generation O" -- a themed bar with huge shopping bags plastered on the wall and stiletto heels hanging from the ceiling, where the patrons can only view the bar drinks and menu through their ipads, itouch, and iphone, and the orders must either be tweeted or texted to the bartenders and waitresses... (Esquared)

-- Tornado of Death (Glamma)

-- I was thinking of opening a Bowery bar called "the needle exchange". People can only come in if they're are wearing something from Mugatu's Derelicte collection. See you all there. Free condoms for all! (Vazco)

-- Maybe going with the suburbanization concept, a bar called Lawnboy. It's covered in plastic grass, comes with ride-on mower rides, sprinklers for running through, badminton. And the drink special? The Mulch. Kind of like a Mudslide, but with chunks of artisanal chocolate bark floating in it. (Jeremiah Moss)

-- I used to joke about opening a bar called Urban the idea doesn't seem so funny. (Goggla)

-- I must confess I am very close to opening a mini-chain of my own theme bars. The first one will be called "DTs" as an homage to delirium tremens. The second will have Indian tapas and beers. The servers will all wear dark sunglasses at all times. I'll have as many Indian liquors as possible and my mixologists are working on perfecting some exclusive drinks. Fogcutter, Blindsider, Carbide Cocktail, HK (for Helen Keller) are all in the running. I'm going to call it "Bhopal". This place will STEAM! Trust me. (Upstate Johnny G)

-- Wouldn't the ultimate ironic downtown bar name be something like "Douchebag's" and how long before that comes to pass. (Anonynmous)

Meanwhile, please don't blame me when, say, a place called The Needle Exchange shows up on the CB3/SLA docket this fall...

[Image via]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Welcome back?

As Eater noted, Cheap Shots had a grand reopening today on First Avenue since getting the Seize a few weeks back ... and, although there's no signage yet, the new (old) place is called Spanky and Darla's.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last night's CB3 recap: Residents 1, Bar Owners 0

Last Thursday, I wrote about the next CB3/SLA meeting... held last night.... For residents on the northern stretch of Avenue A who are tired of a neighborhood over-saturated with bars, there were reasons for for concern. On the original docket (I believe Forbidden City was a scratch):

-- El Camion (El Camion III Inc), 194 Ave A (trans/op) (The Raven)
-- Percy's (Steelbar 180 Inc), 210-212 Ave A (trans/op) (Al Diwan)
-- MBM Lounge Inc, 212 Ave A (trans/op) (Forbidden City)
-- Corp to be Formed, 503-505 E 12th St (trans/op)

Plus, the popular Westville at 11th Street is applying for a sidwalk cafe license...

Due to work commitments, I was unable to attend last night's meeting... The Lo-Down was there. As they report: "Westville Restaurant’s sidewalk cafe license was rejected on the grounds that Avenue A is already overburdened with bars and late night crowds."

Jill was there too. Here's what she had to say at Blah Blog Blah ...

Tonight's Community Board 3 SLA Committee meeting was possibly historic. The Upper Avenue A residents had such a strong turnout, and Dolores' pink signs made a dramatic impact when 24 people held them up to the astonishment of the room. Even the committee members were taking photos.


But signs are one thing, getting something done is another. And victory was the word of the evening. The northern part of Avenue A has been under siege by an incredible influx of bars, and tonight three more were on the agenda, plus a sidewalk cafe license. The end result, which is often a testament to stamina more than brains, was that nobody got their license approvals tonight, and one of the three bars withdrew their application in the face of so much opposition.

Jill goes on to discuss her conflict on this issue... She loves bars and restaurants and going out. But. Enough is enough.

"There has come a moment in the past few years where the tipping point was reached, and the number of bars has outnumbered everything else. Instead of the diverse place I've lived for so long, our little streets have become a mecca of nightlife, a Temple Bar or Bourbon Street zone that is on the verge of being truly unlivable. 19 bars within 500 feet simply have to be enough to choose from."

Thanks to Jill for attending and quickly writing this up...

More on this as the day continues...Here is Eater's coverage.... and perhaps more from The Lo-Down... and maybe Fork in the Road?

For more on the nightlife discussion....

Avenue A, 9:13 p.m., May 8 (read the 68 comments) .... "Another noisy bar" slated for Avenue A; actually, make that several noisy bars, perhaps

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!