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Jan 16, 2013 07:00 PM

Any suggestions for a LES dive bar tour, kind of in the same vain as RGR's "(in)famous Lower East Side food tour." ?

Heading to NYC for Allman Brothers, staying near Little Italy/Chinatown. Can anyone suggest a self-guided LES dive bar tour?
Perhaps another neighbourhood would be better suited? All suggestions welcome. Tnx.

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  1. Some initial ideas, not all of them dives: Lolita, 169 Bar, Clandestino, The Magician, Nurse Bettie, Donnybrook, 151, and Whiskey Ward.

    1. All in the LES or EV: B Side, Cake Shop, Crocodile Lounge, Double Down, Lit Lounge, Local 138, Manitoba's, Mercury Lounge, Motor City (my favorite), Niagra.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Joanie

        Mercury Lounge is a music venue. It's not really divey at all.

      2. I shouldnt be condoning this, and I hope this is just going to be a few of you, and there will be no santa hats, or anything else that even remotely resembles a theme. This area has had enough crawls, But;
        Max Fish,
        The Magician
        Happy Ending
        Welcome to the Johnsons
        If you want to include some north of houston places:
        Hi Fi
        B Side
        Heathers - might have closed
        Key Bar

        1. The dive bar is a threatened species, even in the LES/EV: we've lost many good ones recently. A lot of the suggestions posted so far are not really dives (Nurse Bettie is closer to a lounge; Donnybrook is a spanking new mock-Irish pub, 169 used to be a hellish dive, but is now more like a music venue with Hawaiian decor).

          Here are some dive-like dives, above and below Houston:

          Manitoba's (although it's much less a dive than it once was)
          Double Down Saloon
          Doc Holliday's
          Welcome to the Johnsons
          Lit Lounge (if you ignore the gallery space)
          Mercury Lounge
          Ace Bar
          Grassroots Tavern
          Basement bar under Three of Cups
          Iggy's and Parkside Lounge are borderline dives

          This isn't a list of the most enjoyable bars in the neighborhood, but I think it's closer to what you asked for.

          1. Up Stairs at 59 Canal is a split-personality dive. Part Chinatown old-timers, part younger non-Chinese locals (the disparate crowds coexist reasonably well). Short menu of bar grub: fries, dumplings, fish balls, nothing special. No beer on tap. Karaoke nightly, live bands once a month. TVs tuned to sports or, for some reason, the travel or food channels. Accommodating owner named Rena.

            1 Reply
            1. re: squid kun

              I forgot the classic Chinatown dive, Winnie's. Beware nightly karaoke (which can draw a lot of students). Great in the afternoon.