505 E. 6th St.
Embellishments—like the zebra’s head above the bar sporting a crisp general’s chapeau—proves this East Village bunker for gays is more about fantasy than Soviet function. Troops from Chelsea and Brooklyn march here for dancing and socializing in a narrow space between a long, low bench and the bar. Propaganda-chic banners and murals—the very picture of youthful militancy—aptly labor under the soft spell of several disco balls. When the place is hot, the crush of bodies transforms every surface into a dance floor and go-go boys hang onto the stripper pole for dear life. The true test of Eastern Bloc’s mettle is its slow nights, when the spectral warmth of the commie décor can be absorbed while nursing a bottle of Rolling Rock or watching Soul Train to a D.J.’s soundtrack—it’s just like your living room, only cruise-y.