F at Second Ave.
A Lower East Side institution for more than a decade, Max Fish was serving cheap drinks back when Ludlow Street was nothing but dry goods stores and drug dealers. Now it's all overpriced boutiques and frat boys, but Max remains, though the local/hipster clientele has been augmented by British tourists and PR girls. The big, high-ceilinged room has pinball in the front, a pool table in the back, booths at both ends and a creative, ever-changing paint job pulling it all together. Many complain about how bright the bar is, but the light level allows you to appreciate this month's art show and offers a fighting chance against beer goggles—extremely useful in such a notorious pickup joint.Extra
Play spot-the-indie-rocker! Members of Mogwai, Pavement, the Propellerheads and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, among others, have been known to imbibe here.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.