4pm-9pm; $5 well and wine, $4 beer
4, 5, 6, 7, S at Grand Central-42nd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard
Walk onto the second floor of a nondescript office building in Midtown East and find yourself in a piano lounge with a forties-era vibe. Though Britney and Missy Elliot are on musical rotation at the bar, Uncle Charlie's forte is show tunes. With cabaret nights on Mondays and karaoke nights Tuesdays, the after-work finance crowd—who once may have nursed a Broadway ambition or two—has a chance to loosen their ties. Glide past the main room's wooden bar and black leather banquettes to stumble upon what looks like a performer's living room. There, a grand piano, Broadway novices, and a pack of 30 live theater enthusiasts make for an open mike worthy of Liza herself. Every night after 6pm on weekends and 8pm on weekdays, anyone from a drunken date to a former star can look through the 30,000 lyrics in the song book and let out his inner diva. Amateurs also welcome: interjections ("I love this"), foot-stomping, and supportive clapping are par for the course. Evoking the Casablanca era, waiters and bartenders are outfitted in classy casual (jeans, black-collared shirts, red ties) and drinks are served by a buff bartender named Kent (or as the waiter likes to call him, Kendra). Continue walking past a makeshift coat rack/kitchen/storage area to get to the backdoor patio (open till 11pm), where about twenty people smoke and sip everything from Coors to Cosmos.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.