| Chez Music: Jules
Bistro features live jazz every night.
St. Mark's Bookshop
So what if it isn't technically on St. Marks Place? The East
Village's best bookstore still shares the name, even if theirs
takes an apostrophe. Rock-and-roll manifestos, postmodern
theses, D.I.Y. publishers, and sci-fi scribes share well-edited
shelf space; the attractive lit snobs in black frames recently
arrived from Kansas?serve to remind you you're not in Barnes
& Noble anymore.
(31 Third Ave., between St. Marks Pl.
and 9th St.; 212-260-7853; stmarksbookshop.com)
Around the corner at Kim's, the staff is even surlier: They
make no excuses for a pompous classification system that organizes
rental flicks by auteur. But as far as we're concerned,
knowledge of every Dogme realist, gonzo pornographer, and
New Wave sycophant to ever wield a camera gives these dudes
the inalienable right to ridicule us. They also carry a decent
collection of indie recordseven if true downtown music
geeks call East 4th Street's Other
(6 St. Marks Pl., between Second and
Third Aves.; 212-598-9985; kimsvideo.com)
Now that you've grazed on enough intellectual fodder to fight
your way through an army of grad students, it's time to drop
some esoteric references at this dark, subterranean cafe.
They still run a $5.50 breakfast deal (two eggs, homefries,
toast, plus OJ and a capuccino; served until 4pm) that'll
cure the meanest hangover, even if the menu no longer features
the classic potato-pancake-and-a-bottle-of-beer special. Nothing
screamed "I'm a drunken, slumming hipster" quite
(41 St. Marks Pl., near Second Ave.;
The Left Bank is a lot like the East Village: Just because
the cafes are no longer influential doesn't mean they've been
abandoned. At this slightly delapidated bistro, you can bash
Bush, drink Beaujolais, listen to live jazz, and pat your
head while making a power fistall at the same time. Different
bands perform every night of the week, but Sundays are especially
jumping when the Choro Ensemble bang out the vintage Brazilian
ragtime that predates bossa nova and samba.
(65 St. Marks Pl., between First and
Second Aves.; 212-477-5560; julesbistro.com)
Or you can head east towards Tomkins Square Park to this funky
Moroccan cafe that's popular with the locals for its mean
tajines and laid-back atmosphereyou might even spot
downtown celeb Chloë Sevigny at one of the corner tables.
Here, it's possible to spend hours getting drunk on strong
and spicy Chimay ale. Thator the Physical Graffiti building
across the streetshould send you back to your school
daze in no time.
(101 St. Marks Pl., between First
and A Aves.; 212-677-2226)
Blue & Gold
We're not quite sure how this decrepit den keeps up its cigarette-burn
patina now that downtown's smoke-free dwellers have turned
to Nicorette gum and hard drugs, but we sleep well at night
knowing Blue & Gold's bar-fly patrons somehow manage.
Famous for $3 cocktails and little else, it's a pukey testament
to 7th Street's divey squalorespecially now that suburban-style
sports pubs have staked out Avenue B and beyond.
(79 E. 7th St., between First and Second
Bar 81 (a/k/a Verc Bar; a/k/a Verchovyna)
A curious characteristic of East Village dive bars is the
widespread use of aliases: Even the ones that have been around
for eons seem to have trouble settling on a name. Case in
point is this dive bar: Although it's virtually indistinguishable
from neighboring Blue & Gold, Bar 81 has dropped off the
radarprobably because nobody knows what the hell to
call it. And it's also why you're liable to find a Stroke
here, no doubt trying to avoid the NYU kids next door.
(81 E. 7th St., between First and Second
WCOU (a/k/a The Tile Bar)
Mere stumbled steps away from Eastern Europe's finest sits
this lovely corner bar, which is totally worth visiting for
that drink you definitely don't need. For your drinking pleasure,
here are two perfectly fine excuses for dropping in: 1) This
quintessential neighborhood tavern always manages to feel
as cool and lonely and undiscovered as an Edward Hopper painting,
and 2), after all those shoddy cocktails featuring who-knows-what
kind of Ukrainian moonshine, you deserve a well-made margarita.
(115 First Ave, at 7th St; 212-254-4317)
If you stagger right alongmeaning you should veer wildly
onto First Avenueyou'll discover the International Bar.
Not only does this tiny watering hole harken back to the nabe's
anarchist roots, it has a cute little "garden" area
in back that not too many people know (or at least always
forget) about. This piece of information becomes especially
useful if you happen to be a rabid cigarette fiend.
(120 1/2 First Ave., between 7th St.
and St. Marks Pl.; 212-777-9244)
7B (a/k/a Horseshoe
Bar; a/k/a Vazac's)
And finally, for those of you who've found this whole bar
crawl way too low rent, there's good old 7B. You won't find
any Hypnotique, or whatever Hollywood happens to be drinking
these days, behind the bar. But you can take comfort in the
fact that about a gazillion movies have been filmed at this
dive landmark, including Crocodile Dundee, The Verdict,
Serpico, and The Godfather II. Besides a stiff
drink, what more could you ask for?
(108 Ave. B, at 7th St.; 212-473-8840)