On the Prowl
Though it may seem like the city’s post-work pastimes are centered on the singles bars of the Upper East Side, there are amusements to be found across town, up and down, from the civilized zing of a chilly after-concert cocktail to the slightly riskier environs of Times Square, whose eternal seediness seems destined to outlast us all.
1. Available gals are still lining up around the block at Alan Stillman’s T.G.I. Friday’s (1152 First Avenue); often their youthful exuberance necessitates a police-organized shutdown.
2. Speaking of First Avenue: So many new bars have opened to handle Friday’s spillover (Maxwell’s Plum, Mister Laffs, and Sullivan’s) the neighborhood is now being called “the body exchange.”
3. For bachelors, Malachy’s (East 63rd Street and Third Avenue) is a good bet, perhaps because of its location—directly across from the home-for-the-single-girl Barbizon Hotel.
4. The Stonewall (53 Christopher Street) is usually bursting with homosexuals on weekends; there’s a much saner scene at Harry’s Back East on Third Avenue and Julius’s on West 10th Street. Both are so casual even women feel comfortable stopping in for a drink.
5. The brand-new Continental Baths in the basement of the Ansonia promises a no-holds-barred environment for men only (Broadway near 73rd Street).
6. No surprise here: The wildest nights happen in Harlem. A mixed crowd of blacks and whites does the jerk, the truck, and the boogaloo (sometimes in the company of Wilt Chamberlain) at Small’s Paradise (135th Street), while the Prelude (3219 Broadway) pulls in the Columbia student body for live jazz and gorgeous barmaids.
The Currently Attached
8. For the members’-only set: Le Club, by our estimation, is still sexier than Raffles, and with 1,000 members in the city now, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone who’ll bring you in.
9. Major acts still play Café Au Go Go (152 Bleecker Street), but the Night Owl (118 West 3rd Street) is the best club for spotting new talent; if both are packed, try the Gaslight (116 Macdougal Street), which is still a folk mecca. Or just hang out on the street, which is bound to feature 40 or so rising young rock-and-roll groups.
10. The best way to greet the dawn after a night of crosstown rambling: bacon and eggs at Brasserie (100 East 53rd Street), where it’s entirely possible you’ll be sitting next to someone you saw six hours earlier.
11. The men onstage may be dressed like Jayne Mansfield, but a coat and tie is required of those not performing at the 82 Club (82 East 4th Street). There’s also a strictly enforced $5 food-and-drink minimum.
12. If you’re feeling frisky after watching an Olga flick at one of Chelly Wilson’s Times Square porn palaces, the Scott Hotel (132 West 45th Street) is relatively clean, has double rooms for $5, and promises to ask no questions.
13. Yes, The Twist is passé, but it’s still fun at the Peppermint Lounge, on West 54th Street. Just don’t expect to see Bruno Pagliai or Tennessee Williams (or even Chubby Checker anymore).
With a Gang
14. Now that you and your gang are half in the bag after a Trader Vic’s Scorpion, lurch over to the Cheetah (1680 Broadway), where the ceiling glitters like a movie marquee and the people glitter like the ceiling. The pressure to groove is intense, so be prepared to become involved.
15. Publishing hotshots (Talese, Halberstam, Pileggi) rely on nightly swoops into Elaine’s for industry gossip, but even they stop when Sinatra walks in with Namath after midnight. Watch it all over the veal chop and rugola salad.
16. It looks like every other kung pao joint below Houston Street, but Hung Fat on Mott Street has become the unofficial Chinese restaurant for hungry hippies. Bring an appetite, or, if you don’t have an appetite, $15 for a lid.
17. In case you missed Janis Joplin & Co. when they opened the Fillmore East earlier this year, atone by attending this week’s show: Jimi Hendrix and Sly & the Family Stone, $3.50 per ticket.
18. Andy Warhol’s unofficial headquarters: the back room at Max’s Kansas City (213 Park Avenue South). You won’t get into the inner sanctum, so order a steak ($2.95) and gawk back at the teenyboppers.
19. The discothèque of the moment is the Balloon Farm, directly over the Dom (23 St. Marks Place). It aims at something called “The Freak Out,” an occurrence of spontaneous expression. No hard liquor served.
Additional reporting by Catherine Coreno, Kaija Helmetag, and Jada Yuan.