Posts Tagged ‘bars


My Birthday Weekend

I’ve been in NYC since Saturday, and it’s been a very comfortable transition from home. Two factors made sure I would fit in easily here:

1)   I’ve been here twice before (including a week in November) and have already done most of the touristy things.

2)   I have a group of best friends who have been here for a year and can give me all the advice I need.

But what exactly have I been doing since Saturday? Celebrating my birthday of course!

As most of my family knows, my birthday celebration usually extends throughout the entire month of May. This year was no exception. My grad school friends threw a birthday party for me before finals, my family and I celebrated in Omaha the weekend before I left for NYC, and this weekend I finally got to celebrate with my college friends (summer birthday here).

Even though my birthday was technically Monday, we celebrated on Saturday with a delicious triple chocolate cake from an Italian bakery in northern New Jersey.


Birthday Cake #3

Then we went to a bar called The Delancey, which I enjoyed for its mix of Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida and early ’90s dance hits. The reason I wanted to go to The Delancey is because it has a rooftop bar with a view of the Williamsburg Bridge. Unfortunately, there was a private party happening up there. But I suspect the party was Fleet Week-related, so I didn’t mind. (By the way, last week through Memorial Day was Fleet Week, which meant the city was filled with sailors. It’s a good time to be in New York!).

Sunday, I had my first brunch in NYC. We went to Sarabeth’s on the Upper East Side, and I had the spinach and goat cheese omelette. On Sundays, brunch is as important to NYC as church is to the rest of the country. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fit in both.

Brunch at Sarabeth's

Brunch at Sarabeth's

Monday was my actual birthday. Jess was in town from Jersey and Amy was in town from D.C., so the three of us trekked to Brooklyn for pizza at Grimaldi’s. Jess and I were sold on the place after we read that Frank Sinatra used to go there. You can tell that Grimaldi’s has a soft spot for Frank because they more or less devote an entire wall to him. The line outside was long, but a man was playing an accordion outside the restaurant, and it was a beautiful day.

Outside Grimaldi's

Outside Grimaldi's

We ordered sausage, onions and red peppers on our pizza.

One of the best combinations of pizza I have ever had

One of the best combinations of pizza I have ever had


We even had room for ice cream afterward at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (strawberry and chocolate chocolate chunk on a waffle cone). Both places are practically underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. The ice cream place is right on the East River, so we got some fantastic shots of the bridge and Lower Manhattan. It was so beautiful and sunny that my pale skin might actually have gotten a tan.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory


Amy, Me, Jess

Amy, Me, Jess

All and all, it was a relaxing first weekend in the city. I ate well, got a martini and a manicure for $10 (at Beauty Bar), walked through Central Park and spent much-needed time with my college friends. It felt good to even just watch TV with them.

I have more posts to come, including a recap of the concert I went to last night. (Preview: Elvis Costello showed up!) But first, I have to stop mooching off the hospitality of friends and move into my apartment!


Preparation #2: Researching bars

When I studied abroad in the spring of 2007, we had a habit of choosing bars that had the best descriptions in Let’s Go Europe. This method had mixed results. A bar in Salamanca, Spain that looked like the inside of a submarine was a total bust, but a nightclub in Florence, Italy called Space Electronic (complete with space decor) ended up being a wild success. Because I have my very own copy of Let’s Go New York City, I decided to bring back my old method when making my list of bars that I absolutely have to go to this summer. I picked the following five bars based only on the awesomeness of the descriptions. I have not looked at any online ratings. For your enjoyment, I have also included the actual descriptions that appear in Let’s Go. These bars could be total disappointments, but I have some lingering post-election hope that just won’t go away yet.



5. Beer Garden at Bohemia Hall (because I want to celebrate my heritage)

“Operated by the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society, this rowdy Czech restaurant and 900-seat outdoor beer garden is packed every night with a fun-loving, heavy drinking, heavy smoking crowd. If you’re hungry, try Bohemian staples like fried cheese with french fries ($8) and crunchy pork schnitzel ($10.50).”


4. Pete’s Candy Store (because I want to be in a spelling bee again)

“This soda-shop-turned-bar hosts live music every night at 9pm and a quirky assortment of activities beforehand. M 7:30 pm alternates between spelling bees and stand-up comedy. Tu 7-9pm bingo night. W 7:30pm quiz-off. Every other Th 7:30pm prose and poetry readings. Sa 5-8pm partners Scrabble. Su in summer 5-9pm barbecue in the backyard. Pomegranate margaritas $8.”


3. KGB (because I’ve always wanted to go to a Communist bar called KGB)

“Formerly a meeting place for the Ukrainian Communist Party; today a hangout for literati and Slavophiles. Many well-known authors and poets do readings her; recent appearances by Michael Cunningham and Jhumpa Lahiri. The bar retains its original Soviet furnishings, including a Lenin propaganda banner and candle-illuminated photos of factories, and serves over 20 kinds of Stoli shots.”


2. Employees Only (because of the handlebar moustaches)

“In this classy bar with a 20s feel, skilled bartenders in white chef’s uniforms—all with handlebar moustaches—mix up some of the best vintage cocktails in the city. The name derives from the establishment’s goal of mixing drinks so good that other bars’ employees come here for their own libations. There’s no sign other than the neon ‘Psychic’ in the window; one is often on hand.”


1. The Back Room (because I want to drink beer wrapped in a paper bag)

“This faithful rendition of a Prohibition-era speakeasy, housed in an ordinary-looking apartment building, is appropriately difficult to find. Go through the iron gate by the ‘Lower East Side Toy Company’ sign; there’s a bouncer posted there on the weekends. Head to the back of the courtyard, and go up the stairs to your right. You’ll find yourself in a classy parlor-like space, where 20- and 30-somethings drink hard-liquor concoctions out of teacups and beer from bottles wrapped in paper bags. A sliding bookcase gives way to a ‘secret’ 2nd bar. A fireplace blazes in the winter. Large groups, especially of men, could have trouble at the door.”


About the Blog

A blog about my summer as an unpaid intern in New York City.

Old Posts

Recent Tweets