12 July 2011

"God Tells Me What To Do But The Devil's My Secretary"


Subway Inn 143 E. 60th St at Lexington Avenue

The first of a series celebrating NYC dive bars. And while the honesty can be too much -- a good dive bar is a refreshing contrast to the vacuous sports bar where Bud Lite consumption is subsidized by insurance company expense accounts belonging to pasty white men in golf shirts, Dockers and Cole Haan Kilties.

The Subway Inn's neon is like a roaring Christmas Eve fire to the eyes of the afflicted. Tourists hurry their children by and must wonder how something so low brow can be so close to Bloomingdales and the Container Store. It's almost impossible to see into the bar through the window but once inside any sense of real danger is left to unknowing imaginations.

I was weaned as a 19 year old on the strip bars along Hay Street in Fayetteville, NC so my bench marking may be out of whack. The inside is not dangerous at all. In fact, the place could use a rougher crowd. Certainly a poorer one. Shots are $5 and bottled beer is less. Hipsters take over on weekends and regulars have it on week nights but to see the hard core pop in around noon. A beer at lunch ain't gonna kill you, but the guy at the end of the bar might.

Rating: The Classic 8/10

17 comments:

Upwith Olives said...

Damn! Called out on the Cole Haan Kilties...

Alice Olive said...

I've never had a drink in here but I've changed shoes many times. (Flats to heels.) Almost fall over every time as the floor level slopes downwards towards the amenities. But on the way out, a male patron will notice your heels and give you an appreciative wink.

no hype said...

Have you checked out Blue&Gold on 7th off 1st Ave? $5 scotch/whiskey/vodka/gin(Glenlivet, JW Black, Makers, Goose, Tanqueray etc) and $4 beers (draft/bottle),

Pooltable and jukebox round it out nicely. I go every Friday.

bmackintosh said...

I love dive bars. My favorite is the Billy Goat in the Loop in Chicago. A few tourists but overall a great place to watch the Bulls or Blackhawks play. They even serve Schlitz though I stick with drinking Goose Island but I appreciate the nostalgic touch.

Unclelooney said...

Stella has become the Borg of breweries.
That window would look better with Rhinegold, Schaefer and Krueger signs. But then again I'm a guy whose key ring is a Feigenspan PON
Bottle opener. The PRIDE OF NEWARK.

Main Line Sportsman said...

My Lehigh buddy started out in NYC with an apartment in Stuyvesant Town....Avenue C....we hit a bar with no name in "Alphabet City"...literally ahd no sign with a name..when we were swilling some pitchers in there one very cold winter night circa 1987, one of my boys said:" They can tell we have money 'cause we are wearing socks.."
Best dive I ever drank in in NY...When next in Phila we gotta take you to McGillans's or Paddy's...true gems of this class....then again you have probably been to both...

Patsy said...

I've probably done some fairly dangerous (ok, stupid) things in NYC, but I never really thought of having a beer in the E. 60s as one of them.

good spelr said...

Weaned, you mean.

tintin said...

good speir - Shoot, I hate when that happens. Correction made. Thank you.

Ben said...

If it's an actual "Stella-approved" establishment, there can't be too much knife fighting going on. Looking forward to reading about more bars I won't visit because I haven't been to NYC since 1986.

lblooms said...

This place is a classic and its juxtaposition to Bloomingdales has always made it that much more attractive. Usually a down and out ex-prostitute (perhaps with a few missing teeth) sitting at the end of the bar.

M.Lane said...

I have mentioned before that I love this bar. Authentic. And I love a bar where if you pass out you are not alone...

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

If you are ever in Minneapolis, try the 1029 Bar. Cheap drinks, great waitresses, and incredible food.
http://the1029bar.com/

Hallock said...

Jimmy's Corner on West 44th between 7th and 6th.

Theoden said...

May not be dangerous, but certainly interesting. Last year I was having a drink with some lovely co-workers at the Subway Inn. In the men's room some guy approached me and asked me, "Is the blonde wit' you?.... cause, you know, man, she's hot!"

Yeah, definintely, a dive. I think hey only serve potato chips.

NYC kid in CHI said...

Stocks & Blondes on Wells btwn Washington and Monroe...

Rudy's on 9th Ave and 44th (hotdogs are free as long as you buy the beer)...best blues jukebox in NYC...

Anthony P said...

Sad it closed. Another victim of our times.