What: Two amazing dive bars located in lower Manhattan
Who: A trusty drinking buddy(ies)
Where: Arlene’s Grocery at 95 Stanton St. and 169 Bar at 169 E. Broadway (duh)
Why: Because why not? Dive bars are great, the crowd is usually scarce, the douchebag factor is low AND the drinks are usually strong and cheap. Plus these hidden gems usually have a lot of history, an interesting case of characters and a hot bartender to go along with it.
A friend of mine introduced me to Arlene’s on one chilly fall day. He said, “Oh, we’ll just go to Arlene’s for a few drinks then go home.” And I really believed him. Unfortunately for my liver I wasn’t aware of the $6 rum punch and after two I realized that the day/night had only just begun. Despite that Arlene’s is located in the heart of the Lower East Side, it was barely crowded. I’ve also never had a problem getting a table or place at the bar to sit everytime I’ve gone. I’ve also never spent more than $20.
Price: Six stars — $6 drink specials all day, everyday and heavy-handed bartenders.
Bartender hotness: A — the first bartender that helped me was very attractive, I’ve been back four times and still haven’t seen him. Divey factor: Not sure exactly how to rate this but there’s a concert venue in the basement and, according to my friend, it’s one of the last punk rock bars in the city so I think that makes it pretty legit. Plus when I first heard of this place I thought it was an actual grocery store, which I think is pretty cool.
I went here for a work happy hour with a large group of coworkers. I was a little skeptical about the location because I don’t really hang out in the lower lower part of Manhattan that much. I would’ve been less skeptical if someone had told me about the amazing dumplings they had. Granted they are probably frozen dumplings that are warmed to perfection but it didn’t matter. I went to town on these things. It was $3 for a bucket (well not an actual bucket) of dumplings plus $2 off the whole menu drink menu from noon-7:30? I think I spent less than $15 and was drunk, full and happy by the time I left. What could be better?
Price: See the above
Divey Factor: The bar is a super kitchey (I just learned this word about two weeks ago) and I loved it. There are sharks on the wall, a weird pool table in the back and other random assortment of decorations everywhere else. 169 also claims to be the one of the oldest and last original bars in Manhattan.
Bartender: Definitely tried to stalk his whole entire life, but was unsuccessful. I’ll keep you updated on the statues of our impending nuptials.