Hi, my name is Buddy Guy and I’m awful (or so I’m told.) I wear trucker hats, but only after they became trendy. I wear cargo shorts but only use one pocket. I wear pastel colored shirts. I typically find myself completely unaware of my surroundings and social norms. I drink Miller Lite because it is the most “American” beer. I watch NASCAR. For all that I lack in this world, I am well versed in the bar scene in New York City. As a teacher and former club promoter (just say “Buddy” at the door), I feel I am qualified to give advice on which bars to visit in the city. Each week in this column I will review bars and discuss the shenanigans in the life of Buddy Guy.
To the new teachers viewing this blog, you’re going to have to ask yourself the question, “Which type of bar crawler will I become?” Geography will answer this question for you. The city is full of great neighborhoods that host some interesting bars. To determine which area of town is right for you, answer the following questions:
Do you wear pastel colored shirts and topsiders (guys) or sundresses (girls)? Were you in a fraternity or sorority at a University south of the Mason-Dixon line? Do you believe in Reaganomics? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then SoHo is right for you. Specifically, a bar called “Gatsby’s” on Spring and Mulberry street caters to you. If you want to listen to an 80’s/jock jams/country infusion mix then this is your place. Head there on a Saturday, grab a George W. Bush pin, and be ready to awkwardly dance with Bo and Kenny from Sigma Chi (til we die, bro!). I hear that you can occasionally pour your own beer from the back bar as well…
Are you from Jersey, Staten Island, or Miami Beach? Do your jeans cost $300? Are you a hot girl with a lot of hot friends? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then Chelsea/Meatpacking District is right for you. The 80’s/pop/hip hop mix will keep you fist-pumping all night long. I suggest a club called “Cain.” An intimate club on 28th and 10th, Cain will make you feel like a VIP no matter who you are. Caution: if you aren’t a hot girl with many hot friends or a guy willing to spend at least $800 on table service, then you might want to look elsewhere. And even if you are a guy with $800 to spend, you still will probably get treated like shit at the door. However, for a chance to mingle with celebrities on any given night, Cain might be worth your while.
Are you from the West Coast? Do you like to “chill” and listen to 90’s music and top 40? Are you “the man” at beer pong? If you answer “yes” then head to the Upper West Side. At Jake’s Dilemma on Amsterdam you will have ample opportunities to challenge the opposite sex to beer pong, pool, or Buck Hunter. At Jake’s you’ll find a wide range of people, many of whom are drinking mass quantities of beer. However, if you’re looking to dance, you might want to check out a different part of town.
Are you an investment banker? Do you tell people you’re an investment banker? Do you want to date an investment banker? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you’re most likely to be walking around Second Avenue on the Upper East Side. The UES is home to bars such as Dorrian’s where you can grab a cold beer, and discuss hedge funds at the same time. Known as a singles bar, Dorrian’s gives you the option to head to the back room and dance to hip hop or stay in the front and catch a game and the stock report.
Do you wear black rimmed glasses? Do you shower less than three times a week? Do you wish you grew up in the 60’s? If you answered yes to any of those questions then take the 6 train down to the East Village. Hipsters and art students tend to dwell in the area east of NYU. I suggest taking a trip to Central Bar on the corner of 9th St. and 4th Ave. During the daytime it is your typical Irish pub, but by nighttime Central Bar is transformed into a hip place to hang out with friends and meet people. Grab a beer downstairs and then head upstairs and hit the dance floor. On Saturday nights the DJ is famous for mixing music from artists such as Kanye West, Bell Biv Devoe, and Kelly Clarkson.
Whether you’re a freak, a geek, a banker, or a teacher, there is a place you can call home in the city. Or, if you’re like Buddy Guy, you call all places your home. Follow my lead and don’t settle on any area. The city has a lot to offer. Do the right thing like Spike Lee.