How Many Tools Can You Fit in One Room?

There are few bars that I really hate. Honestly, any place that serves alcohol can't really be that bad (unless you count, say, a church or synagogue). Even in awkward biker bars, I can usually adapt pretty well. One of my buddies is even better at this than I am: a couple weeks ago, I took him to Mars Bar, undoubtedly a place where post-collegiate preppies should feel out of place. Within minutes, he was quoting lines from Full Metal Jacket with the regulars.

When that same friend invited me along to another bar on Saturday night, I didn't think twice. I should have - because we went to a place that is everything I hate about a bar all wrapped up into one.

So, here's my internal monologue of my Saturday night at McUglies:

- There is a long line out the door and around the corner. Or is it just a bunch of self-important assholes taking smoke breaks or talking on their cellphones? Oh, I'm right. It isn't a line.

- A $5 cover? Is there a band playing? A comedy show? A famous DJ spinning? A dance floor? No? Then why the hell am I paying a cover?

- The DJ starts a "Let's Go Yankees" chant as I walk in the door. The Yankees game ended seven hours earlier.

- The ratio of men to women is about 3-to-1. The ratio of man-hos to sluts is just about even.

- So, I just paid a cover, and I'm now paying almost twice the cover for a drink. This is a bar, not Crobar.

- How many goddamn fratboys have said, "'scuse me, buddy" and put their hands on my body in a chummy way to squeeze past me in the crowd? I know we're in tight quarters, but there's no reason to touch me, unless my secret suspicions of fraternities have been right all along.

- The DJ is playing "La Bamba." There are only two places where "La Bamba" should be played in 2006: weddings and 20-year high school reunions.

- Seeing fratboys dance to Madonna songs is entertaining, until somebody gets hurt. And that somebody is me, who was knocked over by an overzealous asshole dancing to impress a girl. Again, it doesn't do much to disprove my theory on fraternities.

- How many "shout-outs" is the DJ going to give tonight? "Happy Birthday to Julie! The Brew Crew is gettin' down on the dance floor! A big wassup to all my homies from Notre Dame!" This is a bar, not a Z-100 Dance Party.

- How do these people even exist in New York? The fratboy is a curious creature, subsisting mainly on alcohol and bar food. Its mating ritual involves bobbing its head, violently shaking its body on a dance floor, and striking up awkward and meaningless conversation with its most common female mate: the skanky ho. They seek the nearest replication of their natural habitat in Manhattan: McFadden's.

- Most importantly: why the fuck is there even a bar at 42nd and 2nd? Seriously, who goes there? Nobody says, "I'm going to go to bar in the middle of ghost-town Midtown Manhattan on a Saturday night where not a single person is walking the streets."

See also: A Sign - Definitely Not From God

28 Moments of Idiocy:

Blogger Dave Amirault said...

McFaddens is one of the worst drinking establishments of all time. I dispise bars that even bear a remote resemblance to that over cologned, skank ridden, watered down drink fest.

Here in Boulder, we have respectable bars and clubs. None of that Z-100 dance shit.

Sure, if you look hard enough you can find places like that. It is just nice to know that they aren't the majority and you're presented with alternatives.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jaime said...


I have two rules for going out in NYC that are rarely broken:

1) I don't wait in a line just to enter the bar

2) I don't pay a cover

As long as I follow these two rules, I never seem to have a bad time. Though I think I could add a third rule that would guarantee a good night:

3) Don't go to bars located above 23rd Street

1:22 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think if I choose to abide by those rules from now on, I will have much happier drinking experiences.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Karen ;- ) said...

Ditto to Digital Dave (dare I suggest...double D? D squared?) on McFaddens. You graduted three years ago now...let it go.

Ah, the bar ho. I like to call them "Fall apartees." Why? Their clothes look like they're falling apart. The way they talk (drunken slur, lazy mouth, overusing "I know, riiiiiiiight?!") seems as though they're falling apart and by the end of the night, they're falling apart...out the door, into a cab, into each other, onto a frat guy, etc. I HATE those people. Ooo! Chris, let's play a game! You know the "gym types?" Let's go for "Bar types." There are two right here; frat boy and fall apartee. GO!

2:27 PM  
Blogger Mjones said...

worst. bar. ever.

Sadly, in my misguided youth (meaning 3-4 years ago) I used to go there all the time and even worse, hang out at the neighboring Calico Jack's.

Somehow I'm on their list, and I get emails for Margarita Madness that starts at like 8 am.

Oh the woes of early early twenties.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so why did you stay if it sucked so much?

5:48 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

This is the reason I live and hang out in Brooklyn.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

I've had nothing but had experiences there. I've been there once in 8 months and I live 2 minutes away. Sadly I will have to frequent it in the fall on Sundays because it plays Buffalo Bills games with sound. So sad.

6:01 PM  
Blogger mrsmogul said...

42nd and 2nd? yeah no one would dare go to a bar there. Though a few years ago I went to a club party at a strip club venue. It was all djs stuff.

Do you listen to East Village radio? My friend is a Dj pn one of the shows.

6:08 PM  
Blogger The Daily Sally said...

Going above 14th street can be dangerous. But even formerly 'cool' neighborhoods and bars below 14th have fallen victim to the curse of frat boys/bridge and tunnel. Finding a cool scene in manhattan these days is becoming nigh impossible.

on another note, looks like you and i have the same 'realistic life goal.' (insert witty ironic comment here)

6:58 PM  
Blogger Boobs Radley said...

i've only been drinking legally in bars for two years, but i already know to avoid any and all bars named O'[something]'s and Mc[blank]y's.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Erik said...

"Frat Boys" seem to be the NYC easy target/whipping boy. Please define "frat boys" without stereotyping. Oh, wait, you can't.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as soon as you said shoutouts... i knew it was mcfaddens. poor excuse for a drinking hole.

too bad i'll probably find myself there at 1am this weekend...

8:32 PM  
Blogger PJ said...

I have workmates that insist on Friday night drinks in the bar located under our building. Honestly, it is the most stinky and skanky bar ever and you're stuck hanging with the drunk version of people you wouldn't talk to during the day anyway.

I went once but now refuse to; I reserve the right to have a drink without a side serving of skank.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Allen Khodabash said...

So long as your goal in going to a bar is to have sex with someone you don't previously know, complications will ensue.

Of course, you might also have the best night of your life. Maybe.

Hence, crowded bars.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Tweaker said...

Can someone please answer Erik's question? I don't really know what a "frat boy" really is...

""Frat Boys" seem to be the NYC easy target/whipping boy. Please define "frat boys" without stereotyping. Oh, wait, you can't."

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

uptown bars aren't so bad.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

mrsmogul said: "42nd and 2nd? yeah no one would dare go to a bar there."

Apparently lots of people do, being that the author mentioned a long line at the door.

erik said: "Frat Boys" seem to be the NYC easy target/whipping boy. Please define "frat boys" without stereotyping. Oh, wait, you can't.

If you feel guilty, you probably are.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

You either know what Chris is talking about with the frat boy analogy or you are one. Either way, it's his blog and you have a back button on your browser. Is that the answer you were looking for?

Shitty bars (and frat boys) are the reason I drink at home. That and it's cheaper. Hennessy FTW!

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's pretty bad. But what about the Eurotrash clubs in NYC? Those are the worst.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Erik said... "Frat Boys" seem to be the NYC easy target/whipping boy. Please define "frat boys" without stereotyping. Oh, wait, you can't.

You're right, I can't, but it's not my fault that they fall perfectly into a stereotype.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's one decent bar in that whole area, Manchester at 48th and 2nd. No pretension, no meat market, all ages, no cover. People don't go there to pop collars or get laid, just to drink and chat.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Ruthy said...

Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself! The worst part about a bar like this is that you can't even get drunk to pass the time because by the time you get throught the line of fratties, you're already sober again. My friends made me go here a couple of months ago, and I made them buy me drinks before promptly taking them below 23rd. AMEN.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

a friend of a friend brought me somewhere called, i think, "nest" a couple of weeks ago. it was very surreal because we didn't have to pay the cover or wait in the horrendous line. we just went straight to the back, where the wasted frat boys were not only bumpin' with the sluts, they were drinking 300 dollar bottles of vodka.

never again.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks what you're missing is that this is all good. We know where they are. We know where to avoid. Please God, let them stay in the wasteland of 42nd and 2nd. It's far better to accidentally stumble upon them and get the hell out of there than for them to stumble onto me, my favorite places and stay. Think about it.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like when people from Brooklyn complain about Bridge and Tunnel people, not knowing that the term was coined for people from Brooklyn!

Sorry, my "hip" Brooklyn friends, you're as B/T as people from New Jersey, Staten Island, and Long Island.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

After starting off on the Sunset Strip in my youth, I have downgraded to dives and local establishments here in LA, and my friends and I have three rules.

1) don't wait in line
2) don't pay cover (only acceptable in increments of less than $5, and only then when your friend's band is playing and you, for some reason, aren't on the guest list)
3) don't pay for parking

One night, our favorite local dive, Big Wang's (where every body knows my name) had a line of about 20 people waiting to get in for karaoke night. On a Wednesday. We decided just to go to my friend's house. That's a bit too much for us.

1:42 PM  
Blogger wohopper said...

"Anonymous said...
I like when people from Brooklyn complain about Bridge and Tunnel people, not knowing that the term was coined for people from Brooklyn!"

Actually, B & T refers PRIMARILY to Long Island/New Jersey thrillseekers who bitch about what a "ripoff" everything is in the city, yet come here anyway to get as wasted as possible and puke on our streets before DRIVING home.

The key idea behind the slur is that a "B & T'er" takes a car to the city (even though there is a Long Island Railroad or several Jersey options). Those living along a subway line--even in an outer borough--are generally not as whiney, envious or obnoxious when in Manhattan because it's still part of our home. B & T's treat Manhattan like a pricey Disneyland of booze. They are tourists who live nearby.

Most Brooklynites I know stay around their neighborhoods because they want to avoid B & T's. Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg is now suffering from "Reverse Bridge & Tunnel Syndrome." Cars aren't involved--it's Manhattanites fleeing their B & T crowded bars to come to a slightly cheaper, more laid-back atmosphere.

3:16 PM  

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