Day: May 18th, 2007


Friday, May 18th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Events

Dinner at Vynl, part of restaurateur John Dempsey’s Hell’s Kitchen empire. Originally opened in 1996, Dempsey’s cozy-kitschy diner relocated three blocks south to a larger space on 51st and Ninth, clearing the space for his other neighborhood holding, El Centro, in 2006. The new, improved Vynl is as popular as its predecessor was; this Friday there was a queue for a table at the improbably early hour of 6:30PM. Luckily, the new digs created space for an ample front bar, where a friendly bartender ladled out tall glasses of happy hour sangría to ease the pain of waiting.


Also preserved from the original: the NKOTB, Cher and Vanilla Ice action figures lining the walls; menus mounted on old LP covers (tonight: The Best of Blondie); Nelly, Dolly and Elvis-themed bathrooms; lots and lots of mirrors and glitter.

The quirky “American-Thai” menu is solid, if not particularly authentic or inspiring. No complaints, though, over our steamed vegetable dumplings and curry dishes.


From Vynl, it was a short trip — past a namesake bar and a starry restaurant – to Sony Music Studios for the Guinness Believer event. The evening was essentially a 90-minute seated presentation on all things Guinness, accompanied by plenty of audio, visual, and taste aids. Upon entering, we were handed tickets entitling us to bottles of Guinness draught — a product, we later learned, made possible by the nitrogen bubble releasing “rocket widget” technology, which was rolled out by the company in 1999, after spending several years and $13.5 million(!) in development. (The original – and patented — spherical widget had been used in Guinness draught cans since the late 1980s.)

There was some food, some creamy-headed Guinness, a video presentation, still more Guinness, and to finish things off, cans of Harp lager, which with the aid of our official souvenir Guinness “Black and Tan” pouring spoons, we employed to pour a series of perfectly striated pints.

Guinness night

“Sláinte” is a traditional Gaelic toast, literally translating to “health” or “to your health.” It is pronounced “SLAWN-cha” – or, as we were instructed that night, as if one were to quickly slur the words: “It’s a lawn chair!”

Given the liquid-heavy menu, the slurring was nearly a foregone conclusion.

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