Back to the ‘roots

Friday, February 15th, 2008 | All Things, Drinks, Friends

At Grassroots Tavern tonight for SYB’s birthday celebration. CF and I headed to the East Village straight from the office and were among the first to arrive. Eventually, though, the revelers would total over 40 – all there to toast the man of the hour.

Grassroots Tavern is, not to mince words, a dive — “the only honest dive on one of Manhattan’s most gimmicky streets,” according to Time Out. Located in the basement of the landmarked Daniel LeRoy House, the bar has been around in its current incarnation since the mid-1970s, though its history as a drinking den dates to the 1940s. Cheap booze, low lighting, tin-pressed ceilings, battered wooden tables, dartboards (BYOD, though), an actual phonebooth by the front door and scary bathrooms…. the unpretentious vibe is a main reason that in 2007, Grassroots Tavern was named one of the 100 best bars in America by Esquire. There’s even a resident dog and cat prowling the grounds usually, though I didn’t see them tonight.

Worlds collided over mugs of beer, which was a fine thing… for the most part. And here, pitchers start at $9 – Bud, but still! – a price point rapidly going the way of the Noo Yawk accent. We sprung for the somewhat more upmarket Brooklyn Lager: it was a special occasion after all.

Grassroots Tavern

$1 baskets of popcorn were not going to tide us through this night. We weren’t nearly inebriated/college-aged enough for Mamoun’s next door, and the neighborhood’s tiny ramen joints probably wouldn’t accommodate our group of seven for dinner. We opted in the end to keep things simple by merely crossing St. Mark’s to Je’Bon — a newish noodle shop with a Thai, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Cantonese menu. Usually I find such culinary schizophrenia suspicious, but the hour was late, and we were starving, so I was willing to make an exception here. And maybe it was the hunger, but my Pad Thai with Mixed Vegetable was surprisingly decent, and at just under $9, a bargain. I’ll remember this place for the next time I “trek through the tacky.”

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There are 5 Comments ... Back to the ‘roots

February 27, 2008

Hey! It was good seeing you at Grassroots. I think you had better luck with that Pad Thai at Je’Bon than I did…had it for lunch once and it was meh.

February 27, 2008

I did have Mamoun’s earlier that night. We went to another falafel cum hookah bar around the corner on 2nd Ave after the fun at Grassroots. It felt vaguely like high school all over again spending those no-so-late hours along St. Marks on a Friday.

February 27, 2008

Je’Bon’s is not among the top ten Pad Thais I’ve ever had… but I’ll venture that it’s the best within fifty feet of the bar.
Drinking on St. Mark’s on a Friday night. I can’t even remember the last time…

February 27, 2008

Thanks for all the high school commentary. Now G and I know where to take the 16 year old we’re hanging with this weekend.

February 27, 2008

Hmm, in my recollection, 16-year olds hang out at Limelight, Tunnel, Red Zone and Sound Factory. The 35-year old bouncer — there’s always one — lets them in if they smile nicely. That info may be dated (and may apply only to girls), tho.

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