Tag: Fat Cat Billiards

The ladies from Lyons

Friday, March 21st, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Friends, Music

There are few things SYB enjoys more than assisting tourists: hardly a week goes by without his proactively offering directions to bewildered-looking foreigners. German speakers, in particular, will capture his attention… as will fetching French women, as was the case with RM’s guests, whom we met at his St. Patrick’s Day soirée in Sunnyside. MB and JA were in town for just over a week, and fortunate I think to have such attentive and enthusiastic boosters for New York City at their disposal.

I crossed paths with the touring trio on Sixth Avenue, as they were heading into the MoMA to take advantage of Target Free Friday Nights when museum admission is complimentary from 4–8PM. All other times, it’s a rather steep $20, which explains this insane queue for entry.

Target Friday @ MoMA

So despite the fact that my MoMA membership card would earn me line-jumping privileges, I knew that every single one of these people would make it inside the museum eventually, and I didn’t particularly want to be there when they did. Not when I could check out the acclaimed “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibit any other time… through May 12, anyway.

I met up with SYB, MB and JA a couple of hours later at Amazing 66, where we gave our visitors an authentic taste of Chinatown. Tonight’s menu overlapped much of the Mardi Gras meal -– with the short rib-stuffed pumpkin and steamed whole flounder the unqualified hits of the night — but in the excitement of feasting, I neglected to order the “Salad Walnut Prawns” — sorry, HYB! Afterwards, the nine of us made the obligatory post-dinner visit to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory around the corner.

After the couples took their leave, it was up to the B brothers and me to plan out the rest of our evening. The night was still young, but, as it turned out, so were our guests; JA was a couple weeks shy of her 21st birthday, which strictly limited our options. Three native New Yorkers, and not one of us could immediately think of a place to spend a Friday night that did not involve drinking, or that at least required guests to be of drinking age. Embarrassing, actually – and a testament to how very long it had been since any of us had to take such matters into consideration.

I remembered what fun we’d had at J’s birthday celebration in December, and suggested Fat Cat Billiards on Christopher, both for its live music and its low-key vibe. Under 21 welcome! The $3 cover got us into the basement saloon, stocked with pool and ping pong tables, shufflepuck and foosball (“baby-foot” in France, I learned), chess and board games galore. The women, though, seemed most entranced by the live performances, and the well-over-21 among us were more than happy to settle into the worn couches for the next couple of hours to catch the sets by The Gospel Queens of Brooklyn and one very talented jazz octet.

Fat Cat Jazz

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Fat Cat Billiards birthday

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 | All Things, Events, Family

For J’s milestone birthday, his dear wife had arranged a surprise gathering of friends and family at Fat Cat Billiards in the West Village. J suspected that a secret plan was afoot when PL requested his assistance with the family’s move from the Upper West Side to Edgewater, New Jersey that Saturday morning. (More defectors!) J gamely agreed, little knowing then that the request was, in fact, entirely serious. It must have been quite a letdown to arrive on the scene expecting a celebration and finding only heavy moving boxes. Worst surprise party ever!

The real festivities, of course, began later that evening, and did not involve manual labor. We paid the $3 cover for access to the subterranean pool hall/game room, with its décor reminiscent of a Disco-era suburban basement rec room… but in a good way. This isn’t one of those sceney pool lounge spots — just a low-key place to down cheap beer and shoot stick with friends. Dim lighting, live jam sessions, worn couches, mismatched tables, and strewn throughout: billiards and ping pong tables, shuffleboard, foosball, and board games galore. New York magazine named Fat Cat Billiards the city’s “Best Pool Hall” in 2001.

We arrived early to commandeer the seating area behind the bar — a space which we shared with the owner’s large, friendly dog. I’m still not sure whether he actually liked us, or the John’s of Bleecker Street pizzas we had ordered in.

Fat Cat Billiards

Fat Cat Billiards

Later that night, in the homier environs of the Upper East Side, we toasted the man of the hour over a beautiful Black Forest cake from SoHo’s Ceci-Cela Patisserie — a delightfully potent, almost victorious, confection of Cointreau-sponged chocolate cake, brandy-soaked cherries and airy layers of vanilla whipped cream.

Happy Birthday, James

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