Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 12 October 2012
St. Mark’s Ale House- East Village: Drink Here Now correspondent Link Cromwell vowed to have a drink at every bar in Hoboken before running the 2011 New York City Marathon. With every bar visit in the “Sixth Borough” now completed along with a successful race now finished, it’s time to reel our reporting back toward the City. And as such, every single Friday we’ll be taking over where Link left off, showing you distinctive bars in each borough perhaps for the very first time, perhaps to refresh your memory of a fun place you’ve ducked into, or perhaps to suggest a new spot for you to check out. You can follow our travels as we approach each weekend on Friday mornings with’s “Drink Here Now.”

St Mark’s Ale House
2 St Mark’s Place near Third Avenue, East Village
Getting There: 6 to Astor Place; N,R,W to 8th Street- NYU

While pockets of the East Village certainly can rally together an older crowd, much of he neighborhood skews to the New York City youth. But if you find yourself in the area, looking for a casual spot to get together with a small group and still manage to take in some of the scenery near the always eclectic St. Mark’s Place, look no further than the Ale House that bares its name. Since 1995, the St. Mark’s Ale House has been slinging a good variety of some twenty plus draught beers and with the baseball playoffs, the heart of football season, and the launch of the NBA around the corner, there’s perhaps no better gem of a bar to grab a seat and take in a game of your choice.

There isn’t much that necessarily stands out about the Ale House. It’s surrounded by karaoke bars, small specialty shops, and generic pizza outlets. But there’s a comfort in the place’s layout and setup that screams ‘NYC doesn’t make new bars like this anymore.’ Dropping by on a game night and the place was packed full of extended workplace Happy Hours and small groups occupying each table inside. Although it was crowded and the bar was nearly entirely surrounded, grabbing a quick pop was just about effortless as was finding ample space to stand. And while we shimmied to get out of people’s way, there was a Yankee base hit and the subsequent crowd eruption that had us excited to be a part of the game with some New York fans.

The green and brown signage out front would seem to signify that the place is an Irish pub, but it’s not in the traditional sense. Instead it’s a classic New York sports bar with some good beer specials to boot. Mondays are your best bet here with $3 Miller Lights and shots as well as 6 wings for just a buck, so there’s value here for a little booze and grub. Tuesdays are trivia nights typically and despite some specials and prizes, we love this place for the sports games on the big screens rather than the Jeopardy style ones. Inside, the bar is immediately to the left of the front door. It’s neither big nor small, but perfectly sized to accommodate even a crowded place. The main table- laden space to the right resembles what you might find looking inside a VFW hall, but it feels like a perfect place to plant yourself, especially during the cold weather months- which makes this an imperative place to drink at now.

Bar Type – A step up from a dive bar, but a casual, beer drinking sports bar.

When to Visit – The neighborhood doesn’t necessarily have off nights. Sports games will draw the biggest crowds but Mondays offer the best values.

Value – Drink specials are comparably priced to anywhere in the area and you can usually grab a domestic beer for around $4, which ain’t so bad.

The Lowdown – Look, if the thought of a fine East Village sports bar doesn’t excite you, what do you want from us? The sporting seasons are all closely aligned, the weather is turning brisk, and the Ale House is pouring tons of distinctive, affordable brews on a fun street in a populated area. Do the right thing and swing by the St Mark’s Ale House after a rough day at the office. They never seem to disappoint.

– Alex Corrine

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