LocalBozo.com 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 LocalBozo.com’s “Drink Here Now.”
180 2nd Ave, East Village, Manhattan
Getting There: L to 1st Avenue
Drink Here Now: Ninth Ward
Theme bars have always had a special place in the heart of the “Drink Here Now” crew. Many of them are delightfully cheesy and usually have great drink specials. On a recent weeknight, we headed out to the East Village for a long beer session at Ninth Ward, a watering hole that perfectly recreates a true blue New Orleans joint.
The Second Avenue bar’s exterior may confuse some, as there is no true signage but a facade that is reminiscent of a typical business one would find deep in the heart of NOLA. Open these doors wide to find an extremely ornate bar space that may cause some to walk about like a museum and forget about grabbing drinks. Traditional wooden shutters, crowded with a bar and even a fireplace fill the dark sparsely lit space. Even though we were enjoying the bar room, Ninth Ward has a moderately sized outdoor courtyard style space, perfect for embracing the coming on of Spring. And since the warm weather had still not arrived we were thrilled to see the outside area was totally enclosed in clear glass.
Our group of five sat nearby the outdoor fountain (non-working) to fully bring us into the Louisiana spirit. During the time of our visit, Happy Hour was in full gear and with that came the bar’s two-for-one deals. Many of us opted to keep it local with New Orleans’ own “Abita Amber,” a seriously easy drinking delicious ale with notes of sweet fruit in its finish. And speaking of fruit, the other half of the crew went for “Blue Moon” with a huge chunk of orange on the glass for garnish. Both brews ran on average between six and seven dollars. The special uses a chip system so the waitress can easily keep track of who has a second drink on tap. And speaking of the waitress, the place was jammed during the time of our visit but she was entirely on point with our first drink order until we asked for the check.
The owners of Ninth Ward also run the ever popular Kingston Hall and Shoolbred’s. Both joints have a theme and a scene all to their own and in the next few weeks prepare to find reviews of these pubs that we hope match the good times had at this little NOLA spot on Second Avenue.
Bar Type – New Orleans themed bar that gets away from the trappings of a frat house style Mardis Gras party. Basically, you can enjoy the culture and the spirits without any of the morons.
When to Visit – Weekends are completely jammed at Ninth Ward. Getting a seat at one of the coveted tables or at the bar are literally impossible. Therefore you should opt to hit the bar up on a weeknight. The crowds will still be there but at least you will get a seat.
Value – Weekday 2-for-1 Happy Hour specials on beers and cocktails will keep your wallet green and your mouth grinning.
The Lowdown – We are far from newbies when it comes to Ninth Ward. Our visits have ranged from extremely rowdy to moderately rowdy. Yet on this last visit we can firmly say that you can have a relaxing time while loading your liver with excellent spirits in a fantastic space that we hope ages like a fine whiskey.