Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 16 August 2013
Spanky & Darla’s -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.”

Spanky & Darla’s
140 1st Ave, New York, NY
Getting There: L to 1st Avenue

Long before there was a “Drink Here Now” crew or even a there was the Meatpacking District’s favorite dive bar The Village Idiot. The “Idiot” as it was affectionately called, was a true blue dive bar unlike anything many places in the area at that time. Unfortunately, in 2004 they had to close up shop for good. Luckily, this infamous bar’s legacy has continued in the form of sister bars located all over town like The Patriot Saloon on Chambers Street and The Duck in Harlem. During a recent trip to the East Village, the crew and I happened upon one of these sister bars called “Spanky & Darla’s” which is a funny nod to “The Little Rascals.”

It was a Saturday afternoon when we ducked inside the narrow, dark bar ready to tie a few on. At the time of our visit the bar was somewhat empty, but perfect for some laid back boozing. The bar beautifully pays tribute to the The Village Idiot by displaying some of the great, grimy memories from the past. With old t-shirts, beer signs and mannequin legs there is tons of wacky stuff to gawk at while you imbibe. Moments after sitting down the waitress came over to us, fresh off of mixing a barrel of bloody mary mix. In keeping with the divey nature of this joint we opted for cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon which ran us about three bucks per can. As we sipped our cold PBRs on this hot day we rapped with the bartender who was happy to partake in a sarcasm laden conversation. If chit chat isn’t your thing fear not, the bar comes equipped with a few flat screen TVs and classic arcade games like ‘Mortal Kombat 3.”

But if you’ve ever read one of these pieces, you know that the crew is all about the jukebox. As we kicked back plowing through brews we loaded up the juke with the likes of Toby Keith, The Band and some 1990′s era Rolling Stones. Spanky & Darla’s has a seriously great jukebox perfect for nearly every taste. And if you’re especially nice to the bartender she may even turn the volume up to 11 for you. The Village Idiot may be long gone, but we’ve still got Spanky & Darla’s to beautifully carry the torch.


The Rundown

Bar Type - No frills East Village dive bar in the tradition of the infamous Village Idiot.

When to Visit – Saturday nights will pack in the partying set, which is great if you’re up for the craziness. But if you’re looking for a laid back time, hit the bar on a Saturday afternoon for some easy going boozing.

Value – In keeping with their dive bar legacy, Spanky & Darla’s won’t beat you over the head with high priced drinks. Cheap drinkers are well taken care of here.

The Lowdown – If you love cheap drinks, great jukeboxes and no B.S. then get your ass over to Spank & Darla’s for some old school New York City fun. The dark, dimply lit bar is small but seemingly laced with history of a New York that hardly exists in 2013. As these diminutive spots disappear, Spanky & Darla’s appears to be just hitting their dive bar stride.

-Alex Corrine

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