Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 04 April 2014
Mama’s Bar – East Village: Drink Here Now

Our correspondent vowed to have a drink at every single bar in Hoboken and did so successfully with Spirits in the Sixth Borough.” Every Friday morning, we’ll pick up where he left off, showing you distinctive bars in each New York City 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 as you gear up for the weekend. You can follow our sudsy travels every week with’s “Drink Here Now.”

Mama’s Bar
34 Avenue B at 3rd Street, East Village
Getting There: F to Second Avenue

New York City is a place known for making something out of nothing. In that vein, there are dozens upon dozens of seemingly ordinary bars that for one reason or another always seem to pack in crowds despite of nothing unusual to attract them. The East Village is replete with these and among the most strangely busy and often visited sits Mama’s Bar, a small little dive that perhaps resulting from a great location or a great loyalty from its neighborhood of patrons is perpetually packed and organically fun.

From the outside, Mama’s Bar isn’t much to look at. Adorned with a cool logo and amid a street corner setting, the open doors in warmer months are presumably inviting, considering the layout of couches and high top tables which take up much of the space near the entrance. The bar itself is relatively small, but the selection of drinks is particularly vast, including a surprising amount of cocktail options which are reasonably priced. The walls are covered with different signs and designs as well which really links Mama’s to the spirit of the Alphabet City neighborhood.

Though we’d recommend trips out to Mama’s on weekend afternoons or evenings when the place gets truly going, it’s hard to ignore their Happy Hour specials during the week. With $3 whiskies, $4 domestic beers and “PBR and Shot” combos for just $5 until 7pm, the bar is an ideal place to kick off a night of imbibing. They also offer a late night Happy Hour from 1 – 4am featuring frozen drink specials and $5 Jack Daniels of Jameson shots to really put you out for the night. And what’s more, the place’s cocktail list features items sure to blush your face when ordering the likes of a “Sour Pussy” ($8), the “Big Bad Dick” ($7), “Muff Magic” ($7) or our favorite, the butterscotch infused “Layla’s Blue Balls” ($6). The comically named drinks make this a fun spot to drop by with a (down-to-earth) lady or non beer drinker and throw back some affordably priced alternatives with monikers that work as proverbial ice breakers. There are a ton of viable options in the vicinity so even if you’re stopping by Mama’s Bar for a drink or two, it’s definitely a haunt worth visiting at least once if you’re hopping around the East Village and looking for a place that’s way more fun than your usual go-to dive bar.

The Rundown

Bar Type - A more fun dive style bar than you’re used to. And one that actually has girls inside. A big plus!

When to Visit – Again, we’d push your visit out until the weekend, but their happy hour specials are unbeatable until 7pm during the week. Stop by after work with a small group and start your night here.

Value - If you’re looking to drink on the cheap, then Mama’s Bar is your spot. Great Happy Hour specials but reasonably priced cocktails and domestic beers are available at Happy Hour or otherwise.

The Lowdown – Mama’s Bar has the charm of a dive bar and yet, it’s somehow deserving of a more fitting label. Perhaps a fun, everyday, neighborhood bar would be more appropriate. I’ve stumbled out of these doors on several occasions, often waking up with an entirely affordable bill despite a tally of drinks that I (might) remember having ordered. Life at Mama’s Bar is hardly ever dull and if it happens to be when you’re inside, then maybe it’s you that’s the big bore.

- Alex Corrine

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