Traveling into Manhattan every day for work means that I usually just stick around to go out. Or, a more recent dilemma, I don’t go out on weekends at all, mostly because I don’t feel like making the commute and paying the money for a cab later. It’s funny how in two years, though, our neighborhood has started to expand. Little restaurants and cafes are popping up all over the place. I’m feeling a little more comfortable with the idea of going out because we’re becoming our own little community.
On Friday evening after work, Anne and I headed over to Soda Bar on Vanderbilt pretty early—they have a happy hour special until 8 PM which includes half-price drinks. Their tap selection included over eight beers, from Blue Moon to Arrogant Bastard (only $3 for happy hour). They also had a cider called Original Sin, which is always quite delicious. The bar used to be an ice cream parlor in the ’30s, and I’m sure the original owners would be happy to see it alive and kicking with after-work hipsters. There is a back patio with about 20 tables, serviced by one bitter-yet-vaguely-amenable waitress for the lot of them. We didn’t sample the food, which, in case you couldn’t tell where this is going, led to my extreme intoxication a few Blue Moon/ciders in.
We walked back toward our apartment and decided to stop in the Franklin Park beer garden on St. John’s between Franklin and Classon (a couple blocks from our place). The outdoor area was crowded, so we walked through it to get to the bar, which, even though it is inside, still has a patio feel because of the railroad set-up. It was coming upon 10 PM at this point, and while the outside was full, the bar never got too crowded during our next couple of hours. It was laid back and had a better atmosphere than Soda, and Franklin Park also has a half-price happy hour until 7 PM. The beer selection, like that at Soda, was an improvement from most bars I’ve been to in Manhattan—a little more variety and for a slightly better price. In both places, the servers/bartenders were pretty indifferent to our existence, yet willing to serve us when we were ready. And we were ready a lot.
After some intense conversations due to drinking way too much beer on empty tummies, we laughed, we cried, and then we decided to forage for food. On the way back to our place, we stopped for take-out at a tiny little Mexican joint called Chevella’s. The inside is cramped, but cute nonetheless, and is probably worth dining in some day. We sat on the outside bench waiting and I attempted to drunkenly pet a large dog while its owners judged me in Spanish (the language of judgment is universal). I got enchiladas in green sauce, which came with rice and black beans, for 10 bucks, and we headed home. Their food was simple—corn tortillas, chicken, and spicy sauce. While good, it was then that I realized that Mexican isn’t my drunken food desire—when are we going to get a McDonald’s over here? Then I will know that we have made it.