105 Eldridge St, 212-334-6740
Cheapest Drink: Happy hour, 2 to 8pm daily: $3 beers, well drinks, and house wine.
Most Expensive Drink: $75 bottle of Henriot
Overheard: “I saw them play once. A lot of neck tattoos and probation collars.” [In reference to Judas Priest]
People who spend a fair amount of time in bars come to expect a specific set of particulars. Some folks go for a certain kind of music, and to be a part of a certain scene; others look for a nice pour, familiar faces, and dank lighting where they can hide their booze-pickled faces. Personally, I stand somewhere in the middle of all that, and so does Fontana’s.
A nice partner bar to nearby hipster haven, Happy Ending, Fontana’s four women owners have bestowed upon its customers a little bit of everything — and the venue provides enough space to do it. The walls are adorned in cartoonish artwork of rock stars, muscle cars, and pinup girls hanging over several red leather half-moon booths, all of which sits across from a really long-ass bar. The bar features 12 drafts, including a personal favorite… deliciously creamy Boddingtons. I’d have been quite satisfied with stopping there, but this place keeps going. Past a very good jukebox, Megatouch, and the ATM machine, there’s another room with a round bar, spiffy chandelier, and more booths. Look up, and there’s a balcony with more seating. Turn right, and there’s a blue-felt pool table in a room sans bar. Head downstairs and there’s a stage for bands, bathrooms, and yet another bar. If there were such a thing (and by all means there should be), the drunk-o-lympics could be held here, no problem.
Things are so pleasant at Fontana’s you’ll want to stay and go for the gold (i.e. slurring, slobbering, etc.) As said before, the jukebox is righteous. They break out the Led, Ministry, and the Supersuckers and lots of indie stuff, too… until DJs or bands come along. As of now they’re just starting to book bands, so expect entertainment that’ll only set you back five bucks. This place isn’t at all pretentious, and not quite overwhelmed with beautiful youth — yet. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that when the LES weekend gridlock oozes south of Delancey, Fontana’s will be packed with the kind of crowd you went there specifically to get away from. Take heed. Go early.