Ninth Ward 

click to enlarge PHOTO DANIEL KRIEGER
  • Photo Daniel Krieger

Ninth Ward
180 Second Ave, East Village

As summer fades and New Yorkers carefully tuck away their jorts until next year, it is important that we bask in the last few rays of sunshine before it's time to hibernate in our apartments with just our Netflix subscriptions and Jack Daniels to keep us company. That is why I'm recommending the Ninth Ward. Now, don't get me wrong; the rest of the place is pretty ridiculous. It looks like something that belongs in Disneyland. As I walked into the bar, I half-expected animatronic pirates to start chasing each other around in circles. The fake exteriors inside, the rusty lanterns hanging from thick pieces of rope, the giant sign with the word "Exit" scrawled self-consciously on it, as if Tom Sawyer just happened to stop by with a brush and a bucket of white paint.

Not to mention the name is offensive, the reimaging of a devastated neighborhood as a kind of boozy theme park. So, what exactly is good about this place? That would be the back garden, one of the prettiest in the East Village. Brick walls, draped in green ivy, surround a courtyard dotted with wrought-iron tables. A flowing fountain burbles in the background as a mysterious statue of a veiled woman watches over everything. It all looks like something out of an Anne Rice novel or True Blood, meaning you probably shouldn't go home with any pale strangers you meet here.

Despite the Gothic atmosphere, most of the patrons look harmless, clean-cut gentleman with their blonde girlfriends. Order a New Orleans-brewed Abita from the waitress who is constantly wandering around. There are other beers as well, from the local (Brooklyn Lager) to the low-brow (Bud Light). The bar has a decent cocktail program, serving up Sazeracs and other Louisiana-inspired drinks, as well as a good selection of bourbons. Now, if you're looking for Louisiana prices, you've come to the wrong place; beers here are $7 and you don't even want to know how much you'll pay for a cocktail. Still, when the weather is warm and you're looking for a relaxing place to have a drink, this place aint' half bad. Just ignore it during winter, just like your jorts.

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