7 Ave A, at Houston St, 212-375-1352
Cheapest Drink: $3 bottle of Rheingold; Weekday and Late-Night Specials
Most Expensive Drink: Just stick to the Rheingold
Extras: Great Jukebox. That Guy.
The Library is named for its gimmick, the bookshelves that line its walls underneath an unhealthy-looking drop ceiling. They’re not worth reading — it’s a selection of cast-offs and giveaways so superfluous that it makes the bargain bins outside of the Strand look like, well, the inside of the Strand. Not that you could read, anyway, as what light there is comes mostly from candles in the booths that run along either side of the very narrow, deeply recessed room, painted Twin Peaks red. It’s all vaguely reminiscent of the womb, except that you have to pay for your own booze. There’s plenty of other things to keep occupied with, though, whether it be the vintage video games (is there an Alphabet City hipster bar that doesn’t have Ms. PacMan?), the Z-grade sci-fi movies projected on a screen at the back, or the jukebox that boasts X, the Replacements, Echo and the Bunnymen, and D.I.Y. liner notes such as “Blondie Rules! Blondie Rules! Blondie Rules! Blondie Rules! Blondie Rules! Blondie Rules! Blondie Rules!”, which feels about right, actually.
On weekdays, the low-key clientele sometimes includes an aging and possibly homeless anarchist selling, for a quarter, a homemade CD of rabid spoken-word over Mac-designed beats. Weekends are more crowded, including some spillover from the nearby Mercury Lounge, and representatives of the much-lauded Hip, Urban Demographic tainted slightly by their association with That Guy over there, currently sporting a Kevin Federline beard and a shirt emblazoned with “Great Fuck.” Oh, That Guy. You’re making this too easy.