The Bar: Lit

06/22/2005 12:00 AM |

93 Second Ave, 212-777-7987
Extras: Live music, gallery, and a cozy, dungeon atmosphere

Because this is a book preview issue, we thought it’d be cute to review a literary bar. What’s the next Sam Remo or White Horse Tavern where the next great young poet will drink himself to death? Turns out the upcoming poets these days are scattered throughout the Midwest, teaching MFA workshops for six hours a week. When they fall off their barstool, will anyone be there to remember? My eyes mist at the thought.

It was also disappointing to realize Lit isn’t named after a freshman year survey course, but a fire that consumed the building before the present owners. There’s nothing literary here, but in its dark and damp ambience, Lit achieves a pulpy quality. The bar is two floors, with the main bar on the top floor, and the Fusion Gallery in the back. Downstairs, where live bands and DJs entertain nightly for a $5 cover, the stone walls and dim lit candles may make some feel claustrophobic enough to beg the king upstairs for a reprieve. But the dungeon is a unique space, especially when the music is hard. It almost makes you want to be lashed as well as chained to the walls (in a good way).

Lit advertises itself as a community center for alternative-style expression, and its music and art fulfill that. Supposedly this bar has become quite the locus for indie filmmakers and rockers, however I wouldn’t look too closely for Interpol on a Friday night. The sometimes teeming crowd looks mostly like your run-of-the-mill East Village mix of hip, rich and too drunk. But at least someone is putting these people in the dungeon where they all belong.