Monday, July 02, 2012

Reviewing the Peter McManus Cafe

I spent several days in NYC recently, then the Tour de France started.  Thus the dearth of posts.  Sorry.  I promise to do better.

While in NY, I stopped by my old watering hole, the famous Peter McManus Cafe.  Nothing was in any way different than it previously had been.  Which is a good thing in a bar.  One thing led to another and I told Howie the bartender that I'd call him in a couple of days to schedule something.  So several days later I needed to get the phone number of the bar, googled it, got to the Yelp site, got to the number, made the call.  Then I started looking at the reviews.

Wow.  You can see them here.  Three and a half stars, all things considered, is pretty good.  My favorite review was this 3-star review:

The best part of this place is the service. The bartenders are attentive and considerate. I can't say the same for the clientele.

The beer options on tap are good options. I was happy to have Harp (it's rare to find it on tap back home in Chicago bars).

I visited this joint with a friend mid-evening (between 6-7pm) on a Thursday afternoon and it wasn't that full. The place had a weird mix of young guys just off work (?), older folks, and
one random guy who was commissioning bar patrons to sign his painting. By the time we left around 8:30pm-ish, the place was filling up quickly.

One thing to note: When we got our check, it was a hand-written tab without prices. When we asked how much for was for each of us, he seemd to pull a number out of a hat, "$12!". I am sure he's worked there long enough (or maybe he's the owner/manager?) to know the prices off the top of his head, but I though it was a little strange.

Anyway, it's a pretty good spot if you're in the area.

GIRLS: The girls bathroom is a total joke. It's pretty gross, even for a dive bar. Tip: hold down the handle on the toilet to get it to flush all the way. Gross, yeah - I know.

I'll call your specific attention to the part in yellow, which is fun.  I would also add that I don't "commission" people to write on the paintings (suggesting that I give them money to do so).  I ask them to write on the paintings.

Most of the negative reviews cite rudeness by the waitress staff.  Me?  It's hard for me to comment, given two things:  First, my mother always told me keep my mouth shut at the strategically appropriate moments.  Second, I'm a long-time regular and am basically treated fabulously.  So I choose not to judge.

Many of the good reviews mention some version of the "neighborhood bar", which is part and parcel of Nora Ephron's theory that NYC is really a collection of small neighborhoods.  I will say this:  if either of my kids were ever stuck in New York, in some kind of a bind, and needed 50 bucks, I know they could go to McManus, tell the bartender who they were, and they'd leave with the necessary cash.

And if that isn't a neighborhood bar, I don't know what is.


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