Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bar Spotlight (Football Season Edition): The Hairy Monk - Sox In The City

The Hairy Monk
337 Third Avenue (corner of 25th Street)

In the next few spotlights, since we're in New York and there are certainly plenty of bars that pay respects to the Giants and Jets, there are many bars (including say Cody's or Kettle of Fish, which the Steelers play a prominent factor in their Sunday business in the former, and Packers fans can enjoy a cold Magners at the latter) that cater to the displaced fan. I've been trying to tap bars that don't have a particular fan base but are just good for all the games. However, certainly we can acknowledge a few bars that are particular to a team that doesn't play home games at the Meadowlands. Places like Calico Jacks/McFaddens, Town Tavern, Phebes, all of which I will hopefully profile over the coming weeks.

Again, I understand the UES has a lot of great sports bars; it's the only thing they have really. Going further south is like simply getting better; by the time you hit Gramercy you can enjoy what the east side above 14th street has to offer. The Hairy Monk is situated right on 3rd Ave. and 25th, and there's a lot to enjoy about this place....if you like red sox, are very patriotic, or have a bit of Celtic pride in ya. Since I have to admit I'm a huge Patriots fan, I'm starting off these team-specific places with HM because, well, it hits closer to home.

The worst thing about this bar is not really bad at all; New York fans who come to the bar usually get REALLY obnoxious and to tell you the truth, it pisses a lot of people off at the bar, including the staff, who are all Boston fans. It's one thing to root for your team, but to know that it's THE Boston bar in Manhattan, and yelling crap is just kinda silly. But nevertheless it's entertaining, just this past Thursday this dude was just fuming because of the suit-ish casual Jets fans who were standing on the chairs and being douches.

The Hairy Monk features Pats games, but having access to all the games they will switch a couple of the smaller TVs to other games especially divisional ones (there are some Dolphins and Jets fans who show up).

Anywho, so moving on to the specifics of the bar. It's not too roomy and on Sunday it's a really tough sell to grab any sort of space that has a good vantage point, but the TVs are well placed at the bar and across from it; there are two huge flat screens that fans huddle around. Paths to walk through are very few but most people are obliging. The tables section provides even less room but the projection screen gives those with less than perfect eyesight a huge canvas to watch the games on. It gets somewhat warm unless they throw the air conditioning on, and there is quite a bit of jostling for position. The blue, yellow, and woodsy colors give it a nice afternoon glow.

The bar itself is old timey and done up like a cozy tavern, some memorabilia, some pictures, and a hell of a lot of taps to choose a great pint of Newcastle or Sam Seasonal. They serve everything in the king's pints (imperial pints, or, in homage to Role Models, "venti") which makes for more beer but they also inflate the price to 6 bucks. Most of the staff is really nice (probably because I'm a Pats fan) although a little absent minded at times. Sundays are rough, they usually have two 'tenders working the bar but even that it's about 3 rows deep of pending orders. The digi jukebox isn't on for the games but you might want to throw on a couple of songs to pump up the crowd.

The food is ok for pub grub; the burgers are hit or miss, and the fish and chips are decent, but their appetizers like nachos and chicken fingers and mozz sticks are pretty good. And they serve a full Irish breakfast which can be fun if you're looking to power up the Sunday brunch (the weekend brunches are until 4:30pm and include 2 drinks). The most interesting thing is their fries; they aren't french fries but little potato wafers that are sometimes awesome, sometimes a bit bland (the shape isn't condusive to catching a sprinkling of salt).

For Sundays, they have a wings and Bud/Bud light draft special, basically if I remember correctly it's 3 wings for a dollar but you have to order at least 9. And you can do an all you can drink with the aforementioned pints for 5 or 6 bucks. But don't quote me on that because it's not listed really. Like I said, they have better stuff on tap so you might be swayed to drink something of a stronger caliber.

This has been famous for being a longstanding Boston bar; I think it's pretty ballsy to be so outright about it in a town where Boston is really put through the ringer on a lot of things, but they flaunt it and defend it strongly and I respect that. To me it's not about the food or drink, it's the communal aspect of gathering fans of an unpopular town to one place, and you always get that underdog feeling and at the same time, the warm feeling in the place is more palpable for it.

For more info, go to their official website: Hairy Monk Official Site

Or check out the reviews on Yelp: Hairy Monk On Yelp

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