Art Bar: a place I spend practically half my life in due to its proximity to the L train in the West Village, and 2-for 1 happy hour. Apparently, it’s a West Village staple, having been around for the past 15 years,. For me, it’s a beacon of light surrounded by a sea of uber expensive douchebag spots of the meatpacking district, and the sketchy and college-y pubs that scatter the area.
It’s pretty unassuming and yet comfortable enough to not be considered a dive. They’ve got a good sized bar, booths, and an area in the back with big comfy couches, chairs, and coffee tables, which is really good for big groups, even though it can be a bit annoying to find yourself next to one if you are not in one yourself. But if you can endure the rogue group and the semi-surly waitresses and bartenders (definitely better than Beatrice Inn! Oh, right, didn’t that close?), it’s even a pretty good place to take someone you want to spend some alone time with. Overall, though, it’s pretty much my go-to bar for the area, especially after work. Plus, it’s also pretty great if you want to get a snack or dinner while drinking-nothing outstanding, but pretty decent and a definitely a step above all-greasy/fried pub food..
I’ve spent about half of my after-work, before-home life at Art Bar for a few years, but somehow there are still some mysteries and/or strange facts that still puzzle me. Thusly, here they are:
1. Since the name of the bar is called “Art Bar,” why, paradoxically, does it have the world’s worst art displayed? I get that it’s from local artists, but, like is that the best they could do? Really? A gargantuan-sized rendering of the Last Supper featuring Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Elvis, etc. sprawling the furthest back wall- that’s the best original local art you could find? Maybe it’s all meant to be ironic? Discuss. Better yet, discuss with your possibly awkward-silence filled first date, should you take them there (instead of the similar yet pricier Tavern On Jane).
2. Why does Art Bar’s website seem simultaneously professional and yet incredibly uninformative? Just what are they trying to hide? The”Last Supper”, perhaps? Then why is it there? Spooky.
3. This first one so much of a mystery as it is purposely misleading. Their 2-for-1 Happy Hour special sign above the bar reads something like this: (I can’t, unfortunately, recall the EXACT wording, but this is the general idea):
Happy Hour 2-for-1 special on
weekdays 4-7pm. Well drinks and beer
on tap only. Something something something
something something something….
Basically, if you look at it quickly, because of the semi-random line breaks, and the superfluous amount of words, you’ll probably only notice the “2-for-1″ and “beer” parts, and not so much anything else. So don’t make the mistake of getting bottled beer during the hours of 4-7pm. My only rationale for the strange deceptive sign is that they made the sign like that to fool you into not taking advantage of the happy hour. I dunno, YOU be the judge and find out for yourself.
4. Why is there a jukebox if the bartender just plays stuff from her ipod? Why don’t they just turn it off? I guess this doesn’t just apply to this bar, but, seriously, what happens to the money people put into the machine that never gets them their request for anything but “Riders On The Storm” (for some reason, no matter what bartender it is, this song almost guaranteed to be played at some point while you’re there).
5. No matter how crowded it can sometimes be, I can always get seats. Always. I have no idea how or why, I would just like this phenomenon to continue.
6. Why the split personality between the bar/booth area and the back couches area? You would really never guess that such a comfy lounge was in the back judging by the front. And the only “art” to be found is in the said back area. I just always wonder why there is zero continuity between the two, given each space is awesome.
Anyway, it’s definitely worth you checking out if you’re in the area. If for nothing else, to pontificate on these craaaaazy mysteries! For those of you who’ve been there, can you think of any more unexplained phenomena?