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Karaoke and Dudes with Weird Muppets at Winnie’s in Chinatown

Updated: Apr 18, 2016 17:08
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This originally appeared in Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in New York. Out of my 3 books, it is without a doubt the best.

With $5 Budweisers, this place goes against one of the basic tenets of Broke-Assdom, that the cheapest beer in a place should cost no more than $4.  But in extreme circumstances, like Winnie’s, such tenets can be overlooked.  Mike, Maleeha and I walked in here after a long night of research, and an old drunk Chinese guy (who we found out was the owner) was wrestling another old drunk Chinese guy off his barstool.  Besides old, grappling, drunk Chinese guys, the bar was filled with young cool looking kids (not being standoffish), other random unclassifiable drinkers and karaoke-ers.

In fact karaoke is one of the main reasons people come to Winnie’s.  It’s $1 per song and when no one is singing there are these weird little original Nintendo looking birds dancing around the screen (which is a big 50 inch TV from the 90’s).  And the karaoke screen not only has words, but also has low-budget late 80’s/early 90’s music videos made not by the bands, but instead specifically for the underground karaoke world.  Their quality is a half-step below late night HBO soft-core porn.  And the songs/videos are all on laserdisc too!  This place is so amazing.  The booths are big and can hold seven or more people and somewhere at the end of our stay a guy came in with a giant blue Muppet.  When all of these things happen in one night, and nobody bats an eye, it says one thing: Winnie’s is where god lives.


104 Bayard btw Baxter & Mulberry Sts.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

1 Comment

  1. […] and then go man handle the tourist.  I also love classic spots like the Subway Inn in the UES and Winnie’s in Chinatown.  While doing the research for my NYC book I found myself in these kinds of places a […]