It’s the same in every city really, the locals lament the days gone by when it used to be cool, before the hipsters and yuppies came and ruined everything. Luckily, there are still a few punk bars standing in the East Village that even those of us who grew up in the area can admit are still cool. On a recent Friday night I did a little bar-hopping with Lani Ford (from the bands STARK and Tanya and the Revolutionaries). It was just as a Friday night should be (when your band doesn’t have a gig of course): old punks, young punks, cheap beer, a little drama, friends you haven’t seen in ages and a stop at a bodega for more cigarettes.
We started at Manitoba’s, where you can get 2-for-1 happy hour drinks and the bartenders fit right in with the vibe in the bar. Handsome Dick doesn’t come around as much anymore but checking out all his memorabilia on the walls is as good as visiting a punk museum. You can even buy a Handsome Dick Manitoba bobblehead doll to take home for $20. Downstairs, it takes just four quarters to play a friendly game of air hockey — and you’d better keep it friendly because the table doesn’t quite keep accurate score.
The next stop was Three of Cups, and later we ended the night at Double Down Saloon, where the beer cozy that Lani had waiting in her bag made an appearance.
Earlier in the week I caught a great show and met one of my heroes, Sean Yseult, at Otto’s Shrunken Head, and coming up soon you’ll get to see Raven, one of the founding members of legendary hardcore punk band Murphy’s Law, showing us his sketches at Manitoba’s on a different night. Punk’s not dead in NYC, but we have to do our part to keep it alive — and that includes hanging out with your friends at the cool punk bars that are still kicking! Not too tough, is it?!
— Miss Psychobilly Bass