Midtown Happy Hour: Cheap Beer and Free Porcine Pleasures at Rudy’s
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week we’ll post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap. This week’s bar is Rudy’s, a Hell’s Kitchen establishment from Commenter Mamacita. It’s not as exciting as the strip club lunch she wrote about, but there are free hot dogs!
Opened in the 1930s and a neighborhood staple, Rudy’s Bar is probably one of my favorite bars in the city. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment seeing as how I pride myself on going to as many seedy gin-joints and dingy hole in the walls as possible. Rudy’s is a bit of a dive. It’s dimly lit and not so clean, and it lacks the pretense and affectation of so many cocktail bars around this city. This is a good thing. Most importantly, the bar has a freaking 6-foot smiling pig out front. Can there be a better mascot for us gluttons and freeloaders?
If the fiberglass pig doesn’t lure you in, the cheap pitchers starting at $7 and the free hot dogs will. Yes, the porcine delights don’t just stop at the door. Rudy’s offers up those complimentary franks from their electric roller grill, 7-11 style. Uptight vegi-types take heed: these lovely, glistening wieners fill the bar with their mouth watering processed-pork aroma. So take in a deep breath while you take down a pitcher. The beer selection is large and remarkably good, probably a marker of its growing popularity with the suits and hipsters. Yet you still get a good dose of crotchety old-timers pissing away the afternoon while watching a game on the tube. Back to the brews (prices are for pitchers): the namesake Rudy’s Blonde Ale ($7) or Red Ale ($9) are favorites. The other beers on tap include “Shock Tap” Belgium white ($12), Kona Pale Ale ($12), Bud, Miller, Michelob (all $9) and a changing seasonal brew ($12). You can also find your usual suspects of hard liquors and canned beers like Guinness ($4) and Yuengling ($2.50). And for those of you who prefer water, O’Douls ($3) is also served.
Your drink and dog in hand, you can belly-up to the trough… er… I mean bar, or if you prefer your booze al fresco you can step out back to their stone-paved patio. On nice summer nights this is a perfect option. The bar is also lined with red booths for you to settle into. The booths have a certain je ne sais quoi to them; I like to call it duct tape. Lots and lots of red duct tape. Like sedimentary layers, throughout the years and beers these cushions have been fixed and smoothed over with a stratum of fire engine red adhesive. Some might call it shoddy, others might call it creative. I call it being fiscally responsible.
A thorough bar review is not concluded without a full report on the facilities. The old jukebox which featured cool jazz music has unfortunately been replaced by one of those ghastly internet boxes. In the wrong drunken hands the end result can be a jarring mixture of different music genres and billboard hits that inevitably disappoint. Ladies, you’ll be pleased to know that the bathrooms are surprisingly clean and come equipped with a jet engine powered hand dryer to beat out all hand dryers.
So, what more is there to say? 9th Avenue may be a bit out of bounds for some midtown lunchers, but hey you weren’t planning on going back to work were you??
The + (What a patron of this fine establishment might say)
- Free hot dogs! In this economy how could you resist?
- I love cheap beer!
- Piece of Chicken is just blocks away and I want to resemble that fiberglass pig!
- I love dim-lit dives with character!
- Thank God I can go to the bathroom without holding my breath!
The — (What a snob person who doesn’t like this bar might say)
- I don’t eat meat, nor do I want to smell it while having a drink, thank you very much!
- I prefer cocktails and a Sex in the City vibe
- The booths gross me out
- That fat man over there drinking himself to death grosses me out
- I’m on a diet
Rudy’s Bar and Grill, 627 9th Ave. (btw. 44+45th), 212-974-9169
Photos and post by Mamacita.