Midtown Happy Hour: The Bull Moose Saloon is BYOA
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 our one and only Happy Hour Correspondent Mamacita (yes, the commenters managed to scare off our other contributor) hits up the Bull Moose, the perfect place for “a fat man looking for fried cheap eats.” Now that sounds like somebody I know…
At first glance the Bull Moose Saloon seems like a nondescript sports bar that happens to be owned by the same people behind Dave’s Tavern. As you enter to your left there are a few TV screens on the wall above the bar and a billiard table to your right. Little cafeteria tables stretch out in front of a kitchen that serves up all things fried and fatty (calm down Zach we’ll get to that.) But the big surprise comes when you walk upstairs and find a forlorn cocktail room with tables and tall glass windows offering a gorgeous view of… well… nothing really, mostly the side of the building across the street, and of course a large horned moose mounted on the wall. To add to the discord, the men’s room is at the main bar floor and the women’s room is upstairs and decorated with a striking shabby-chic antique vanity with a gilded Victorian mirror. The Bull is definitely a BYOA establishment: Bring Your Own Atmosphere. But what it lacks in ambiance it compensates in cheap beer and food.
Bull Moose has some good things going for it; one of them is the bartender. If you like having a bartender that’ll recognize you, and remember what your poison is, and when you’re 3/4th down on your drink will know that “Fuck Yeah” you want another and make it for you before you need to ask, well then, Bill at the Bull is your guy. Only tending on Mondays and Tuesdays before the night shift (which usually starts at 7pm), Bill is well seasoned in the noble art of bartending. He formerly worked at the infamous, yet loved, Holland Bar then moved to Bull Moose after Holland closed due to some structural difficulties. And by “structural difficulties” I mean the building was literally going down faster than a shooter, and about to sink into the basement. The flooring was about to collapse, very much like its cirrhosis-addled patrons, so Bill is now at the Bull ready to strike up a conversation and quick to check on your drink. However, we are not here to fawn over bartenders (unless they’re in schoolgirl uniforms, naturally.)
With Bill at the bar’s helm, I took advantage of a few great happy hour specials. From 11am to 7pm they have $3 domestic pints including your basic Bud and Coors including the namesake Bull Moose Amber and some $4 drafts. Additionally, from 4pm to 7pm there’s $1 dollar off all drinks. I ordered the happy hour hot wings that were 25 cents per wing/drumstick and included a side of celery and carrot sticks (I’m health conscious after all) and plenty of thick creamy dipping sauce. My friend ordered the potato skins topped with cheddar and bacon, including a side of sour cream, for about $6 dollars. Both plates came out piping hot and delicious. The wings were crispy enough and slathered with hot sauce, and the potato skins were loaded with enough cheese and bacon to make a vegan cry. Even on an empty stomach (save for beer) they filled us up.
Other food items include chili dogs, nachos, burgers, chicken fingers, and ribs. Together we had a few rounds of whiskey sodas and Bull Moose beer to wash it all down. I even had a buy back on my third drink! In general the Bull will not wow anyone, except maybe a fat man looking for fried cheap eats. What it does have is a great space with the option of pool, games on the tube, cheap eats and lounging with a large group on the top level. Even if you’re going solo there are friendly regulars at the bar to keep you company and of course a great bartender to take care of you.
And now the blurry +/-
THE + (What someone would like about this bar)
- Hot and cheap bar food
- Good domestic beer specials, plus a $1 off every drink 4-7pm
- Nice and friendly bartenders
- Pool table
- Plenty of space for drunken revelry upstairs
THE – (What someone wouldn’t like about this bar)
- There pretty much only greasy food on the menu
- This bar has probably never seen a cocktail shaker
- Let’s admit it, it’s a dive
- Little ambiance, if any
- Not a pick up joint
Bull Moose Saloon 354 W 44th St. (btw. 8+9th), 212-956-5625
Photos and post by Mamacita