Midtown Happy Hour: Subway Inn
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 Subway Inn, a hygenically dubious bar in Midtown East…
What hasn’t already been said about this celebrated yet inconspicuous bar? The Subway Inn has been the stumbling ground for crowd-weary and thirsty locals since 1937. In sharp contrast to its neighbor (the regal Bloomingdales) Subway Inn is small, dark and dirty. Many an old-timer has made their dent on those bar stools and all these years later you can still find some sitting on their favorite seat.
I have to admit, it had been a while since I last visited. I think it may have been in 2004 and at that point the bar still truly belonged to the hunched drunkards and working class Joes. Subway Inn had yet to see the dive bar fame that has popularized many a bar in the past few years. The ceiling back then, as I recall, was heavily textured with fuzzy stalactites of greasy dust bunnies. This filth proceeded to cascade down the walls with its shaggy smut only to be stopped by the backs and shoulders of its happy denizens.
Needless to say, I was overdue for a visit so I made my pilgrimage to Subway on a dreary early afternoon with a group of friends. Most of us had Yuengling, bottled, for $4.50. I also ordered a vodka and soda for $5. Some things have changed at the Subway. The owners took a swiffer to the place and added some arcade games and a nice large flat screen TV, but other charms are still the same. My girlfriend told us her story from the last time she was here drinking late: turns out there was a group of middle-agers drunk off their noodle and talking, laughing and dancing on the floor. One â€˜chick’ was passed out with her head on the table when she suddenly started to hurl all over the tabletop. Her friends finally noticed and swabbed all the puke into an empty shopping bag then proceed to continue drinking and reveling long into the night.
For us it was still too early to see any thing like that, but as you know when drinking with a good group of friends it’s inevitable that you’ll stay later than you thought. Luckily, 2 storefronts down there is Mariella Pizza (151 E. 60th St). The place does good business and the manager loves to chat up every skirt that he rings up. In addition, he also willingly gives out his business card and yes ladies, he does indeed deliver, just call.
A friend and I ordered a meatball parm and a grandma slice to share for $9.50. I would normally say that this place is good for convenient beer ballast, but not anything I’d walk too far for. However, that would put me at odds with Oprah and Gayle who apparently think that Mariella has the best pizza in America!! Well then, I take it all back! Sign me up for that book club too!!!
The last thing I’ll leave you gentle readers with is this: Ladies employ your best hover technique when going to the loo. The wooden seat has seen the wear and tear of what I dare not imagine and as a public service I don’t want you to get splinters.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
Directly outside the subway entrance: Perfect for your drunken yet stealthy escape! Decent drinking value considering the mink fur clad are at your door Lunchtime martini(s) with little chance of getting caught by the boss? You bet!! Ball and Chain want to drag you along for shopping at Bloomys? Perfect! (“Um yeah, I’m just going to look at the men’s department honey”)
THE - (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
Smelly old dive bar (oddly enough the bar smells worse than the can… at least in the afternoon Hygienically Dubious! I am not sitting in that booth!
Subway Inn, 143 E. 60th St. (btw. Lex+3rd Ave.)
Photos and post by Mamacita