Midtown Happy Hour: Get Your Haggis On at St. Andrews
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, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will 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- although in this case, the “chaep” part seems to be ignored. Thankfully she ate some haggis to make up for that.
In a late celebration of Robert Burns Day (the birthday of the national poet of Scotland) we headed out this week to the only Scottish bar in NYC, St Andrews, to commemorate the holiday with some haggis. Now St. Andrews is a rather upscale bar and restaurant, especially if you consider the places I’ve reviewed before. There is casual seating in the front, a long bar stretching along the right wall and a formal dinning in the back room. In keeping with its namesake, golf paraphernalia is festooned upon the walls.
The Scotch list is long and covers a wide range of single malts categorized by region from Islay, Lowland, Speyside, and Campbeltown and all points in between. Also present are many Scottish draught beers and even some from Ireland and England (hey, we can all get along right?). If that was not enough they also have approximately 100 different bottled beers including a few American, German and Belgian. St. Andrews is also home of the kilted bartenders. In due respect to Zach, I did not check if said kilts were worn regimental. I’m sure he is delighted not to have that pic in his inbox!
The bar was crowded with many post-work businessmen and a few UK ex-pats. I found a spot and ordered a Harviestoun “Old Engine Oil” for $6.75. It was black, rich and smooth. My companion ordered a Fullers London Pride ($7) and a couple other friends ordered Stoli drinks ($8). Most beers start at $6 and Scotch is priced according to the age and quality, which is fair. The flyte of the month was a Glenlivet 12 year, 15 year, and 18 year for $20 bucks. You can do worse, but enough of this! Let’s talk haggis!
When I thought of haggis I imagined a pungent sac of offal. A mushy pudding of sheep’s innards all wrapped up in its own stomach casting or at least slopped up into a bowl like gruel. I was expecting, hell, I was demanding the worst. What appeared before us was a beautifully layered torte. Mashed potatoes, ground organs, and â€˜neeps’ ($10.95). It actually tasted fantastic.
Also ordered were ½ dozen fresh oysters of the day (12.95), a turkey club (13.95), tandoori chicken skewers (9.95), and crispy calamari (13.95). All were pricey but tasted good. The winner (aside from the haggis) was surprisingly the hand cut fries. We finished off with another round and headed out.
Now for a little +/-,
THE + (What someone who likes this place would say)
- Men and women in kilts, awesome!
- I love good Scotch and beer and this place has a staggering amount of both (it also helps if money is no obstacle)
- Lovely place to have an upscale dinner and drink with coworkers or a date: “Scottish cuisine? Who knew!”
- Lots of lovely UK accents
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Much to pricey for your usual after work tipple
- No happy hour deal! What is up with that?
- Nouveau haggis! (AKA Updated for the American palate)
- Too crowded and though the staff is friendly, they are inattentive
- Clientele is a little too corporate
- Not your local hangout
St. Andrews, 120 W 44th St. (btw. 6th Ave and Broadway), 212-840-8413