Midtown Happy Hour: Celebrating at Bamboo 52
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. Today, Mamacita hands the reins over to (former Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er) Blondie, from Blondie and Brownie, to tell us about Bamboo 52- where she and Brownie had their One Year Blog-versary party on Wednesday night. Congrats ladies on a great first year! (It seems like you’ve been around much longer…)
When Brownie and I decided a boozy celebration was in order for our blog-versary, we couldn’t decide on the proper place for happy hour. Should we venture out to somewhere new and possibly awesome, or should we stick to an old tried-and-true? Tried and true won out and we ended up at Bamboo 52, a girly Theater District lounge with an identity crisis.
Like many of the drinking establishments in that weird land between Midtown and Hells Kitchen, Bamboo tries to appeal to a large demographic: tourists, Midtowners, matinee ladies, bridge-and-tunnel folk, basically anyone on their way home from work, or on their way to a musical (jazz hands). Bamboo’s schtick is sushi and a 9-hour happy hour. I’m a proponent of the latter. It’s a pretty decent happy hour if you know the unwritten rule: stick to the mixed drinks, they’re basically the only things ½ off. Don’t buy beer, sake, or shots and you’re good.
And yes, there is a drink called “Sugar Dong” towards the bottom of the menu
For me, that means rounds of the Volcano (rum, 151, and juice) because I love kitschy tiki head glasses, and 151. Their drinks menu fits with a Latin-Asian-Midtown fusion theme, lots of sake and then a frozen margarita thrown in for Betsy from Oklahoma. (Note to self: mojitos and sushi do not mix.) I’m willing to overlook this confusion for $4 mixed drinks, especially when the bartenders tend to be heavy-handed with the ladies.
As opposed to the drinks menu, the food is most decidedly Japanese. Unfortunately for my liver, the happy hour specials don’t apply to their food. This is usually my excuse to not eat anything and get drunk faster, and I would have kept to this if it hadn’t been for all of our blog-versary treats (thanks to Yvo for being cupcakes from Crumbs, Treats Truck for sending chocolate chip cookies, and Niko for the whippets.)
Mainly because I feel bad eating outside food without ordering something, I did get the ridiculously overpriced shrimp shumai, while Brownie picked out the fried chicken roll. The shumai were “meh” while the fried chicken wasn’t half bad. It was fried chicken and rice, it’s hard to hate on that.
What disappoints me most about Bamboo is it doesn’t live up to its potential. It has a gorgeous outside garden, but it’s hidden in the back and off to the side. It would be perfectly fine as a lounge, if the music wasn’t blaring and a bad mix of late 70s-early 80s pop. And then there’s the crowd which can range from just plain Midtown happy hour to yuppie to a sea of douches, all in one evening. If only they’d put up some tiki torches and started roasting a pig out back, you’d see me show up at 5:05 each evening.
Yay, my first +/-
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- $4 mixed drinks and crazy cocktails from noon to 9pm is pretty sweet.
- You can easily bring large groups here without reserving ahead.
- Few things are better than drinking in outdoors when it’s nice out.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The crowd can quickly turn into a douchebag Hall of Fame
- There are no happy hour food specials!
- Are you a lounge? Are you a sushi joint? Are you Latin?
Bamboo 52, 344 West 52nd St. (btw. 8+9th) 212-315-2777
Photos and post by Blondie from Blondie and Brownie