Stumble Drunk Through Times Square With Takeout Beer From Pronto Pizza
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. This week, the Happy Hour Post is good enough to double as a regular Midtown Lunch post. And quite frankly, what better way to kick off Memorial Day Weekend with a lunch of pizza and takeout beer in a soda cup!
There are almost more Pronto Pizzas in Midtown than there are generic delis. If you are in the mood for dodgy free street sushi you can go to the one on 55th St. If you are yearning to bite down on a terrible looking gyro, then head to one of the two Prontos on 48th (I don’t know what the other one is good for.) But if cheep-ass beer and pizza in an … umm … “unpretentious” atmosphere is what you’re looking for, than the 41st Street Pronto is the dive for you!
Pronto Bar is the place you go to when you are ready to go postal on the tourists in Times Square and need to run away, or when you are desperately seeking a safe haven from the bleak misery of a maddening job. I can pretty much guarantee that whether you come here for a beer or a slice, for lunch or for dinner you will not run into you boss. That is, unless you work retail or in the service industry. In that case I’m pretty sure your boss will let you buy him a drink.
The pizza parlor and bar are divided apart squarely down the middle all the way to the back by a short median with seating on both sides. Just like The Force, there’s a light side and a dark side. On the right is a shadowed bar and on the left you have a bright pizza parlor. Greeting you at the entrance is a big burly gentleman, just chilling on a chair —all laid back and casual. He seemed like a bouncer, but the whole time I was there he was just flirting with the ladies/greeting people, but not actually getting up or doing anything else.
I sat on the dark side (naturally) and found out that all tap beer was $3.50 a pint. We ordered a few Peronis and Blue Moons. All are pints came in Yankee’s glasses, so Met fans might want to look the other way. Sadly, Pronto is only a deal for beer and pizza. A premium martini rings up at $11 and top shelf mixed drinks are $8. But really, you are in a cheap pizza joint. Do you want a martini with your fat cheesy slice? No! You know what you do want?? The take out beer special! Oh yeah, for $5 you get a Big Gulp filled with draft beer, but only from the cashier on the pizza side. Your beer comes hidden deceptively with a Coke label. Perfect for those drunken strolls through Times Square. A straw is included; cause that’s just good manners when drinking your booze out of 32 ounce container.
The pizza itself is nothing to rave about but gets the job done. Obviously this Pronto is not about serving NY’s best slice. Plain cheese slices are $2.50 and what you get is a thick doughy crust and tons of greasy cheese. The mushroom and pepperoni slice I had were more than enough to fill me up.
What I most enjoyed were the patrons. The crowd is a lively and gregarious bunch with zero pretension. As I was leaving I remembered I needed a photo of the inside. As I tried to take one all these guys exuberantly jumped out of their booths and asked to be in the photo and invited us to party with them. So this pretty much sums up a Friday night at Pronto:
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- $3.50 drafts
- Sucking on a $5 big gulp of Blue Moon beer while heading home on the subway: priceless!
- Very much a local hangout with blue collar and retail workers
- Big slices of pizza to go with your cheap beer
- Great place to grab a drink anytime, with friends or if you need to escape the office
- Friendly customers that will invite you to party with them over a pitcher of beer
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Expensive mixed drinks
- I don’t drink beer
- Drinking beer out of a straw in big disposable cup is pretty ghetto, no thanks
- There are way better places to get a slice of pizza than here
Pronto Pizza & Bar, 135 West 41st St. (btw. 6th+B’way)