Midtown Happy Hour: The Gaf is Good For More Than Just Erotic Photo Hunt

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 she hits up my favorite bar in Hell’s Kitchen and discovers my major happy hour weakness: Nudie Photo Hunt!

The Gaf

The Gaf on W. 48th is the Hell’s Kitchen branch of the popular bar on the UES. It is a local’s bar with enough room to bring the whole office yet casual enough that you don’t feel like you’re in a touristy sports bar. If you live or work in the area, this is your comfortable standby. I was tipped off on this place by commenter Wayne who had these words to share, “The Gaf is one of the few Irish bars in midtown that features a facade that is wide open to the outside…. so you can scope the scene for hotties and enjoy the fresh air too.” I have to agree; I’m also on a summer kick of going to bars that offer fresh air and views of the nightlife.

Little did I know that this was also one of Zach’s old neighborhood haunts- but for a whole other type of eye candy. Gaf has some fun bar games like Big Buck Hunter, darts and the staple of any reputable dive bar: Erotic Photo Hunt! Oh yeah, though Buck Hunter has now gained more prominence in the Williamsburg-hipster community, Erotic Photo Hunt or it’s sister Nude Poker is still a good sign of a old-school dive (sorry boys, pics are in the NSFW territory).

When we arrived the bar was populated by a few 50-somethings men having a pint after what looked like a day out golfing. It was after 8pm, so we just missed the $1 off all drinks, but that was fine because the regular price for drinks were a decent buy- $6 for top shelf mixed drinks and $5 for well drinks. With just an extra $1 for quality drinks I ordered a few Stoli sodas with a twist of lime.

The Gaf

To my delight the party really got going when a bus load of NBC interns and production workers showed up to celebrate the end of a shoot. One guy claimed he had worked on Seinfeld, but maybe he thought we were tourists and was naming off the most widely broadcast NY based show to brag about. Either way, they had money and livers to burn so they ordered at least 3 rounds of SoCo and Lime shots (AKA Southern Comfort and Lime) plus beers. Our accommodating bartender had seen this sort of revelry before and masterfully banged out the shots. It was a free for all, and even some of us got a free shot or two.

The Gaf

As the night went on I found out one the hazards of drinking at a bar with this sort of wild revelry. One of the dartboards is located in direct target of anyone exiting the bathroom door. Maybe a drunken joke, but it’s all fun and games till someone loses an eye. Listen to your Mamita on this one!

The Gaf

The + (what someone who likes this place will say)

  • Great neighborhood bar to have a drink solo or with a gaggle of coworkers
  • Regularly priced drinks are a fair buy at $5-6
  • No bar food, but just a few blocks away is Island Burgers and Shakes to bring to the bar
  • Hell Yeah! Big Buck Hunter and Erotic Photo Hunt!

The – (what someone who dislikes this place will say)

  • If you come to a bar to listen to good music, this is not for you. Just horrible 90’s and 80’s Billboard top hits (though I have to admit, when they played Men at Work I did chuckle)
  • Scene can get a little fratboy heavy
  • The dangers of getting hit by a dart while exiting the bathroom do not appeal to me

The Gaf, 401 W 48th St (just West of 9th Ave.), 212-307-7536

Photos and post by Mamacita


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