Rudy’s Bar Now Serving More Than Just Free Hot Dogs

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so every Friday afternoon 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.

Two exciting news items came through the wire from Hell’s Kitchen best dive bar, Rudy’s. First was “There’s new duct tape on the booths!” Sweet! The old tape was getting mighty gummy. Then, the true shocker, “We’re serving food!” Rudy’s bar? Serving something other then greasy wieners?

Let me give you a moment to let that percolate in your mind… Think historic old watering hole… Seats mummified in red duct tape… The fat of a thousand free hotdogs seasoning the rollers of a 7-11 style flat grill… A bar with the thick patina of sweat, tears and stale beers…. Floors that have shuffled in the best of NYC sidewalk effluvia and taint… Now consider a barman cooking you some grub behind this bar, tantalizing isn’t it? Well, thankfully that’s not what you should expect. No cooking is involved here, instead Rudy’s now brings in a pocket-change meal that ideally quells the momentous wrath of a prodigious binge: $1 Fried chicken and a $2.50 bowl of chili with cheese. It’s not healthy but lord knows you’ll need it after a few $7 pitchers of Rudy’s blonde ale.

Rudy’s has cleaned up their booth seating and it has the nice glossy sheen of fresh duct tape. Another new addition is free WiFi. Look at Rudy’s getting all classy!

The back porch is still closed for renovations, but here’s hoping for it to be ready by summer! A few people came in hoping to smoke back there, and a couple left after one of the drunk guys tried to dance with them to a song by Journey on the juke box.

With a pitcher of blonde ale in hand, we asked for a couple of free dogs, with mustard only, and ordered some bowls of chili and chicken. When I visited drumsticks was what they had, so that’s what we got.

It was good and had a nice salty skin, but was room temperature and had lost most of its crispiness. I can’t seem to figure out where they bought it. It might be the same supplier from the $1 chicken at 2 Brothers, but with Piece of Chicken a few blocks away I’d say skip the poultry.

The chili tasted remarkably of Hormel Chili Con Carne, which was somehow reassuring. Did I really want to try some homemade chili from here?

What passes for chili in NYC has been a bit of a disappointment for me. You get these overly sweet chunky tomato concoctions that try to appeal to the masses by being vegetarian, light, and spice less. There’s no smokiness, bite, or meat to get between your teeth. If anyone has some chili recommendations I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Now it doesn’t take much creativity to know what I did with the bowl of chili next. Oh yeah, I made myself a chili cheese dog and it was pure bar food perfection. The thick, fat saturated, sodium fortified goodness of the chili stuck on to the hot dog bun and two of these made for a filling meal. What you have here folks is the manna from heaven that you reach for at the end of the night when you’re seeing double, your liver is screaming for mercy, and the possibility of cooking in this state of inebriation is like someone asking you to run the NYC marathon.

Rudy’s has raised the dive ‘bar’ once again. Take off early today and grab a bite and drink.

That will do, Pig, that will do...

Rudy’s Bar and Grill, 627 9th Ave. (btw. 44+45th), 212-974-9169

Midtown Happy Hour: Cheap Beer and Free Porcine Pleasures at Rudy’s


  • Taint! You said taint!

  • For chili, I’d suggest Manhattan Chili Company in the Grand Central food court area. They have a lot of varieties and they’re pretty cool with free samples. What amounts to a bowl comes with crackers or cornbread for $7+change. I went with the turkey today and it was tasty. Not the best chili I’ve ever had, but it was a quality, freshly made chili with a good amount of meat.

  • RE: “Rudy’s has cleaned up their booth seating and it has the nice glossy sheen of fresh duct tape.”

    Well, let me tell you that is a definite step in the right direction. I, for one, will NOT park my WalMart ‘Faded Glory’ jeans on anything less than FRESH duct tape.

    Carrion, please.

  • We’re talking chili at Rudy’s here, and someone is recommending Manhattan Chili Co? LOL!!!!!!!!!! Do they also serve free dos to make your own chili dogs? Can’t beat that food court atmosphere!

    • BTW, excellent newsworthy HH posting. I did not know this! Time for a revisit to Rudy’s for ML HH, I think.

    • I know Mama asked for chili recs, but for Rudy’s it’s the whole package. dunno about the chicken, but the chili puts it over the top. (Esp. with free hot dogs to be slathered.)

      Haven’t had much chili in NYC–it’s not a chili town, I guess. The only one I can recall eating is BK’s chili, which has lots of chunks of hamburger in it. (Leftover unsold burgers, maybe?)

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