Midtown Happy Hour: Jimmy’s American Grill And Bar Has $5 Drinks And A Big Menu
I’ve been really enjoying covering Midtown Happy Hour over the past month or so, but I’ve found that sometimes it can be very difficult to find what you might call an acceptable ML bar: good specials, good atmosphere, and at times what one might refer to as a dive. In part, it’s because we’ve already covered many of the good bars in Midtown, but also because lots of bars are either douchey or prohibitively expensive, and often both. So, I hope you don’t mind if I get a little creative with my quest and look for deals in places that might be somewhat … unusual. The first to make this list is Jimmy’s American Grill and Bar (6th Ave btw. 36th and 37th), not to be confused with Jimmy’s Corner, a favorite covered back in 2008.
I had passed by Jimmy’s a few times during lunch, and saw it fairly busy with people sitting in the sidewalk dining area. At first glance I thought it was something like a repurposed, privately owned TGI Fridays type of place, I suppose because of the red and white striped awning. I decided to stop by for happy hour after work last week, and I quickly found that I was wrong. Jimmy’s is part diner, part dive bar, and all sorts of odd.
Have you ever heard the expression applied to certain countries about the legal drinking age being “when you’re old enough to see over the bar?” My first thought when I sat down was, damn this bar is high. And I’m tall. Enter a picture in my mind of some of my shorter friends with their eyes barely peeping over and getting refused a martini. And because of the odd Tetris-like layout of the bar, a guy actually sat down behind me. It was like I was on the bus or in a classroom. Not exactly a conducive atmosphere for conversation. But it did seem like a nice place to get a bevvy and sit outside on the synthetic-grassy sidewalk area.
The diner side of the restaurant looked gritty and desolate when I was there on a Wednesday at 5:30… I noticed some bar decorations like beer signs, and TVs with ESPN were all around the place, giving it that … diner-bar feel.
Jimmy’s happy hour is $5 beer, all bottles and drafts (Sam Adams, Blue Moon, and Bud are on tap), and $5 mixed drinks like martinis, sangria, mojitos, and pina coladas from 4 to 8 p.m. I had a Sam Adams. It could’ve been a bit colder but it was still good. They boast a spread of cheap wines and their top shelf liquor is on a tiny little bookshelf. Love it!
I thought surely this would be the type of place that serves Buffalo wings when I glanced at the big, extensive menu on my way in. It’s a typical diner menu with some BBQ, Mexican, Italian, and Middle Eastern fare thrown in. To my amazement, no wings were there. I thought I would check just in case, and indeed they *do* serve wings, they’re just not on the menu. I should’ve asked what they were like, because I was quite disappointed with what I got for the price. To be fair, because they aren’t on the menu maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh, but this was perhaps the biggest Buffalo wing ripoff I’ve ever experienced.
A plate with six wings arrives at the table accompanied by marinara sauce (wtf?), but luckily hot sauce came too since I had requested it. The wings were obviously the kind that are breaded and frozen, not fresh. The wing sauce was almost neon red, and it tasted like pure sauce with no butter or vinegar. It didn’t have the best flavor either; it was almost hot and sweet at the same time, which is a no-no in my book. Now here’s the kicker. These six wings, which on a 1 out of 10 scale, I’d go with a 2, set me back $7.50. Kids, that’s $1.25 a wing! Ouch.
My friend got the $4.75 chili dog, and he said it was “fine”. The accompanying coleslaw he didn’t like at all. I tasted it and thought it was watery but typical. You have to admire the contrast of the Rite Aid Wellness+ card with a dish that’s so incredibly unhealthy in this picture he took. Nice shot!
As the evening progressed, more and more folks started to come to drink and eat, and many appeared to be locals rather than tourists. I’m wondering if there’s some sort of cult following … To me, it seemed like the type of place that you’d say to your buddies, “Hey, meet me at Jimmy’s. It’s a trip.” But not the type of place you would go for delicious food or amazing drink specials. Has anyone ever tried the place? Is it worth going back?
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- This place is quirky and weird, and I think it’s fun to try those places out.
- I like diners, I like bars. Can’t go wrong.
- $5 for a Sam Adams isn’t too bad for midtown.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- This place is set up weird; diner or bar? Pick one and run with it.
- The food here doesn’t seem that awesome and the happy hour is nothing to write home about.
- $1.25 for one crappy Buffalo Wing? The nerve!
- The bar is awkwardly high; I have to reach up to get my drink.
Jimmy’s American Grill and Bar, 990 6th Ave, 212-685-1239