Midtown Happy Hour: The Junction is My Favorite Bar So Far
Midtown Lunch’ers, I’m pleased to bring you this post about my favorite bar in Midtown so far, The Junction. Maybe it’s just my style, or maybe it was just a great day for everyone, everywhere in the world. All I can say is this: The Junction is the first bar I’ve visited as your happy hour correspondent that I couldn’t wait to write about when I got home. It’s a friendly, fun sports bar, and there are happy hour specials every day starting at 11 a.m. and stretching to 7 p.m. A perfect place for a liquid lunch!
I came across The Junction (Lexington btw. 38th and 39th) when I tried out its neighbor, Desi Shack one day. I made a note of it, and later hopped on google maps to search. While I hovered over the place name, the pop-up box said, “carlos • spices • leg”. I’m not sure how those three words relate, but I do know it’s weird and I’m always seeking out the unusual. To quote my ol’ Magic 8 Ball, “It is decidedly so”. I’m going.
My first few thoughts as I settled in were: I feel welcome. It’s lively but there’s a seat for me right here. Even though the bartender is incredibly busy, she is ON IT and she doesn’t even look pissed that I asked her about the happy hour specials. In fact, she seemed to enjoy reciting them — like it was a fun memory game. Score 1 for The Junction. And The Pixies are pumping… Score 2.
As I looked around I realized this is a genuine sports lovers bar. The olympics were on that day and TVs were bright with athletes prancing around in high definition everywhere. There were pool tables in the back, and a GOLDEN TEE arcade game with several de-jacketed suits with their button-down shirt sleeves rolled up for full simulated-golfing engagement.
I went on a Wednesday at 5:30. The bar was crowded but the back area wasn’t. By the time I left at 7:30 the whole bar was completely chock-a-block. The place had a great vibe. One of the regulars introduced himself to me and my buddy, and he had nothing but praise for the food and the staff. He was right about the staff. We loved our bartender, a quick-witted British lass from Liverpool. Great conversation, amazing service, and funny as hell. A reason to go back.
I noticed there were mostly guys there in their 30s and up, although some ladies came in for the peach sangria (a 20 oz drink I also indulged in, even at the $8 price — it was very nice and that peach is chock full of vodka).
The specials, if you’re wondering, are 20 oz. pints of $4 Bud Light, Yuengling, Stella, and “Junction Ale” (Junction Ale is probably something like Coors Light labeled as the house draft.) Each night there’s a shot special, and on a Wednesday when we went it was $4 Jack Daniels or Jameson shots.
And now the wings… They’re not to die for, but they pass the test. There were 10 wings for $9 and they were good sized and had all the right ingredients. The sauce was a great consistency and definitely authentic Buffalo style. The blue cheese dressing was both runny and chunky, but the bleu flavor was more of an undertone than a highlight. (I prefer this style over tangy, bulk-packaged blue cheese dressing, but not as much as super-chunky homemade bleu cheese sauce.) The celery and carrots were fresher than fresh. The one thing I could fault about the wings is the “doneness” of the meal. I like my wings well done rather than underdone, but these thangs were really fried hard. The meat was even a bit tough as wings go. BUT, they were still nice enough and got a great review from my friend who tried a few.
A burger with cheddar cheese and a fried egg ($1 upon our request) also happened. Fries = beautiful. Burger… ordered a medium and got a medium well. Overcooked again, but still tasty.
But let’s not confuse a Midtown Happy Hour post with a Midtown Lunch post. Are we really here for the food? No. We’re here for the booze. And while I still don’t understand the “carlos • spices • leg” business that shows up on Google (the bartender was just too busy for me to go there), I’ll take advantage of the daily drink specials. I say… drink up, enjoy the great people, and bite into a well done wing.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I only like my bars with awesome, friendly bartenders.
- I love watching sports, and I really love playing Golden Tee, so sign me right up.
- I always enjoy a bar where I can feel comfortable and relaxed.
- I like starting happy hour at 11:00 in the A-M.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- When I’m drinking, food is a must, and I only like my food perfectly cooked.
- Sports bars annoy me. I’m way too posh for this.
- All I wanted was a nice, quiet drink. It’s crowded here and all these people are talking to me. No thanks.
The Junction, 329 Lexington Avenue New York, (212) 682-7700