Midtown Happy Hour: Pretty Good Personal Pizzas at Figaro
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 posts 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.
I’ve been both pleased and surprised at the last two Happy Hours I’ve tried in Midtown. Boomer Esiason’s had great appetizer deals, and Vander Bar had the best wing deal I’ve seen in Midtown. I had looked for past reviews for Figaro (44th btw 5th+6th), and I found a blurb in 2009 about a Halloween open bar, saying it was the sister bar to Judge Roy Bean, which got an OK review. I thought I would give it a try and hope that I could go three for three.
I went with a buddy and we had a lot to talk about, so Figaro ended up being great for that. The music wasn’t too bad: think Ben Harper and Billy Joel… and nothing you had to scream over.
There weren’t many people in there at first (we were there at 5ish on a Wednesday), but the space began to fill more and more and MORE as the hours went on — mostly with men. Sausage fest alert! Similar to Judge Roy Bean, Figaro appears to have a lively and loyal following of suits, working class guys, and sports fans (baseball playoffs were on the handful of tvs). Many of the folks were getting served free drinks from the start because the bartender knew them well.
Our drinks, as first timers, weren’t free. The beer specials were $4 for Bud, Bud Light, or the “house” dark lager or blonde lager, which was served in a an American pint. I am almost never partial to whatever the “house” beer is. Have you ever tried it? Blonde lager sounds fancy, right? But it’s usually the equivalent to Coors Light. The dark stuff (which I ordered) was equally watery and had little flavor. Look, you can see from the picture I still drank that shit… so I guess it wasn’t that wretched. But we both ended up switching to a non-happy hour special, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
We grabbed a plate of wings of course. Poor Figaro… after Vander Bar’s massive wings I damn near flung this plate back across the bar and asked for at least four more. The taste of the wings themselves was good. The flavor was a very mild, tangy Buffalo style, and the wings were super saucy and cooked nicely. My friend really liked them. There were eight of them for $9.95 (boo) and I was scandalized by the lack of celery and/or carrots!!! To be fair, when I asked for celery the bartender happily brought out a plate. Much to my dismay, the celery was tough, and ruined further by the crappy blue cheese. Because of the price and lack of decent accompaniments, I’m afraid the wings as an overall appetizer don’t pass the test — especially for the price.
The pizza probably saved Figaro for me. Lunch’er Jeanine raved about the personal pizzas at Figaro a few years ago. Although it was expensive for a smallish pizza (again nearly $10), we both enjoyed the foldable slices with delicious, salty kalamata olives, tasty cheese, and slightly blistered crust. Worth the price? Probably not in MJP’s book.
Did Figaro make me want to belt out The Barber of Seville? Nope. Would I call it a proper Midtown Lunch bar? Sadly not. But besides the good pizza, there seemed to be a big group of guys who like it… Calling all the single ladies?
The + (what someone who likes this place would say)
- I’m sick of places not offering any happy hour. At least Figaro has one!
- I like pizza and Figaro personal pizza isn’t too bad!
- I’m a gal on the prowl and this place has guys of all kinds coming out of the woodworks.
The – (what someone who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I am really picky about my wings. Even though the flavor isn’t too bad, there’s no celery and the blue cheese isn’t great. Not worth a tenner!
- The “craft beer” sucks and that and Bud are all that’s available for the $4 special. Can’t we at least add shock top or something?
- The regular menu is too expensive and the atmosphere is underwhelming. I’m not interested in going back.
Figaro, 26 West 44th Street, 212.840.1010