Midtown Happy Hour: Cassidy’s Happy Hour Is A Truly Happy Occasion
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.
While trying to figure out a place to go for happy hour this week, I looked in my notes and saw I had made a note to look into Cassidy’s (55th btw. 5th and 6th) some time ago. It’s a rare occasion when you do a search for a pub on Midtown Lunch and you come up with no full blog post, but four, YES four references in comments or Profiled Lunchers’ write ups saying it’s good. According to readers, Cassidy’s is a go-to place and a good space, with a great burger, where the Guinness is fresh.
So I made my way up a stream of tourists through the shitshow that was Midtown on the night of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, and I was more than ready for a beer by the time I arrived. The Happy Hour special is long, from 4-8, but the special is limited with $4 for a 16 ounce Coors Light or Cassidy’s house brew (which I was told is like a Killian’s Red) and $4 for selected cocktails. If you don’t like that, they have a healthy selection of beer, big wine pours, and a full bar.
As I sat and sipped my pint, I sized the place up. Maybe it was because the buzz of the tree lighting, or maybe it’s just the way Cassidy’s always is, but everyone seemed really happy. They were so ridiculously happy, that when you squint your eyes you can see that everyone might as well be wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and posing for a holiday card. I’ve gotta say I’m a big fan of bars that put the “happy” in happy hour- especially when there are many places where people are just hanging out looking depressed. I mean, see the main guy in the picture? He is eating a wing, so I know he is happy. And I even caught a few smilers in the background. There’s no denying Cassidy’s has a fun vibe.
The bar had an Irish American feel, and I noticed quite a few English accents as well. It seemed many were coming from work, but the atmosphere was far more casual than many Midtown after-work spots I’ve seen. Customers seemed on the young side at roughly 50 and under, and I guessed most folks to be in their 30s. Except the two Corona girls who were obviously in their 20s, but I scored a free beer out of that situation so I was quite glad they were around. Service was no-nonsense — it was so crowded there wasn’t much time for chit-chat.
As I waited for the two friends I was supposed to meet, I started noticing food coming out. It looked really good and the portions were large. Although I didn’t try them, I noticed the fries were thick steak fries, so if you are a fan of that thick, bulky style of French fry you might like these.
When my buddies got there, we took a seat at a table near the back, where all the tree-lighting festivities were being shown on the several flat screen TVs (although you could barely hear the TVs over the bustle of people talking and laughing). I was a bit disappointed when I saw the menu, I pegged the place to be a bit cheaper than it was.
The wings were $12 for just nine. This is perhaps the fifth place in a row I’ve been to where wing prices that have saddened me deeply… I’ve been doing some research and I believe there is something amiss (read: Americans now prefer the wing over any other part of the chicken) and prices are going up. I’ll get into this more at a later time, but for now let’s just focus on the Buffalo Wing quality.
The choices were mild, hot, and spicy. The difference between hot and spicy is the pepper flakes in the spicy sauce. The wings were cooked nicely and were a fair size, but I needed a little more sauce as some hadn’t been fully tossed. These were pretty spicy and flavorful, and there was a distinct saltiness which I find tasty. The blue cheese was ok, but I didn’t enjoy it to it’s fullest extent because instead of celery or carrots, the wings came with a lame side salad. Boo.
Neither of my companions that night were of the Midtown Lunch persuasion: they both ordered expensive things on the menu. I’ve included the pictures anyway of a penne pasta special and the filet mignon. Both said their meals were underwhelming.
So, to conclude, the vibe of Cassidy’s is great. It’s not a place to drown your sorrows, but to forget your sorrows. This is a place where you’ll have fun. As far as food — the portions are big, but the prices are high. It’s probably best for a few bevvies before hitting a place with a better menu.
The + (what somebody who likes this place would say)
- The happy hour specials run from 4-8, which is longer than a lot of places.
- I like the customer vibe — friendly and casual.
- I go to happy hour in order to be happy, and Cassidy’s is one of those places where everyone seems to be having a grand old time.
- The food portions are big, and you know how we Midtown Lunchers like that.
The – (what somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The food doesn’t really wow me, and that’s super important.
- The happy hour specials are boring. Why am I not surprised?
- Food’s not terribly cheap, and you know how we MIdtown Lunchers hate that.
Cassidy’s Pub & Restaurant, 65 West 55th Street (212) 397-0814