Midtown Happy Hour: Annie Moore’s for Pre-train Chugging

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’m just going to go right out there and say it so there’s no confusion. Annie Moore’s is too expensive to be classified as a proper Midtown Happy Hour. Most glaringly because there are no happy hour specials. But over the past few weeks for whatever reason, I kept getting invited to go there for drinks. I thought the stars were telling me I needed to write something up, because the bar does have a few pieces of interestingness I can report.

First off, it’s a commuter bar through-and-through. Mere steps from Grand Central Station, it’s crowded every night of the week it seems, starting at about 5. There’s even a Grand Central train schedule on one of the TVs that looks like it was rigged up by some inside guy who ran a cable from the station, under the street, and right into the bar. A lot of chugging and quick eating happens here, like you would expect inside a train station or at an airport. The traveler in me enjoys that feel in a bar. They bartenders are keyed into that quick-turnaround mentality.

It is purportedly an Irish pub. Now, I know there’s room for skepticism here as it’s a little too close to the tourist traps to be what you would call a real Irish pub. But I’ve found that almost all of the pubs that claim to be Irish in Midtown actually are Irish owned or have Irish employees at the very least. As always, I found a connection from my Irish neighborhood in Queens right away — one of the bartenders at Annie Moore’s lives right around the corner from me, is from Ireland, and has worked at the pub for the last 18 years. So that was fun to learn.

And now for some drama. As some of you might have gathered, I am in love with Buffalo Wings. I care about them deeply. Over the years, I have become less picky about how they’re prepared. I’m fine with different levels of heat, breaded, floured, or naked, and a restaurant can even add in a little garlic or tomato sauce to the main three ingredients: cayenne pepper sauce, butter, and white vinegar. But Annie Moore’s committed the cardinal sin of Buffalo Wing salesmanship when they called them Buffalo Wings on the menu and the sauce was a mixture of Buffalo sauce and BARBECUE SAUCE. The horror.

Look, I love food. I’ll eat just about anything you put in front of me. I even think BBQ is good and I love all the different types of BBQ from around the country. But please, for the love of all things holy, don’t call them Buffalo Wings and let BBQ sauce touch them in any way. If you bastardize the sauce, you’ve effectively rendered them spicy BBQ wings. I’m sorry, but I’m just not having it.

And hence, we have the *only* dish in the world that I will send back to the kitchen because of pickiness. And it’s not to say that I don’t enjoy wings of other flavors. I loved the Thai style Sweet & Sticky wings from LT Burger, the Nagoya style wings at Kirakuya, and even Vander Bar’s “Singapore Sauce” that accompanies the Buffalo sauce. But the key is *those menus were very clear the wings weren’t Buffalo style on the menu*, so I was mentally prepared. But it’s just inhumane to tell a girl who literally took a half-day detour on her honeymoon just to go to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo to try original wings that her so-called Buffalo wings aren’t what she’s expecting.

So, I sent them back. I rarely do that. It pained me. (I should note, to the establishment’s credit, that both the bartender and manager totally understood and there was no fuss about it.)

But! If you like your wings just a little spicy with BBQ flavor, the deal isn’t too bad for $9.50. In fact, with plenty of good-sized wings on the plate, it’s one of the better deals on Annie Moore’s menu.

And although the $8 Goose Island IPAs certainly aren’t what you might call a great deal, lets note that they are served in Imperial Pints (20 oz). So you’re getting an extra four ounces of booze for your money. So, if you are forced to choose between the bars in Grand Central and a place like Annie Moore’s just outside to chug your beer or down a few shots pre-commute, you might give it a try.

The + (what someone who likes this place would say)

  • This is the quintessential commuter bar and I’m a regular Grand Central station commuter. Shit yeah.
  • I love my 20 oz. imperial pints!
  • I’m the in-out-and-over kind of drinker because I’m always in a big hurry, and Annie Moore’s caters to that.
  • I am not a Buffalo-style wing fan. I like my wings with a BBQ sauce on ‘em.

The – (what someone who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • There isn’t a happy hour special and drinks and food aren’t cheap in this prime spot.
  • The Buffalo wings aren’t Buffalo wings! Psssshhhhtt.
  • I’m skeptical — can you really call this a true Irish pub?

Annie Moore’s, 50 E 43rd St New York, NY 10017, (212) 986-7826

8 Comments

  • Solid review, it has all the trappings of an Irish pub but just isn’t quite one.

    However, the bartenders and staff there are awesome as evidenced by your sending the wings back without any hassle. I’d go there more often but it’s easier to wait for your train at a bar in Grand Central than from across the street at Annie Moore’s.

  • Pssshhh Anchor Bar. Any real wing fan knows the best wings in Buffalo are at Duffs. I suppose I can understand wanting to go to Anchor Bar because that’s where they originated, but Duffs perfected them and if you haven’t had a Duffs wing, you haven’t really had wings.

  • The wing “deal”–$9.50 for those 10 wing segments–IS pretty bad, and is no deal at all.$1 per wing segment (not even a whole wing) is highway robbery. As is a $7 pint, etc. Just because more places charge those outrageous prices doesn’t mean it’s OK! Don’t give places a pass on exorbitant wing prices just because “everyone charges that”!!!

    • You know the $6 pint in Manhattan is long history, if you want anything but Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light…

      Wing prices are exorbitant these days because they’re expensive from the wholesaler. Maybe more places will reinstate some sort of happy hour wing thing once order is restored in the universe.

      • Rudy’s $2.50 pint of whatever they could get cheapest.

      • Yes, I should have added PBR to the list of cheap pints. Any of the typical Diageo-brand Irish-bar beers (Guinness, Harp, Bass, Smithwick’s) are long-past that mark for whatever reason as well, to say nothing of decent beer.

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    Shouldn’t you have tried more food than just the wings? They have some really solid burgers here

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