Uncle Charlie’s Will Order La Trattoria and Hop Won For You

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.

Whilst going on a mission to Hop Won recently, I noticed a little blue awning with the words “Uncle Charlie’s”. It looked divy enough, so I wrote it down in my notes to check out later. After a little research, I found out Uncle Charlie’s is a gay piano bar & lounge and I was super excited to go somewhere outside of the typical Midtown pub. Plus, it’s got a long happy hour which runs from 4-9 pm; with five dollar 16 oz. drafts with Stella and Blue Moon, and six dollar wines and wells.

Always believing gay clubs were far more fun than regular clubs, I was on the gay club circuit quite a bit when in my twenties. But now that I’m older, I just don’t go to clubs anymore, period. So Uncle Charlie’s is great for a tamer atmosphere — if you’re looking to hang with an older, more refined group of gay men, this place does the trick. There were also a few women other than me, but it was mostly men in their mid-30s and above.

There is no food served here, but the bartender directed us to a pile of nearby menus that we were welcome to order from and eat in the bar. To keep riding the wing wave, and since Hop Won is always so fast, I popped downstairs and ordered “Chicken Wing”. This is what I got — no spiciness whatsoever. The bartender saved the day by lending us some Sriracha (aka rooster) sauce to spice things up. Otherwise, these were just fried wings and rice.

Unsatisfied, we went in on a pizza together. The bartender made the phone call for us to La Trattoria Pizza (which is just out of bounds on 45th and 2nd), a restaurant he recommended, and we ate that at the bar. It wasn’t a bad slice.

Speaking of, I love love loved the bartender — he was incredibly funny and friendly, and in the few hours I was there I got two buy backs. Favorite bartender so on my adventures thus far.

Unfortunately, the piano music doesn’t start until 9:00 pm, so to be honest, if the music is what you’re looking for, I wouldn’t recommend going during happy hour. We didn’t stay long enough to hear it, but I did catch a glimpse of the back room and bar area which is slightly swankier than the bar when you see when you first enter, which feels much more like a dive.

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

  • I’m a gay man looking to hook up… but not in the club scene. Perfect!
  • I’m straight but I like to hang out at gay bars. It’s just way more fun.
  • SO sick of Irish pubs. I want something out of the ordinary.
  • The bartender is excellent!

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

  • There’s no food here and I don’t like ordering to-go food and eating it in the bar.
  • I don’t go to gay bars.
  • The piano music doesn’t start until 9:00 pm.
  • The happy hour specials are ok, but nothing to write home about.

Uncle Charlie’s, 139 E 45th St, (646) 476-9532

1 Comment

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    A friend and I once spent a very long night at Uncle Charlie’s (he’s gay, so he was the one who suggested it). It’s a weird combination of dive and gay bar, but I liked it. The back deck-like area is nice when it’s warm out, but tends to fill up with smokers at night. If you smoke, obviously that’s a plus; if you’re a non-smoker like me, you may want to skip it.

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