You readers remember our good friend in Metal Steve Keeler right? If you don’t for some reason, let me sidetrack a moment and remind you how Steve not only runs Rock Fantasy, an establishment that we wrote up for Metal Edge magazine a couple of years ago and expanded upon HERE, but he also has the dubious honor of being the person who recommended that we start going to Duke’s Bar on 19th Street off Park Avenue South.
I forget who first told me to check out Rudy’s Bar & Grill down on 9th Avenue around 44th and 45th Street but its a cool little place to visit, even though it can be kind of crowded depending on when you visit the place. The sigh outside is easy enough to notice on a clear night but its the next sight that really gets your attention.
The big standing pig at the entrance is the sure sign that you have reached Rudy’s. I went in here once or twice with some friends when we were getting crowded out of Smith’s Bar right up on 8th Avenue. Folks who know me well, know how I’ve been using Smith’s as my pre-concert launching point for shows that are at B.B. King Blues Club and the Nokia Theatre as each are in very close proximity to the bar. Let’s you get that one last round before heading into the show. Sometimes financially this is a very good option LOL. Anyways, so examining Rudy’s for a second, its a cozy place and very dark in some sections but its workable.
The beer selection is straightforward and priced to sell. Take a look at the menu shot below and tell me if I am wrong in this. I’ve gone with my conventional Coors Light bottle or a Rudy’s Red pitcher. Before you ask, yes I was sharing the pitcher. Mind you it does go quickly either way. While this is not pictured, Rudy’s is also known for serving up free hot dogs and this is a pleasant treat to go along with the beer if you enjoy those kind of delicacies. I know that I don’t mind a couple when I am in Rudy’s.
One of the other points some friends like about Rudy’s is the open porch in the back which I guess is depending on the weather because they let you go out there and if you smoke you can bring your beer along with you. I sure don’t mind the no smoking law since I am not a smoker but I can feel for the smokers who would have to leave their drinks behind and stop the time with their friends to do it. This lets them remain in the mix in some fashion.
Check out Rudy’s if you happen to find Smith’s a little too crowded or just want to sample the beer I mentioned and enjoy a free hot dog as well. Their link is below.
Official Website: http://rudysbarnyc.com/
My next suggestion in my spaces to have a decent hang with one’s friends pre-concert would find me remaining down here on the Lower East Side, or the LES for all you folks that Twitter your brains out and offering up for your chill time – Nice Guy Eddie’s. Their located on the corner of Avenue A and Houston Street and are the perfect spot to kick back a few with your friends if you are heading to the Mercury Lounge or even the couple of blocks away Arlene’s Grocery, Piano’s and The Living Room. I realize that there are a score more venues in that region but I could be here all day lining them out so you get the overall picture.
I didn’t shoot any pics on the inside of the place since it was kind of crowded and I didn’t want to appear too “touristy” myself. I was actually hitting a show with Skeleton Pete and we braved it together to see how different it was from the bar we had hit in the past that was just across the street. They didn’t have any food and tonight we were hungry so to Eddie’s we ventured. The bar has a cool Happy Hour which amounts to two for one beers and unlike some places that end this special at 7pm, Eddie’s goes until 8pm. That helps if the bands you are seeing are hitting the stage a little late. The food we’ve tried at Eddie’s was pretty much the burgers and I had no complaint about them. They dished out a fine one and one of my friends had said that their wings were also commendable.
Eddie’s is a full on Rock and Roll bar when it comes to the sounds blasting out of their jukebox. During my times there I have heard not only Ramones and Joan Jett, but also The Clash, Stones and my favorite of them all – KISS. That makes Eddies a cool and somewhat rocking place for a decent Happy Hour without question. Good food, great music, close to where you need to be and wait there is more; they are also very known for the mural that is on the Houston Street side of the place. It depicts KISS in their “Destroyer” regalia and its a superb photo opportunity. Check it out.
That’s all I have for you in this little concert themed Zagat guide of mine. I hope you drop into the place when hitting these venues because it keeps the value on the reasonable side and we all need to save money nowadays. Stay tuned for more, I have some other suggestions for you up my sleeve and I think you will like them.
UPDATE: 6/18/2012 – The other day I learned about the closing of Nice Guy Eddie’s after being in business for eighteen years. It’s going to become some sort of upscale Hipster lounge or so I am told by some of the staff. I went there one final time the day before they closed and scream about this horrible news on my personal blog. You can check that out and do some screaming yourself if you enjoyed this place by clicking HERE.
If I had to think back to when I first went to Smith’s Bar, I will say that it was after a job interview from Hell and I was meeting a then friend for a cold beverage and to catch up. I was not anywhere close to having PiercingMetal.com yet, and as I reflect upon that day, I was not really writing for the website that got me started either. Anyway, I digress. At the time of this meetup, Smith’s was really a different looking place. They had a bunch of tables on the side and one of those hot meat counters that we used to see a lot in places like Blarney Stone. I loved those since you could get some corned beef, turkey or roast beef for a reasonable sum and a few cold beers and then go off to whatever it was you were doing.
I liked the bar and remembered it when I started doing my music scribe thing and began to use it as my own launching point for diner and beverage before going off to B.B. King Blues Club and the Nokia Theatre. Slowly but surely the word started to spread thanks to the growing Social Nets and many other Metal peeps began to use this space as well for their own pre-gaming. On the other side of Smith’s was a larger restaurant side and while you could get food on either of the sides, there were more tables and room over on the opposite side for larger groups. It was your typical NYC bar and had a certain sleazy charm to it. The crowd was a regular person crowd and when I was there with a Metal compliment of friends I never had an issue. The shot below shows off the new restaurant space look and I will explain that in the next paragraph.
Of course in time things do change and Smith’s eventually got a makeover that made the place look a lot nicer and I guess more appealing at the end of the day. They dumped the meat counter for standing tables and cleared a few of the other parts in the main bar that had become part of my memory and things I liked to see. Granted it was roomier now and while I didn’t snap any shots of that for this narrative I will say that they definitely classed it up a bit. Welcome tourists I reckon we should say. They often had music in the restaurant space and the players would be against the front window over there. Now there was a small stage that was a much better option in my opinion. They don’t seem to move the tables back at all when bands are playing and that can be a little annoying in my humble opinion. They changed the menu around and yeah prices went up a little bit too but it was still a good launching point for the Metal and Hard Rock gigs for sure. Now with tools like Twitter one is able to say where they are going before a show and reach numerous friends/fans. I have used it for this purpose a lot.
At the time of this writing I can safely say that this is probably the most visited bar in my personal record. One of these days I will snare one of their shirts because I like the look of them. You can see where Smith’s is exactly by clicking their website link below but please know its right on the corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. Mark it on your agenda items if you are going to B.B’s or Nokia.
Official Website: http://smithsbar.com/
While this place has been around for many years before my finally getting through its doors, I owe a debt of thanks to our own Skeleton Pete who first suggested it on the night that we were both catching the band Blackfield down at the Bowery Ballroom. It was a very weird night without question and while winter was upon us, a sudden snow had started to fall and not only was it a continuous downfall of it. It was sticking and to find this happening in the city takes some doing what with all the pipes under the streets. We were too early for the show, and decided to grab a bite to eat. “Have you ever tried Acme?” Pete inquired when we realized how much time we actually had before the show began and I told him I had not. So we wandered the five or so blocks it was away and I have never regretted trudging through the snowy mess for food ever since that night.
The menu was a Cajun one, and that meant a whole bevy of filling, comfort type food. They had choices of gumbo, friend chicken, blackened everything and assorted Po Boy sandwiches. They even had freshly baked corn bread on the table and a knock you out hot sauce. I remembered my first order was a chicken fried steak with a side order of black eyes peas and their mashed potatoes and grave. It was heavenly. There was also a house brew that I loved and while I didn’t realize this until we had sat down, this was also above the Rock Club “Under Acme”. Now the name made complete sense. This was officially going to be my pregaming spot for any shows that I was attending down at that club and perhaps even some of the close in proximity ones like Bowery Ballroom as well. Here’s a visual of the place during the day time and I am sorry but I didn’t take any from the inside.
Though I admit that I have to explore their menu a little deeper, I can say that I have had their burgers, the meat loaf, po-boy sandwich, gumbo, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and even their wings. Whew, there is a lot of ground to cover and everything leaves you full and satisfied for sure. Take a look at this scan of the menu which I took home (don’t worry this was the take out menu so I was allowed to have it). Be warned, everything on this menu might prompt you to head into the kitchen and get some cooking done so don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
Since that first night I have held court here on numerous occasions whether it was for some concert pre or post gaming, networking meetings with like minded peers in the industry or just to catch up with old friends at a comfortable space. It even ended up being a space I was not adverse to travelling to before gigs at Irving Plaza or Mercury Lounge which were more of a distance away than I would normally like to be when a show is happening. The club downstairs is awesome too if you are in a local band that kicks some ass. The sound is pretty good and while the getting set up can be a confining thing I have enjoyed quite a few bands here and written about them on the site. You can check out those reports and galleries via this LINK. Be aware that they changed the club name to “Ace Of Clubs” not too long after I first visited the establishment.