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Grassroots Tavern

Posted by Philip in New York + Places on 02/Oct/2006
Grassroots Tavern Sign On my first visit to Grassroots Tavern, I accepted a $3 pint of Red Hook ESB from the bartender—which in New York City, is a pleasant surprise in and of itself. Being one of New York's many subterranean drinking dens, the place has a basement feel—with low, ornate tin ceilings and weathered wood surroundings. There was a cat walking the wooden planks, which had been blackened from over sixty years of drunken shuffling. The bartender, an efficient man in his sixties, worried out loud that the cat might get downstairs into the basement.

I started to feel a bit like I was in someone's home, and that's always a good sign.

Grassroots Tavern is a bar—plain and simple, no primping or pretense required. It has been operating under its current name since 1976, but has been serving drinks since the 1940's. Basically, it has seen wars, storms, blood, sweat and crocodile tears—and there's nothing you can do that this place hasn't seen before. This back-to-basics ethos is a main reason this bar was named one of the 100 best bars in America by Esquire Magazine.

Set in the heart of the busiest street in the East Village, the place is easy to miss. The only clear marker is the unassuming neon sign in a murky and barred window.

Inside, they have about ten beers on tap, the prices of which are handwritten in marker on a white board. It's spacious with several no-nonsense wooden tables, and there are even a few dartboards to keep the more ambitious imbibers occupied. Happy hour is from 4-8, and it means a dollar off what are already reasonable prices.

Essentially, Grassroots is a rugged, no-frills urban oasis with character. And there can never be too many of those.

Grassroots Tavern
20 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY

Grassroots Tavern Interior

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