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Riviera Cafe Sportsbar

225 West 4th Street
Riviera Cafe Sportsbar 1 Bars Sports Bars West Village

I am ashamed to admit that there are a large number of Boston fans in my immediate family, therefore I cannot avoid mentioning Riviera where they are all about the Red Sox and Patriots. There are TVs dotting the walls for sport's enthusiasts to enjoy games that are happening in all parts of the world, but I just wanted to point out that if you plan to cheer for your favorite New England team, this might be a safe place to do it.

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Riviera Cafe Sportsbar 1 Bars Sports Bars West Village

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Lost Gem
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Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

What a find... down a flight of stairs from street level on 8th Street, Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor is the "antithesis of a sports bar. " Artisan and craft beer are brought together in a friendly environment that certainly had us feeling like we were right at home. The Parlor is also named for the Arts and Crafts movement, “a cultural revolt against the ideals of industrialization. ”When we visited, we spoke to Robert, one of the two owners, with whom we thoroughly enjoyed chatting. Robert is an internationally recognized speaker and writer on dining out and traveling with special diets (he co-authored the series Let’s Eat Out! ), and he also has a background in acting and producing on Broadway. He told us that the other owner, Don, has an impressive resume working with the FBI and counterterrorism efforts both in New York and around the world - which left us wondering what brought this dynamic duo together as friends and eventually co-owners. Robert informed us it was a love of American Craft Beer and the visual and performing arts... and that they actually met enjoying a pint of beer in Manhattan. Just as intriguing as its owners, the interior of Arts and Crafts is beautifully designed; the sophisticated wallpaper is custom made by Bradbury and Bradbury, and the soft green and beige pattern was Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite, supposedly. The constantly changing art is displayed along the wall opposite the bar, and an exposed brick wall and fireplace give the parlor a true “extension of your living room” feel. Described by Robert, as the “Bugatti of beer systems, ” the twenty plus beers the Parlor keeps on tap rotate monthly and are kept by this state of the art system at a refreshing 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Robert also astounded us with how small the carbon footprint of the Parlor is — he told us they are very conscious of keeping things compostable and earth-friendly. In addition to their rotating display of art from both established and up-and-coming artists, the Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor also hosts a monthly lecture series on the subjects of art as well as culinary topics. We could not get enough of how interesting this place is — both the concept of art and beer coming together and the two fascinating minds behind it.

Lost Gem
Corner bistro burger Bars American undefined

Corner Bistro

The Corner Bistro is a beloved neighborhood bar in New York City's West Village that has endured for over 60 years. Though lacking the storied literary pedigree of other downtown haunts, it has cultivated a loyal following thanks to its unpretentious charm, congenial atmosphere and its signature flame-broiled burgers — declared among the city's best by New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton in 1978. We certainly enjoyed ours (with a side of tater tots) when we visited. We got chatting to Jim, who was managing and bartending on the Wednesday lunchtime we popped by — he shared his longtime love of the fabled bar. "We're open late. So even when I was living uptown in my young twenties, I would come downtown, drink with my friends and then stumble in here to have a burger at two in the morning, " he said. His enthusiasm and memories are matched by the customers too. Jim recalls: "Every day people come in saying 'I used to come here in the seventies' or "I met my wife here'. So every day we have people coming back to New York and say this is a memory of their past. "Longtime Corner Bistro owner Bill O'Donnell, who turned the unassuming West Village burger joint into an iconic New York City destination during his 45 year tenure, died in 2016 at age 80 after a battle with cancer. ""The owner passed away before the pandemic. And his daughter just seamlessly took over, " said Jim. Corner Bistro retains its consummate neighborhood bar character, giving locals and visitors alike a taste of an ever-rarer old New York — and it's the western gateway to 4th Street!

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Pageant Print Shop

Pageant Print Shop’s entirely glass storefront bordered by light blue is instantly eye-catching and proudly displays the treasure within. Inside its bright, buttercream interior, an immense assortment of old prints and maps line every wall and fill neatly-labeled display racks. This sanctuary of beautiful historical pieces was created by Sidney Solomon and Henry Chafetz in 1946. It was originally one of the many second-hand book stores on Fourth Avenue, an area that was then known as “Book Row. ” Now under the leadership of Sidney’s daughters, Shirley and Rebecca, Pageant Print Shop primarily sells old prints and is thriving at its current 4th Street location. Having worked with historic pieces her whole life, Shirley knows how to get the best prints. She has amassed her impressive collection from antique book auctions as well as other various sources that she has built up over the years. Roger, who has been working at Pageant Print Shop for over a decade, told Manhattan Sideways that “what we are looking for are old books with the bindings broken that are really not in very good shape on the outside, but still have good quality prints, maps, or illustrations on the inside. ” Although they search for old books based on the contents within, the shop also sells the old bindings for creatives looking to make decoupage and other fun art projects. Pageant Print Shop is definitely a fixture in the East Village, and in the words of Roger, is “one of those neighborhood jams. ” They enjoy “a loyal group of people that have been coming here for eons, " tourists looking for something authentically New York City, and neighborhood people walking by. He told us that newcomers are often “surprised that they are able to buy a piece of history, ” and return for more of their authentic, beautiful, and historic prints. Pageant Print Shop is unique in its extensive, high quality, and affordable selection. Roger affirmed that “It’s going to be hard for you to find someone who has this kind of a collection at these kinds of prices — it’s just true. ”

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Down the Hatch

“This bar is older than most of its customers, ” said Mitchell Banchick, who founded Down the Hatch in the 1990s to cater to the under-thirty crowd. Nowadays, the demographic is mostly the same, as NYU students and young professionals make up the bulk of its clientele. Mitchell, who was raised in the Bronx and was also an NYU alum, spent his college years working at a string of Bleecker Street watering holes. After a time on Wall Street and a stint as a restaurant broker, he gravitated back to hospitality. From his student days, he remembered a dearth of fun bars geared toward young people in the NYU area and decided to fill the gap. He joined forces with his two college roommates to secure the lease for an old sushi restaurant he used to frequent and transform it into a classic dive bar. The friends renovated the place themselves, relying on the occasional “how to” book to sort out the electrical and plumbing, and the venture was an absolute success: “We were busy from the minute we opened, and that was before social media. ”When the bar started out, Mitchell was the sole manager, maintenance guy, and bartender on most nights. He has since launched over a dozen more bars in three states, including Off the Wagon, the Stumble Inn, and Jake’s Dilemma in Manhattan. “But Down the Hatch will always be my baby. It’s my most iconic bar in New York. ” People from upstate and the outer boroughs often visit to taste their award-winning chicken wings or play a round of beer pong at the tables in the back. Mitchell is pleased to say that many former patrons return to reminisce about the great times of yesteryear, as countless people met their significant other, held their bachelor party, and made meaningful friendships at the bar. Since he is fortunate to own the building, Mitchell has no doubt that Down the Hatch will stand as a living testament to these fond memories through the decades.