10% ABV bottled
New York’s Worst Bars: Lucky Strike Lanes Lounge
The first in a potentially ongoing series…
Meatloaf. I was immediately assaulted with the odd smell of it. Not Meatloaf as in Virgin Record’s recording artist, birth name Marvin Lee Aday, but meatloaf as in the gross shit your mom used to make when she was too lazy to put together a proper dinner for you.
I’d been invited to a friend’s party at Lucky Strike bowling lanes and, when he dumbly neglected to make a reservation for the Saturday night, we encountered a three hour wait and were forced to hang tight in the alley’s lounge.
Lucky Strike is so far west in Manhattan you’re almost to New Jersey. I took a cab to Tenth Avenue, told my cabbie “It’s cool, I can walk from here,” and still took another fifteen minutes or so to get to the entrance on 42nd Street and the West Side Highway. There’s absolutely nothing going on that far west on the island, not even hookers or drug deals, especially on a frigid February night, so it was especially galling when the three Neanderthals guarding the faux-velvet roped door scrutinized me to make sure I fit within the bowling alley’s lengthy dress code.
It’s bad enough that the sport of plebes has tried to be promoted to swanky in New York, but what’s even more annoying is when a piece of shit bowling complex situated amongst street meat Halal cart storage facilities and the Chinese Consulate (seriously), dares tell you what to wear to patronize their establishment. Shitty bars in shitty cities have dress codes, not decent bars in New York. Bars in New York that have dress codes have dress codes for one of two reasons: they are trying to be “classy” or they are implicitly racist.
As one of the world’s great underdressers, I know a thing or two about defying dress codes. And when the dress code at a bar such as Lucky Strike explicitly lists such no-nos as do-rags, hooded sweatshirts, jeans with graffiti on them, and sneakers, let’s just say…they aren’t trying to prevent a rich hipster in his American Apparel hoodie and Chuck Taylors from getting in. Luckily, as per usual, I was wearing my black sneakers, the “trick” dress shoe for the elderly and lazy people that prefer comfort over class, and I easily slipped in the door.
The actual bowling alley portion of Lucky Strike is bad enough, disco lighting and garish scoreboards, but the lounge takes the cake. Lucky Strike lounge is an upscale bar for people that think Heineken and Amstel Light are upscale beers. For people that pronounce classy with the shortest short vowel a sound you’ve ever heard. The decor there is strip club chic, gauche overstuffed pleather booths, tiny ottomans strewn about inexplicably, wall decor best befitting Henry Hill’s house circa 1977, and a bar with barstools screwed to the ground and countless bottles of flavored vodkas and the kinds of crappy overpriced tequilas only morons purchase.
The staff was truthfully not awful, no better or worse than any Manhattan bar, your typical handsome/pretty muscular/fake-titted wannabe actors/models/dancers that can’t remember drink orders, take forever to get your check, and spend most of the time playing grab-ass with their sexy cohorts.
Of course there was a DJ, a DJ so guido-rific he made Pauly D appear subdued in comparison, spinning the kind of hits that people found ironically funny no more recently than 1998. Just like a playing of “YMCA” can quickly detect the idiots on the dance floor at a wedding, a bar’s playing of “Baby Got Back,” “Rumpshaker,” shit, any novelty song about big asses, can quickly identify the likewise idiots.
The clientele was even worse. Of course gin-u-wine New Yorkers, real New Yorkers that is, not Gin-U-Wine as in the long-forgotten Southern rapper who, come to think of it, had one of the better songs ever written about big asses–or was that Juvenile?–would never set foot in this place unless invited for a party. And I’m not even going to besmirch my beloved B & T brethren by acting like they formed the customer base either. No, this was straight up tourists, and not the cool kind either. These were the kinds of tourists that think, “If what I typically do in [insert crappy hometown] is fun, then that same exact thing must be even better in the Big Apple!”
“Eating at Applebee’s in Des Moines rocks, but in Times Square…?”
“Seeing ‘Stomp!’ at the Springfield Amphitheatre is a blast, but in the East Village…?”
“Bowling at the Brunswick Lanes in Tulsa is da bomb, but on the ass corner of Manhattan…?”
Around midnight or so, still an hour away from our bowling lanes being freed up, a man dressed like a giant bowling emerged from the lounge’s back room and started cavorting with drunken and overdressed tourista, much to their delight and amusement. Many hilariously posed pictures were taken by the kinds of people that still used disposable cameras. I’d had enough, needed to cut my losses and forget about trying to bowl my best game ever, and headed home to my actual good beer.
My last thought before heading back out into the cold was: “Where was that fucking meatloaf smell coming from?” I never found out.
Back home in a flash, I’d overzealously popped the top on Victory at Sea like I was returning to an old lover who had actually been at sea. My man Jesse the Hutt hooked me up with this beauty and I enjoyed it for all it’s worth. An imperial porter infused with vanilla and coffee this tasted to me like a liquidized Tootsie Roll. Which is odd, cause I never really like Tootsie Rolls as a youth, but I loved this fucking beer.