If there is one thing I’ve learned after my 4+ years in New York, it’s this; people come and (most) people
suck definitely go from your life, but it’s the ones who pony up and follow your crazy self to not one, but two dive bars on a Friday night when they literally could be doing ANYTHING else, those people – they matter. And luckily I’ve amassed quite a few of them.
That’s my favorite part about said dives. They bring people together. All the people. They’re unassuming. Come as you are. In your Pj’s, in your Canadian Tuxedo, come from work, come after your dog died, to make your ex jealous, to catch up with friends; it doesn’t matter! That bartender is going to pour you the same exact Bud Light that he just handed to the person in front of you, because once you walk into a dive, we’re all blissfully the same. Dives don’t care what your title at your hedge fund is, how much you grossed in sales last quarter, whether or not your nail beds suck, or if your off-the-shoulder top is on or off trend this coming Spring. In the city especially, it’s hard not to get caught up in all that day after day. But one step into a dive and it all fades into the
sound of passing sirens background.
Tonight I ultimately wound up in a bar that was recommended to me
two weeks ago way back when I started this thing. On 7th and 1st Ave. lies a watering hole I’ve admittedly strolled past countless times without ever acknowledging its existence. To be fair, there’s not much to behold. The front facade almost looks like that of a vintage storefront, with a large, single-paned window, and a simple glass door. There is gold-leaf lettering that spells out “International Bar” in block letters though, that being your only clue that good times are to be had once inside.
Get your ID checked by one of New York City’s friendliest bouncers (sarcasm, please read the sarcasm), and make your way to the narrow bar that’s adequately stocked, all dives considered. I’ve been told that the Beetleback Shot (whiskey followed by a shot of spicy beet juice) is a must-try, but I stuck to beer (don’t worry- I’ll be back!). If you’re trying to be
everything I hate in the world cool in wearing your sunglasses at night, it’s not going to fly here. I could barely see the brew I was supposedly aiming at my mouth – ample lighting is not a thing International Bar believes heavily in. Settle in among the bar flies, or at one of the back tables (if it’s summertime they have a little patio out back too!) surround yourself with quality friends, and you’re bound to have the same type of refreshing “okay, this city and it’s insanity is kinda worth it” night that I just had.
The current owners really did the East Village a favor when they saved this bar and restored it to its former glory in 2008. Take my word for it (I’m an expert, I swear) and make a visit to International Bar the next time this town starts taking its toll on you. We all need to stop and smell the dive grime every now and again.
120 1/2 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009
*If you have any dive recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or reach out to me via the Contact page!