Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dive Alive

Dejectedly surveying the NYU-strewn wreckage at Botanica, my friend Dan and I decided to hop over to Milano’s next door. After navigating one of the narrowest bars we’d ever encountered (made all the more treacherous for Dan by his yoga mat, which ran perpendicular to the bar both physically and philosophically), we found a mellow, amber-lit back area with a smattering of two-tops. Initially thrown off by the Shania Twain song blaring over the speakers, we ordered drinks and quickly remedied the music situation with Pixies and Joy Division tracks via the Rolling Stones-laden jukebox.

Milano’s is a classic dive, with grizzled old vets who have likely been glued to the same barstools long enough to function as art installations, a cash-only policy, pungent, saloon-style bathrooms and practically sepia-toned photographs of legendary patrons (and requisite Irish flag) festooning the walls. It's the type of place where you'll hesitate to order anything more "refined" than a whiskey, though eye-rolling was kept to a minimum when Dan asked for a Pinot Noir. Located in boutique-ridden Nolita, it’s an old warhorse that has defiantly bucked the relentless gentrification that has engulfed the area. Drinks are cheap ($5 a pop with additional discounts during happy hour) and are served from 8 a.m. (!) through 4 a.m.

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