BAR IS A PORTAL TO A NOT-SO-DISTANT PAST, A TIME WHEN THE COCKTAILS WERE STRONG AND CHEAP, THE BARTENDERS WERE SERIOUS YET NOBLE AND THE NOTION OF A “BAR FOR MUSICIANS” STILL EXISTED.
Indeed, this straightforward joint is the manifestation of all of those things, tucked away in a side street with a barely-there sign to communicate its existence. It’s where the Mayhem crowd flocks to drink and put the world to rights until the bartenders are forced to kick them out a few hours before sunrise.
The most endearing thing about BAR is that it doesn’t try too hard. The decor is a modest yellow-brown, the lighting is low under simple lamps and the drinks menu is clear and concise. Add a lo-fi soundtrack that favours Connan Mockasin’s crooning vocals and you’re bound to feel as relaxed as if you’re drinking at a friend’s house. And with the tables tucked so closely together, you might just make a new friend while you’re there. If you’re looking to strike up a conversation with a local, go on the weekend: it’s significantly busier on a Friday or Saturday than the rest of the week. Non-smokers, take note: BAR has designated bodega status, which means it’s legal to smoke inside – and pretty much everyone around you will be lighting up throughout the night.