Rudy's and HoDos Chris and I have made a habit of heading to Hell's Kitchen for our drunken outings of late. With me in an inconvenient section of Brooklyn, and him in an inconvenient section of Upstate Manhattan, it's the best compromise we can find so we only have crazy drunken commutes home rather than mindbogglingly insane ones.
Our bar of choice lately has been the Hell's Kitchen institution Rudy's--a divey cheap hole in the wall known for its free hot dogs, spacious garden for smoking, and cheap selection of cheap tap beers ($9 pitchers--an unheard of bargain in a city where a night on the piss can easily cost you $100).
The bartenders are nice, if occasionally overworked, and the hot dogs help extend the drinking by an extra drink or so, and so Chris and I on a weekday can very easily settle into our standard routine of alternating between a pitcher of Yuengling, followed by a shot of Jim Beam, followed by a cigarette, followed by a pitcher of Yuengling, repeated ad nauseum (literally). On weekdays, the bar is filled with damaged middle-aged boozers who yell at each other and occasionally put Prince on the jukebox. They're harmless as long as you avoid eye contact, which only inspires them to try to converse with you--a difficult proposition if it's still early evening and you haven't yet become fluent in your English-Drunkenese translations. They're good folk, and I could very easily see Honky and I becoming one of them a couple of months down the line.
On the weekends, however, it's a bit rough. Apparently Friday is allowance day, and all the kids come out to spend daddy's cash in an "authentic" dive bar. Weekends at Rudy's is what happens when frat parties outsource. It becomes impossible to get a drink from the two overworked bartenders--especially if you're Chris, who I suspect lacks the blank-faced "I'm prepared to give money for goods and services" look coupled with the general assholishness it takes to elbow your way and catch their eye.
But the worst thing on the weekends is the jukebox. What asshole decided that an online jukebox was a good idea? You pay your money and can download any song in existence. So we've gone from the days where bars prided themselves on well-crafted jukeboxes centered around the mood of the bar (cf. Doc Hollidays, Nancy Whiskey Pub, the Magician) to whatever Mr. Asshole-I-Only-Pay-$200-A-Month-For-My-House- In-Jersey-and-It's-Worth-The-Eight-Hour-Commute-Asshole decides to put on. Most people's music tastes became frozen in amber two hours after receiving their college diploma, but if Rudy's weekend patronage are to be trusted, sometimes music tastes become frozen in petrified feces. I mean, is it really necessary for people to pay money to listen to Scott Stapp wail about his own prison? Or "A Bittersweet Symphony?" Come on guys, I liked Fastball's "Out of My Head" as much as the next guy, but it's got the lasting power of a hot dog fart out there in the smoking garden.
So on weekends, Chris and I head elsewhere--somewhere where no one else knows where to find us, the bartenders are underworked, and we can drink in relative peace. We'd tell you, but then we'd have to either kill you or get you drunk enough to forget, and that's hard to do at NY prices--even at the dives we frequent. Give us enough time, buy us enough rounds, though, and maybe we'll make an appearance there.
Or, more likely, let us go there in peace, and we're liable to drunk-dial the lot of you.