Finding the right bar for you can take several years, even in a city of a thousand bars. It takes a lot of pints and a little luck to discover that perfect bar stool.
Some summers past, while on a lunch break on the upper west side, I hit an ATM on 76th and Broadway. The short respite in a room with AC did not quench my thirst. I looked for any bar where I could avoid sight from my colleagues. My criteria were that it be a dive bar and close to work. I scanned, and across the street I spotted my oasis, the door guarded by a carved bear. The stunning blonde behind the bar in a cutoff T-shirt greeted me with a smile and a beer. I never made it back to work that day, and I’ve been a regular at Yogi’s ever since.
Like I said, I prefer my bars to be rundown and without an attitude. Yogi’s delivers on both fronts, unless you arrive with an attitude of your own. Don’t expect your martini in a cocktail glass with olives or onions as garnishes. Do expect your drinks to be cheap with plenty of buybacks. Of course tipping your bartender well always helps with the buyback aspect. Somehow at Yogi’s it seems less like tipping, more like helping a friend out with her rent. The girls behind the bar are all easy on the eyes and dress to accentuate their assets. In between slinging beers and cocktails they are happy to shoot the breeze with you or eagerly join you for a round of Car-bombs. Grab your beer off the bar if they get the urge to jump up for a little foot stomping. Your date will be encouraged to join. Some previous patrons have left their bras hanging from the décor as proof of a good time.
The jukebox. All it plays is country. While not a huge fan of country music, I can appreciate the sounds of Waylon, Willie, Merle or Mr. Cash. Besides, despite the jukebox, Yogi’s is not a country music bar. It just happens to have a country jukebox. The upper west side of New York has multiple personalities and the denizens of Yogi’s reflects that melting pot aspect. Locals of all social backgrounds mix with regulars, businessmen, and concert goers from the Beacon Theatre a few doors south.
It’s a cold day in December and I have to run out to the bank again. Don’t look for me at work this afternoon.