FOOD & DRINK: NYC’s Verlaine

well. he seems…fun? (photo courtesy of House of Wormwood)

New York can really put the squeeze on your pocketbook. If you are a transplant like myself, the harsh reality is that you pay an exorbitant amount in rent for something that passed as a closet back home. And you probably share that space with several people. The struggle. It’s enough to drive you to drink. But is there even any money left over?

Funny you should ask! (you didn’t, but I’ll pretend you did) One of my favorite cheap spots to eat and drink boasts a 5-10pm daily happy hour. Yep, seven days a week. As in, all the days that end in ‘y’. And it is great.

the calm before the storm (photo courtesy of Hoppit)

Verlaine was named after a poet that knew a thing or twelve about debauchery. It is located in the lower east side of the most expensive of Isles–Manhattan. Flanked by music venue Fat Baby and the blast from the past sugar pusher Economy Candy – basically, this is on a city block primed for cheap affordable vice.

Happy hour includes basic cocktails, beer and wine, sangria, lemongrass bloody Marys and what most of the crowd comes in for: the lychee martini. Lychee martini is the 90s boy band of drinks–serious people claim they don’t like it, but at the end of the day everybody sings along. Or drinks along. Or whatever. It’s $4 people! Luxury is not our goal here. If it makes you feel better you can drink a Yuengling for 3 bucks ok?

poison of choice–not from Bel Biv Devoe mind you (photo courtesy of getsconedpdx)

There are a few things that will make sure your time here is well spent. Go early. The place gets crowded. One minute it’s just you and the bartender chatting and the next your conversation has reached shout levels. Also, unless you’re with a group, sit at the bar. There are plenty of tables, which is great, but they have one waitress for the entire space–including the front lounge area. The service is friendly and quick enough considering this circumstance. Lastly, talk to Keith. Keith is one of those bartenders who seems to remember everybody. His demeanor always stays set at pleasant. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case in the city’s service industry.

(photo courtesy TimeOut)

Small plates are served here as well and they are standard Asian style tapas: shrimp skewers, dumplings, ginger chicken wings, tempura, sauteed veggies and curry puffs. More than adequate nibbles between those sips.

They say you can get it fast, you can get it good, or you can get it cheap. At Verlaine you will definitely get two of the three. And if you quit being a snob adjust your outlook, you can have it all. Stop by, you’ll have a great time and actually leave with change to spare. Salut!

Verlaine, 110 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10012 (212-614-2494)