Dumps, Dives, & Holes: Everything Is Bigger in Texas & at Doc Holliday’s

Doc Holliday’s is honky-tonk in every sense of the term. Country music blares from the jukebox, a tin Budweiser ad cut into the shape of Texas hangs from the ceiling , the whiskey is cheap, and there’s most likely a guy with chops and a cowboy hat eyeing you from the end of the bar. What makes this great is that you’re sitting across from Tompkins Square Park watching the crusties stumble by and that guy at the end of the bar has a Brooklyn accent. Viva New York.

The bar stays true to its awesome gun-fighting outlaw’s namesake. They have an aesthetic and they’re sticking to it. Located on the corner of Avenue A and Ninth Street, you move through a group of old weird friends smoking or drinking out of bags, pull the string that at some point took the place of a broken door handle, and you’re in. Above your head waves a Jaeger flag (which is served ice cold on tap) and tons of cowboy boots glued like they’re dancing on the ceiling. The bar takes up the whole left side of the space. On the right are bunches of booths with tired, worn tables covered in stickers and a thousand years’ worth of carved inscriptions. A safari version of Big Buck Hunter (so necessary) complete with a stark epilepsy warning hugs the right wall near the booths.

The back wall is all machines: ATM, jukebox (which has nothing but country — and not shitty country, but cool, folky country from the ‘70s), and a peanut dispenser. A red felt pool table sits in the center behind the booths. It probably costs about a dollar, and no one seems to ever play it.

Every surface of Doc Holliday’s is covered in various memorabilia. It is so American. A John Wayne oil portrait drilled into exposed brick, license plates from every imaginable state, signs saying things about Texas in a very Texan way, elk heads, a giant antique baby doll with a mermaid tail, a tiny disco ball… I could go on forever. Even despite the interior, it’s hard to get bored. The patrons are great — a total mash-up. Old women dressing-up guys in their fuzzy, faux fur jackets. A homeless guy trying to smoke a cigar. A drunk woman yelling about her piece in New York that “comes out tomorrow." An Asian girl that does PR for Gucci. Two rockabilly vampire-looking dudes in cowboy hats that seem a bit confused as to which sartorial route to take. Everyone, in their own way, is having a ball. It’s fantastic.

And the drinks are pretty cheap! I’m not completely sure of all the prices, but I do know there’s a two-for-one happy hour until 8pm every day (they open at noon), and they have Canadian tall cans for like three bucks. Standard beers on tap run the spectrum from cheap to not-cheap. Regrettably, there’s no Coors Light.

Bottom line: go to this bar but not on the weekends. The drinks are cheap, the people are weird, and there’s a lot to look at. It’s super fun.

Doc Holliday’s
141 Ave A at 9th St.

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