It’s hard to stand out in a city populated by naked cowboys, that screeching guy who wears bird feathers and bells in Union Square, and Mike Nelson. But when the ships dock in New York for Fleet Week and its annual Memorial Day celebration, the Coast Guard and Navy mariners dressed head-to-toe in their white, starched uniforms aren’t exactly subtle. That said, a handy how-to on nabbing seamen might be helpful. (Full disclosure: They’re everywhere!)
● Rusty Knot (West Village) – This nautical-themed watering hole is practically on the Hudson, and it has the best dark and stormy mix in the city. Worst-case scenario: You won’t meet a sailor, but there’s an aquarium filled with blowfish! ● Old Town Bar (Flatiron) – Once a safe haven for Manhattan’s old-world editors, this creaky, dark den of drink now serves the best clam roll in the city to the weariest of Navy-gazers. Plus, there’s a man who lives off of the upstairs eating area, and I’m almost sure he’s Cap’n Ahab. ● Ritz Bar & Lounge (Hell’s Kitchen) – Think Village People, not necessarily seamen proper, at this HK schooner-adorned, dimly lit meat market. (On your quest for Fleet Week friendship, expect multiple “seamen” puns from the gay patrons here.) ● Legion (Williamsburg) – There may not be any boathouse boys here, but this East Williamsburg staple has three-dollar “Atomic” pints of beer — and a White Castle across the street. ● Cubby Hole (West Village) – No longer the sanctuary for casualties of the Beatrice Inn door policy, this anything-goes shrine to Madonna and 90s divas will most certainly attract a don’t-ask-don’t-tell group of Fleeters. ● Ear Inn (SoHo) – A late-late-late night restaurant sure to reel in a few Sway castaways looking for cheap, unfussy beer. ● Spring Lounge (SoHo) – There will be no shortage of men in white here. Its microbrewery beer menu is almost overwhelming, and it opens at 8am. ● Don Hill’s (SoHo) – No longer home to Leigh Lezark and her asymmetrical crew of merrymakers, the eponymous venue now has room for the nightlife aquatic. In keeping with the nautical theme, Hill’s will house a live performance by Pisser tonight. ● Central Park Boathouse (Upper West Side) – Overlooking the park lake, the Boathouse is a healthy, hearty mix of geriatrics, homeless passersby and, yep, sailors! Order the swordfish or snapper with melted cabbage. ● Blue Water Grill (Union Square) – http://bbook.com/guides/details/blue-water-grill Part of the Dos Caminos family of restaurateurs, Blue Water Grill employees tweet about the goings-on at their seafood emporium. A sample: “memorial days menus have been finalized- watermelon gazpacho, jumbo shrimp skewers, main lobster, jonah crab boil, tons of sides, etc etc,” and, “recently saw former presidential candidate mike dukakis for what seemed like a formal business dinner with 10+ people, wife was there too.” Ships ahoy!
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