New York: Top 10 Ways to Get Drunk on the Cheap

imageAre you tired of hokey recession specials that never end up scratching your gnawing, thirsty itch? We are rapidly becoming a city of broke drunks, thus it is vital we learn how to be the best broke drunks we can be. If you have no job, no prospects, and only a few bucks, but still maintain flawless taste, then check out the top ways to get your drink on without further damaging the already broken bank.

Calle Ocho (Upper West Side) – Go to this spacious, attractive UWS Nuevo Latino on Sundays and order an appetizer. The policy is you must eat some sort of food in order to partake in the monster “sangria station,” which is totally and completely F-R-E-E! That is correct, kiddies. A bevy of fruits, wines, rums, and all sorts of tasty drinkable treats line the dining room buffet-style, where you can ladle yourself to inebriation for hours. ● Welcome to the Johnsons (Lower East Side) – I like my bars how I like my men: grungy and cheap. This place is suitable for getting sloshed before going to the neighboring, pricier hotspots such as the Hotel on Rivington, 205, or Stanton Social.

Bar 13 (Greenwich Village) – If you don’t mind a little poetry slam, Monday features two-for-one cocktails. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration, grab the mic, and produce your very own poem for the crowd. Here is mine: There once lived a broke girl from New York. She could barely afford fried rice with pork. She spent her dollars on drinks. It is not foolish she thinks. For calories taste better via straw vs. fork. ● Village Pourhouse (Upper West Side) – The Columbia-area outpost has a deal so creative and alluring you will consider grabbing a cab to 108th Street from wherever you are right now (I know I am). If you take a taxi anytime and save your receipt, the bar will reimburse you in alcohol for whatever amount you spent to get there. Afterward, take the subway home, and you just had yourself an almost free night, other than tipping the bartender and one swipe of the MetroCard. ● Delancey (Lower East Side) – The roof is wonderfully enchanting for a spot on the less-attractive edge of the LES. If you are unemployed, they give you free shots of tequila on Tuesdays, which is magical in its own regard. Do not ask me how to prove you are jobless. Perhaps bring a record showing your pathetically low bank statement or letter of dismissal from your most recent employer? ● Antik (Greenwich Village) – This lounge on the Bowery employs bartenders that are fantastic about buybacks, and the occasional surprise open bar is a bonus too. Promoter Ruben Araneta told me the real secret: Go on a Monday, say his name at the door, then find him inside to cop a free vodka cran from his bottle — especially if you are female (duh!) and attractive (double duh!). ● The Orchard (Lower East Side) – BYOB Sundays. Go to the liquor store and buy a cheap bottle of wine (or stop by a bodega and grab some brew) which you can bring to this delightful restaurant. From there, order the cheapest dish on the menu and enjoy a night out while your money stays in — your wallet, that is. ● Hill Country (Chelsea) – Tuesday is the day to venture here and let your nostrils take in the BBQ aromatics while putting back two-for-one specialty drinks from open till close. They also have their usual 3-6pm Happy Hour all day on Tuesday, which includes two-for-one PBRs, $5 well drinks, $20 buckets of Lone Star, and $2 well shots. Spend $10 on five shots. Before you know it, you will have forgotten your money woes, mindlessly square dancing to the live country/rockabilly bands. ● Alligator Lounge (Williamsburg) – Because let’s face it: When one gets boozy, hunger is sure to follow. With the purchase of any alcoholic drink at this Willyburg dive, you receive a free personal pizza hot out of the wood-burning oven. The pies are surprisingly tasty for the fabulous cost of free, and they become even yummier after two beers. ● Rosa Mexicano (Union Square) – Warning! This place is not inherently cheap. But there is one drink that you will only need two of to do the trick. Avoid all expensive food and cocktails — except for the pomegranate margaritas. These lethal, frozen concoctions look harmless enough. They are pink after all. But the drink must be laced with sodium pentothal or something because they get you stripping-in-the-streets-singing-show-tunes-dialing-your-ex smashed. Do not consume more than three.

Dito Montiel’s ‘Fighting’ Packs a Punch

Director/writer Dito Montiel came onto the scene with a bang in 2006 with his hard-hitting coming of age drama A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. His sophomore effort, Fighting, hits even harder — literally. The New York-based story centers around Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum), a young guy from Alabama who scrapes by selling counterfeit merchandise on the streets of the Big Apple. When scam artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard), sees MacArthur undoubtedly hold his own in a street fight, he offers him an opportunity to make some real money in the form of underground bare-knuckle brawling. I spoke with Montiel about the surprisingly non-bruising experience of making Fighting.

Tell me how Fighting came about. It was a script that producer Kevin Misher had. It was originally a basketball movie and they had asked me to work on the dialogue. We were all trying to figure out how to make this movie and take out all of the sports. Channing had said that maybe it should be about fighting. He’s a pretty strong guy who was a lot more interested in that than basketball. So we just started messing around with it.

How were the challenges different for you on this film than on A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints? There are always challenges, and some of them were similar. It’s strange when it’s something you didn’t start from birth. But it’s kind of fun in a way because it already exists. I felt I could make sense of it. Probably the biggest challenge was to make a movie that was bit of a genre-type picture, which is something I am a big fan of. I am not the biggest fan of independent films. I love them when I get dragged into them, but I kind of go and see big pop crap. So I thought let’s try to make a really good version of the stuff that I always wanted to go see. That was probably the biggest challenge. How are we going to have a good time making this? And it feels like we did.

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Were you at all inspired by Fight Club? No. Fight Club is some sort of big social commentary. This is guys just roaming around New York. The thing that really intrigued me about this film is Harvey. When I spoke with Terrence, who I have always been a big fan of, he said the same thing we all said: “Can we take the fighting out of this? It would be so fun to make.” We tried to sort of ignore the fighting. I said to Terrence, “Instead of you being Mr. Miyagi who knows everything, when you tell him how to fight just say ‘choke him.’” As far as Fight Club goes, that seemed to be a lot deeper than where we were trying to go with this.

Do you feel there is a part of you in both of the lead characters Harvey and Shawn MacArthur? Yeah, there’s probably a bit more of me in both of them than I would like to admit. You always put yourself in anything you do whether you like it or not. That’s kind of the fun for me. I used to sell stuff on the street, and it was fun to be on those corners again and not getting chased by the cops.

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I thought that Tatum and Howard’s characters had great chemistry. They were almost a modern-day Dustin Hoffman and John Voight in Midnight Cowboy. When I read the original script before I was involved, there as a strange little thing in it that I actually misread. The original character Harvey was a lot more well-to-do. That didn’t particularly get me excited. But I thought that at one point he walked into a hotel and he had all this money and he took a free bagel. I thought that was so great. Maybe he’s lying about having money? I thought that was so much more interesting than him driving around in a Hummer. So I got excited about that. When I was first thinking about the way I could sink my teeth into this movie, I thought if Channing is a gift horse that moves into New York City and you know he’s worth money, but Harvey doesn’t know how to sell him and keeps walking him around, we could have fun. And that certainly parallels Midnight Cowboy.

You have a Martin Scorsese style of filmmaking. For a great part of Scorsese’s career, especially early on, he teamed up with Robert De Niro. Is Channing Tatum your De Niro? Channing Tatum is a great actor. I really like working with him. I’m a creature of habit. I eat the same thing every day and have the same friends since kindergarten. So it just makes sense that I make movies with people that I feel comfortable with. I’ve heard Scorsese does it like that.

In A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, you cast a lot of regular people off the street. In this movie did you do the same thing? Absolutely. And it’s not me being a nice guy. There is a whole lot of talent out there that for whatever reason gets overlooked. You just roam around and you find locations, actors, and interesting people. That’s one of the fun things about New York.

You started out as a book author, and now you’re directing movies. How do you feel about directing? I have done a lot of awful jobs, and this is a great job. It’s so much fun and it’s taxing, but every job is taxing. Sometimes when I get upset about something, I have to remind myself that I’m making a movie. It’s midnight and I’m on 45th and Broadway with cameras, friends, and free food.

What do you want people to take away from this film? I’m not making a deep message with this movie. Take a walk with me around New York and try to have fun.

You write New York stories. What is about this city that inspires your storytelling? It’s not conscious. I’m from here, and I have always loved New York. It’s comfortable, and I try to write what I feel comfortable around. It never really matters whether or not it’s in New York, but I always seem to end up here.

What restaurants do you like to frequent in New York? I like The Orchard on Orchard Street. They have empanadas and flat bread that is unbelievable. Rose and Joe’s Pizza on 31st Street in Astoria. Other than that I’m a two hot dogs and a papaya guy.

Last question: What’s the key to winning a fight? I went into the Golden Gloves eight years ago, and I got knocked out 15 seconds into the first round. The last thing somebody told me was, “Try not to get hit.”