25 E. 1st street/2nd avenue, Manhattan
When a friend suggested I review the East Villageâ€™s â€œdiviest bar in Manhattanâ€ for my bi-weekly dive bar review, I thought it was a good idea . . . until the moment I showed up. As soon as I am outside the front door of a building that should clearly be condemned, I am greeted by the first of many alcoholics I would encounter that evening asking me if he can buy me a drink.
When I tell him no thank you, Iâ€™m meeting a friend, he throws a limbless stuffed animal at me. I walk inside to the darkest, dirtiest, but surprisingly not smelliest, hole outside of Detroit. The only decoration, besides the graffiti and art most likely found in a dumpster, is empty cases of bud and bud light stacked 5 feet high behind the bar.
I sit down next to what looks like a disgraced 80â€™s hair band drummer who proceeds to scoot his chair right next to me so that we are shoulder to shoulder and asks me if we can talk. But heâ€™s so drunk he is barely incomprehensible. When I tell him â€œplease donâ€™t touch me,â€ he asks me to draw a picture on his tattooed forearm.
I tell him Iâ€™m married. I order a bud light and the bartender gives me a dirty look.
Is that even too high brow for this place?
My friend shows up and at that point 80â€™s hair band guy looks like heâ€™s going to throw up on me and is angry that Iâ€™m with a date. He has, at best, three teeth and is still being served despite his head being down on the table and the bartender asking him if heâ€™s going to vomit.
Needless to say, the $4 bud light was overpriced, the juke box was decent but why would you want to listen to it in this dump-an atmosphere that is clearly trying too hard to be the Epcot Center of New York dive bars. The only thing authentically divey about Mars Bar is itâ€™s location and itâ€™s success in serving a slew of sad, unemployed alcoholics who are clearly in need of treatment and psychiatric care.