The Urban Cowboy's Paradise, in East Harlem
The Duck is a new bar from Tom McNeil, of the successful Patriot Saloon in Tribeca and the West Village's now shuttered Yogi's. As far as I can tell this bar is a test to see if cowboy culture, $6 pitchers and bartenders in low-cut tops work for bars all over New York City. Judging from the empty bar I'd say so far it's not working so well in East Harlem. Downtown there are so many bars that a cowboy bar could manage to survive solely on cowboys, and those in the mood for cheap beer and a little kitsch. But we seldom see the urban cowboy up in East Harlem and with the limited amount of bars in the area, I wish this bar had a broader appeal (and a working TV).
Would a few more songs on the country-music jukebox that are not, well, country, and a few less bottles of Wild Turkey make this bar just welcoming enough for East Harlem at large? McNeil apparently doesn't care about my suggestions and seems to have a "take it or leave it" attitude towards all of his bars. There is something so unexpected about this bar that you don't hate it, even if it's not your scene. But I really wanted to love this bar and sadly even Toby Keith can't make me. His song "I Love This Bar" played over and over again while I was there – it seemed to be set up to play every time you hesitated with a jukebox selection. If you choose to hit this bar, it's not a place for hesitations. Pick your song, order your pitcher and drink it – quickly. It's a place to be drunk. You'll start to dig the scene here after a pitcher or three.
Thursday is ladies' night, $9 martini's all night long.
Location: 2171 2nd Ave, between 111th St & 112th St
Recommended Dishes/Drinks: Pabst Blue Ribbon pitchers
Average Dish Price: $6-$11 for pitchers, $3 for pints
A Good Philosophy
I was serendipitously wearing cowboy boots that fine day