Last year I published a listing of my favorite 100 bars (open or closed) in the world. This year I planned to write an amended list, profiling a few from last year that did not get an extended write-up and bringing some new joints into the mix. But it’s been a weird few months, with most of the world’s great bars closed, and I have decided to go in a different direction.
In lieu of just being on vacation (which I will be), this space will be dedicated to profiling some new spots that didn’t make last year’s list. Spots that will be in desperate need of your patronage should the world find any kind of normal again.
The Gantry – Long Island City, New York
I go to bars. A lot of them.
I also go to the movie theater weekly. I also see a lot of plays and live music and go to art galleries and museums. I choose to live in an expensive city and pay too much money for too little space so I can have access to these things.
Then Covid-19 happened.
A few weeks ago I found out from a friend that The Gantry was allowing people to come in and have a drink. Many joints were letting people drink on their sidewalks but I don’t like drinking near bars, I like drinking in them. I walked a few miles to this place. And sure enough, they were. I’ve been back seven times in three weeks.
Discovering a great bar is often about a singular moment. There’s a guy sitting next to you who’s a VP at Subway corporate and knows everything about cheap ham. Somebody plays Oscar Brown Jr’s Somebody Buy Me a Drink just as the sun sets. The bartender used to be a regular on the soap Guiding Light. (All three of these things happened to me at one bar, the legendary Spring Lounge.)
The Gantry’s greatness revealed itself at a moment in time. It was there when I needed it.