I Wish I Knew Why It Is Called Artbar
At Artbar, a laidback watering hold on 8th Ave in the West Village, I don’t see many artist-types; there is no obvious art, in fact; and it doesn’t seem very arty. Thus, I really don’t get why its called Artbar.
However, despite the misleading name, this chilled-out dive is an excellent option for unpretentious drinking and eating in an otherwise posh ‘hood. The alcohol’s cheap, the food’s cheap, and the surroundings are cheap. You don’t have to worry about how you look, and the scene consists of mostly locals grabbing a beer after work and staying into the night.
The front room has a long bar and five or six large circular boothes for larger groups and ‘table service.’ There is also a more private backroom. After my visit to Artbar, I discovered that the backroom is where the art is. Dotted with sofas and easy chairs, the backroom is part bar/part gallery. My guess is that the term gallery is applied very liberally here.
Either way, gallery or no gallery, Artbar serves up cheap drinks, either beer, wine, or a long list of cheesy cocktails that are ridiculously strong. Come here to sip or to get sloshed, no one cares and it doesn’t matter. Just relax, say hi, and have a drink. Oh, and try the curly fries. They come in heaps and are divine.