Now this is kind of cool. Chris Mohney, editor of the Gawker Media travel blog Gridskipper, has compiled a guide to "New York blogger bars," a list of watering holes where members of the digital press have been known to go and blow their meager salaries on booze.
Like the blog's earlier guide to "Nerdy New York," it's fairly accurate. I've been to the majority of establishments on the list, and typically each visit was in the company of other bloggers and new-media journalists. (Believe it or not, I do hang out with non-bloggers sometimes.) But if you're an eager visitor expecting to run into the bloggers whose snark you subsist on daily, or a not-so-eager visitor hoping to avoid obnoxious writers at all costs, Gridskipper's guide won't necessarily help you much. You're not guaranteed to run into bloggers at any of these bars, nor are you guaranteed to not run into them elsewhere. Mohney's list really might as well be called "preferred bars of the Gawker-Gothamist-Curbed crowd," because as an older New York Observer article points out, that was New York's blogger scene not so long ago.
(And these are bloggers we're talking about. Of course they like to navel-gaze.)
Not suprisingly, most bars on the list are clustered around the Lower East Side zone that local blogs have dubbed "Hell Square," which is not only filled with cheap bars (by New York standards) for writers on a budget, but is also within staggering distance of SoHo, where a sizable number of New York's new media companies are based--including Gawker Media, Gothamist, and Curbed.
But over the past few years, as digital media has matured, there are a whole lot more bloggers to be found and the blogger culture in New York is consequently much more diverse. The most glaring problem I found with Mohney's list is that only one Brooklyn bar, the digital-art space Galapagos, made the list; Brooklyn is practically crawling with bloggers (they even have their own Meetup!) and I certainly hope they don't all feel forced to cross over to Manhattan to find beer.
And meanwhile, blogger culture has expanded from its SoHo-LES roots, and especially on cold days, cranky writers will want happy hour to be closer to the workplace. CNET's New York office is located in the Flatiron District, as are some start-ups like the digital-business blog Silicon Alley Insider. Not to mention the fact that most of the city's newspapers and magazines now employ bloggers, too, and the majority of those companies are headquartered a decent distance from the Lower East Side.
Mohney even admits his forgivable short-sightedness. "This list is neither comprehensive nor fair," he wrote, "as bloggers will drink most anywhere really."
But here's one that really should've made the cut: the distinctively named East Village faux-monastery called Burp Castle, a perpetual bar of choice for local video bloggers. That is, however, a very different social set. (New York is all complicated like that.)