As is typical for this time of year, it looked like we would just make quorum, as only Kevin and David committed. On David's suggestion, we met at the Blind Tiger Ale House, on Bleecker Street. If their website was any indication, this seemed like it could be my kind of place.
It's not a big place and it was crowded and noisy! Eventually, I found Kevin at the bar. Kevin was enjoying the Defiant IPA and I ordered a Brooklyner Weisse. As we were talking, a former student of mine, John, walked right by me. I hadn't seen him in years!
This is John's regular hangout from its days on Hudson Street. He's a character: a 59-year-old grandfather who occasionally does gardening and landscaping works and also sings with The Hudson Dusters! John was drinking a Rogue Dad's Little Helper, a hoppy and dry ale that tasted great.
John informs me that the Blind Tiger met some opposition with the neighborhood when applying for their liquor license. Anyway, the upshot is that the bar has only a wine & beer license. Couple that with the fact that bars in NYC are non-smoking and you find something close to ideal. The only thing I'd add is waitservice at the tables. (Apparently there is food if you order at the bar, but with the crowd, getting to the bar is a challenge...)
Two nice young women saved us a table when the one next to theirs came free (Thanks, ladies!). John seemed to think this thoughtful behavior was the norm at the Tiger; still, it's refreshing for New York. We were soon joined by David. My third beer was a Chelsea Black Hole Stout, which had a nice dry coffee finish. This was followed, of course, by another Brooklyner.
Eventually, we stumbled out of there and David and I went for a nitecap (what beer was it?) at the 55 Bar where we chatted between sets with the lovely jazz singer, Dana Lauren, and this guy—Rich, I think it was—who was a punker from the CBGB days. Somehow, I ended up in the Broadway-Lafayette Station with an Ali Baba Falafel. Fun Stuff!!!