140 Beekman Street
A couple weeks back, a few friends and I went to see Chatham County Line and Dave Alvin at South Street Seaport after work on a Friday night. As cheesy and stripmall-esque as the Seaport is (HINT: Uno's has a public bathroom), there's also this amazing old-timey flavor because, after all, it was once a working port and the heart of the original city. The stench of the Fulton Fish Market has yet to fade with its move to the Bronx, the cobblestones still exist, the first forts are standing and George Washington once had some beers with his troops before crossing the Delaware in this area. Plus, it is located right on the water. [See: definition of "seaport"]
After bailing out on a rather lame Dave Alvin show, who somehow has become semi-jambandy with his recent record (hope that passes soon coz he's generally great), we needed something to eat. Someone proposed going to Carmine's, a red sauce joint known for its seafood.
The place is tiny, with people jammed elbow to elbow at crappy old wooden tables in a paneled room, half taken up the bar. It shows its 100 year-old age in every crevasse and dent. The food was mediocre and filling at best, but our waitress was utterly brilliant. A 60-ish year old silver-haired women named Irene in a bedazzled black shirt, she offered the comment about our choices (eggplant parm; calamari) "Well, I sure wouldn't have ordered that". And when asked for a wine recommendation by Kristen "I guess if you can't eat good, you might as well drink good." As we had more drinks, and ribbed her more, she pronounced platitudes on Italian men, New Yorkers, tourists and about 10 other subjects. Classic old school New York at its finest. And f-ing hilarious.
Carmine's. Don't go for the food, but the atmosphere cannot be beat.