Dumps, Dives, & Holes: Double Down Saloon, Early & Often
Double Down is quite possibly my favorite bar in New York. There’s nothing I don’t love about it, especially on an off-night. They play awesome music, have great prices, and there’s lot of space to bop around in.
Its windowed facade barely conceals a chaotic mess. To the left is a mermaid painting with red and green lights, and booths line the wall below an array of Double Down shirts for sale at $15 each (it’s the only overpriced item in this bar). A red wall stating, "You puke, you clean," separates the booths from a line of high tables and an apocalyptic mural spanning three walls depicting drinking, sex, violence, and everything fun.
The pool table takes up the back space, which is sometimes empty. Above it, amidst the debaucherous painting is scrawled, "The happiest place on Earth." The ceiling tiles are like those typically found in government-funded buildings but they are painted black, save for those left white who tell you to Shut Up or to Drink Ass Juice. There’s also the incredibly good jukebox–one of the best I’ve ever seen–and a backyard that’s open in the summer evenings.
The long bar constitutes the right side of the space. Lit hellishly red, there are tons of signs and lots of alcohol. A combination of graphic pornography and ’50s-era cartoons play silently on the three televisions scattered above. The bartenders rule, as long as you have your ID. The beers and well drinks are cheap, and you can always get a Genesee and a shot of whiskey for five dollars. The house specialty, Ass Juice, is a mixture of ten liquors that tastes like fruit punch and gets you very drunk before you know it. It sounds gross but isn’t, which adds to its dangerous appeal. Happy hour runs from the shocking hours of noon to eight everyday, with domestic beers, well drinks, and the three Js (Jack, Jim, and Jameson) are all two-for-one. After eight, a shot of the infamous Ass Juice runs you four bucks, and for an extra dollar you can add a Twinkie.
Double Down is a true rock dive bar, an awesome version of hell. Go anytime, all the time. It’s even fun when it’s crowded!