Sunday, December 20, 2009

Corner Bistro

Corner Bistro on 331 West 4th Street (between 12th and Jane St) has dubbed themselves "the last of the bohemian bars in West Greenwich Village." They're a burger and beer bar institution in the area.

We liked Corner Bistro for several reasons:

1). Cheap beer. Order the McSorely Ale or McSorely Dark on tap for $2.50. If you're a high roller, you can order a Guinness Pub Can for $6.00. But why would you do that? Guinness is my favorite beer, but $2.50 at a bar in New York City is a great deal. Take advantage of it.

2). Affordable, simple beer-friendly food. You get no menus here and sometimes that's a good thing. There's only a few things you can order off a chalkboard. We've heard people exclaim that Corner Bistor's Bistro Burger is the best burger in New York City. We wouldn't call it the best, but the hefty 8 oz burger with melted cheese, bacon, and raw onions is pretty good, and the sheer volume of this burger makes it a good deal for just $6.75. We might have ranked this burger higher if the meat was more juicy and the bread less crumbly the first time we ordered it.

You can also order a chili burger for $6.75, a cheeseburger for $6, a regular hamburger for $5.75, or a grilled chicken sandwich for $6. The best part about the average-tasting chicken burger were the toasted buns. A burger is a better choice here.

But the best thing to order at Corner Bistro is their grilled cheese sandwich for $3.75. Granted, you can easily make a grilled cheese sandwich at home. But everything about the way Corner Bistro made this was perfect - nicely grilled, crunchy bread, ample amount of cheese, and it wasn't overly greasy or soggy. Pair it with a beer, and you have a lovely match. Pair this with a McSorely Ale and you'll have a fine dinner in Manhattan for $6.25! Add fries to the mix and your tab will still be under $10.

By the way, there's ketchup bottles everywhere.

3). Casual atmosphere in a non-casual neighborhood. You can walk into Corner Bistro dressed as down as you want and no one gives a shit. Corner Bistro has a mixed clientele, but consists mainly of dudes. If you're a single female in the city looking for dudes, don't bother trying to pick up men here. Corner Bistro guys seem like the kind of guys that would rather drink beers with their man friends while talking smack about women than the kind of high fivers actively seeking female companionship (you can find them paying $15 for martinis down the street).

4). 50+ bartenders. They look like they could be your pop or your wise-cracking grandfather that doesn't have time for young kids' attitudes. It's refreshing to see these type of guys behind the bar in a bar industry obsessed with hiring winking men with overly slicked back hair or girls who've blown all their tips on implants and too much makeup.

5). Yes, you can actually sit down to have a beer. Although it's a relatively small bar, there's at least seating options - intimate booths in the back area (mostly college types and couples) or the front bar area (mostly large groups of co-workers).

6). There's a jukebox. The music tends to get drowned out in the sea of conversations, but at least the choice to play music you like is there.

Another thing to know about Corner Bistro is that it's always crowded. It really doesn't matter if it's day or night, weekday or weekend. We've had to stand in lines, but the wait isn't too bad. For some reason, we always ended up seated next to the jukebox and kitchen counter.

One thing we didn't like about Corner Bistro is that they are one of the few places in Manhattan that doesn't deliver, which is why we ended up on several occasions ordering a Pop Burger instead. We can bet that they're too short staffed to deal with delivery orders. They'd be getting way too many burger orders at 3 AM.