By Mitch Broder
The Clinton Chronicle ran an item congratulating Rudy’s Bar and Grill “for once again taking the top prize as the City’s BEST DIVE BAR!”
It didn’t mention who awarded the prize, and I don’t need to know because it doesn’t matter. What matters is they won it.
More important, they are proud, which itself is commendable, since even the best dive bar, by strict definition, is anything but good. But by affectionate definition, of course, a dive is a joint without pretense. A place where you feel at home. At least if your home’s upholstered in duct tape.
Rudy’s banquettes are about 90 percent duct tape, which isn’t bad for a place that’s been open since 1933. And its beer is incredibly cheap, because a dive sells drinks at prices that leave you money for food, though that doesn’t apply at Rudy’s since they give food away.
It’s not that I’m cheap. It’s that I giggle. When I drink beer, I giggle. Which is sort of all right in my kitchen but not right at all in Hell’s Kitchen. So I ordered a Coke and asked for a dog and was told “We’re not supposed to,” just seconds before the wiener arrived on the customary white paper plate.
There was television to watch, there were newspapers to read, there was Willie Nelson to listen to. And as always, outside the window, there was the six-foot pig.
The bartenders were nice ladies. My tab was $2.
If that doesn’t deserve a prize, I just don’t know what does.
Dine at Rudy’s Bar and Grill, at 627 Ninth Avenue, between 44th and 45th streets, in Manhattan.