Sunday, January 22, 2006

This weekend's cheap fun

I went out with a friend this weekend and stopped in at an old haunt of mine that I hadn't been to in a while. It's a kind of dive-y place on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, called Fat Cat. It used to be primarily a place to play pool. They had a great juke box, and allowed you to bring in your own liquor, so it was a relatively cheap place to hang out and drink. Well, of course things change. The last time I went there was a couple of years ago, with some business colleagues from Europe who were delighted to be going to a BYOB dive in the Village! But we were disappointed to discover that the several six packs we'd brought along were no longer welcome, as the place now had a liquor license. However, the bartender was really nice about it and let us drink our beer, and a mini-Olympics of pool was enjoyed by all (and won by Brits).
Fast forward to the present: Fat Cat is still kind of a dive, but now it's kind of a hipster-y dive. Half the pool tables are gone, they've increased the number of ping pong tables, and now there is a big lounge area up front where you can play chess, backgammon and Scrabble. The games are free if you're drinking, or $1 if you're not. They also have an internet cafe area, where web access is $4 an hour. Pool and ping pong still cost $6 per person per hour, at least on the weekends. They also have live jazz most nights of the week, which almost makes up for the fact that the jukebox is gone. And on Sundays you can play in a ping pong league all afternoon for only $9.
Anyway, this place is my idea of heaven, pretty much. I still think the bathrooms are a little yuck, and if you're a serious pool player you'll be annoyed that half the pool cues are falling apart, but otherwise... pool, ping pong, board games and alcohol, all in a relaxed, friendly environment, what more can you ask for.
Afterwards, my friend and I went to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner. Total cost of the afternoon/evening, about $40 per person.
I just wish we'd been betting on ping pong-- I won 6 games out of 6!

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Still sounds awesome despite the changes. Our beloved "Happy Hour" is in the throes of changing and we're not "happy" about it. Currently it has 9 pool tables ($1.50 a game) and 2 dart boards and beer for $3 a bottle. We have been gathering there the 3rd friday each month for nearly two years. I think we know the jukebox selections by heart. There's no food, but if someone gets hungry we just bring chinese in from across the street. Folks of all stripes hang out around the bar. You get the picture. Oh, and the bathrooms have ALWAYS been surprisingly spotless and maintained.

It's being changed to "Game Day Pub" and all but 2 pool tables are being torn out to make room for a kitchen and booths for "family dining". Construction hasn't started yet, but the name has changed and the beer has gone up a dollar, and it's now $6 for a glass of crappy merlot (used to be an acceptable $3 as well)

I wish they were going more in the "gaming" direction of Fat Cat and less in the yet-another-family-restaurant. sigh.

Do I sound like an old coot? LOL