I knew I had become a New Yorker after making out in the photo booth in The Double Down Saloon. She had blue hair, I was in a leather jacket and we totally forgot to “pose” for a picture even though four flashbulbs went off while fuzzed out Punk played.
The Double Down Saloon is the King of LES Punk dive bars. More gritty than Manitobas, not as Irish than Iggy’s and less 1970’s wood panel Uncle’s basement than Welcome to the Johnsons – the joint is Punk perfection.
The photo booth has been moved to the back area now a days but I’d bet a paycheck grab ass still goes down in the booth next to arcade games with blown out screens. Huge murals decorate the walls, midget porn and obscure horror movies play on the two precariously balanced low fi TVs and the bartenders in my experience live by one rule: no assholes allowed. A sticker-ed up mannequin bust is behind bars in the corner and if you want, you can play the NY Lotto Quick Draw in real time while pounding tequila shots and Double Down Lager. Or just shoot a game of pool.
The back outdoor smoking patio area is set up with picnic tables and there 9 times out of ten there is an old punker nursing a hangover to bum a smoke off of and share a story about how the neighborhood is essentially one big fucking Whole Foods now a days.
According to the website there is “No live music as the NYC Double Down is a straight up boozeatorium, but always expect the unexpected as the killer jukebox pounds out punk, garage, lo-fi, rawk and broken blues. This is definitely not the shit you hear anywhere else.” And amen to that.
They have low priced spirits, Bacon Martinis and a drink called Ass Juice to cure your woes, get an out of towner drunk, or just sit and feel like you are in New York Fucking City. Lou Reed territory.
They encourage you to “forget your boring job or bitch girlfriend and escape to the NYC edition of the World’s Favorite Punk Rock Dive.” with only one rule “You puke…you clean.”
I suggest getting on you dive bar going horse and checking The Double Down out pretty soon darling as the LES is becoming more and more the playground of fashionistas and Bro bankers.
But then again. While in there, you get the idea it’s the kind of place that will never die.