McSorley’s, East Village

Business took me to New York City for the first time in a long time. It was great to be back. Always love going there, but the first day can be really disorienting. Car horns. Crowds. The smell of urine. Ah, New York. It all overwhelms. But after a day, I always find my stride and become one with the great bawling masses. Highlight of this trip was McSorley’s, where I had drinks with two former interns who are now New York City success stories. The pub serves only two beers: McSorley’s Light and Dark, and I think we were there during happy hour since we were getting two for every one we ordered.

We managed to secure a corner of a table that was dominated by six or seven Poles and one Ukrainian who emphatically noted that he is from the Ukraine, “not Russia!” The Poles bought us drinks. I reciprocated. Things grew louder and the sawdust covered floor was soaking up plenty of McSorley’s Light and Dark. We were having a great time, and the Poles started singing something loud and Polish, but the bartender warned them, “No singing.” To which they sheepishly hushed their voices and sang quietly. But the beer and their enthusiasm always bubbled back into a din and another impatient warning from the bar keep.

I could feel us getting sucked into this strange, drunken vortex and suggested we strike out for dinner before we, too, were singing hushed hymns to Poland. The Poles were crushed to see us go. We shook hands and said farewell. By the time we made it to the door, we could hear their voices rising again in boisterous song …