THEME bars: are they ever a good idea?
There are two ways they can go...
Cool, intimate places like Boteco Do Brasil fly the flag for independent bars with a national spirit; while soulless, vapid chain pubs with "Australian" or "Irish" menus (not naming names) give them all a lousy reputation.
NYC, which sits on bustling Hope Street, compounds the issue by sitting in neither of these camps.
It's a New York themed bar with, as the tagline puts it, a "New York State of Mind".
What does that involve?
Well, inside there's some Big Apple graffiti, a few American lagers available, and some cushions with yellow taxis on them.
That's about as far as it goes. Having journeyed to Williamsburg and the Lower East Side's hipster arcade bars, SoHo's traditional pubs, terrifying gangster karaoke joints in Chinatown, fancy Upper West Side rooftop cocktail houses and – the best pub in Gotham – Jimmy's Corner (a tiny slice of old New York in the middle of Times Square) I can say that it's a nice idea, but there's a bit of work to do yet.
That doesn't mean this isn't an agreeable place to hang out – but it would be a great place to hang out if it took the idea of the old school NY bar and ran with it. Give us Burger Joint and Crif Dog-style food with Pabst Blue Ribbon and we'd have a haven.
If NYC could embrace the American dream wholeheartedly, it could be a major success. As it is – save for the Sam Adams on tap – it might as well be named Glesga.