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The "Bar and Books" angle is a strange one, engendering some kind of idea of "sophisticated" that usually manifests itself in $10 beers and $20 cigars, and a coordinate air of pretensionathe social-club library, the Trillings' study. Hudson Bar and Books (636 Hudson Street, 212-229-2642), however, does it right, offering no more than the appearance of class apropos to high literary-politico dispersions, and that's enough. A classically tiled floor, reading-lamp counterfeits on deep cherry-wood-paneled walls, a copper-topped bar tended by amiable well-dressed men and women, Funk and Wagnall's on the shelves, and a fake fire make a surprisingly ingratiating, intimate experience. Not cheap at $7 a beer, but (despite the available cigars) it's mostly a cigarette crowd, good peopleagood citizensawho haven't forgotten that a whiskey in one hand leaves the other hand free.
No one touches or even goes near them, but still, just the sight of the rows of books in the back of Hudson Bar & Books makes for a more elevated experience than you'll find at the usual beer hall. This is far from some low-rent drinking dive where the fanciest thing on display is some businessman's after-hours whore. It's a softly lit, living room–type swankfest, where well-dressed people order whiskies, brandies, and premium cigars culled from swanky places all over the world.... More »
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