After I finished inking my tag,¡bobloblawlawblog!, on the subterranean door, I peaked my head inside the tiny, dark space and realized that I had come to the party just a bit too early. The perfectly slackerish bartender was still busy lighting votive candles, and trying to get the 70s basement track lighting to just the right level of murk. The equally mid-century shale walls (shut the hell up, I never took rocks for jocks in college) are spray-painted black, and the small bar is bedecked with several old-school, pleather-topped stools complete with foam-exposing rips and tears. I sat at the bar waiting on a friend while drinking a Bud and listening to that same bartender’s iPod play something from the latest crop of Brooklyn and/or Canadian indie bands. One other patron’s face emerged from the gloom, and another female barkeep strolled in talking about a party she was going to that night on her cell phone, and then leisurely chatting with her co-worker and me. This happened to be a weeknight after work, and the place didn’t fill up with any more than a couple while we were there, but we were there on a Saturday at one point, and the place was jumping with t-shirted trust-fund folks (what else could they be with those haircuts?) and your general LES hipsters. A DJ spun rock records that even veered into a couple Rush songs–which can be fun when you’ve had ten or eleven–and various prime 80s tunes. The vibe was very upbeat and laid back, and despite the cave-like, subterranean locale was very comfortable. If I had a couple more thousand dollars a month, and a giant black sharpie, this is exactly the kind of joint I would want to open. And that’s what you, as the consumer, should always look for in a bar. [MF]

151 Rivington St.