There seems to be a lot of these Midtown bars that are kind of faceless in the way a five story walk up tenement on the Upper East Side is faceless. Sure, they may contain different apartments on the inside, but walking by you’d have no idea which one was cool and which one was just like the other four hundred in the surrounding blocks. Such is the fate of Nation–a typical Midtown bar that says, “Come in if you want; we have beer and stuff. Or you could walk down the street to O’Somethingorothers or The Cat ‘n Whatever and get the same ambiance and the same beer and the same exact experience–only two blocks closer to your subway.” It’s not to say Nation is bad or anything, but more of an empty receptacle just waiting to be filled with the personality of its patrons. It is one way to build a bar. I went there with a group of co-workers, which is always interesting and/or frighteningly revealing. The personality that night was drunk and loud. I have no idea what it would be had a convention of pencil salesmen come in for a couple dozen Buds. It would have probably been similar. They do lull you into thinking the place is a bargain with their happy hour prices, but soon hit you with the full Manhattan fee. Apparently they have decent munchies here, but, as usual, I forgot to eat and ended up with a mouth full of fuzzy moss and a head full of BBs in the morning. I suppose this place is what it is; a Midtown joint that you get out of what you put in. [MF]

12 W 45th St.