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A Dogged Devotion to Beantown at The Hairy Monk

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There are more than 6,000 bars in New York City. About 200 of them get regular press. This column is about the other ones. Robert Simonson, a journalist and blogger of the drinking life, and the originator of the "A Beer At..." column, takes a peek inside Gotham’s more anonymous watering holes, one by one.

[Adam Lerner]

How Boston Bar can The Hairy Monk get? In the back room, they've got a picture of Babe Ruth—the House-That-Ruth-Built Ruth, New York Yankee Ruth, that Ruth—in a Red Sox uniform. That's how Boston Bar it can get.

It's mainly about the Sox here. Red Sox banners, jerseys, news clips, metal buckets (?), little stuffed animals called Wally after the left field wall in Fenway Park known as the Green Monster. This time of year, the televisions broadcast Red Sox games. A few knick-knacks pay homage to the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots (which have given patrons many reason to celebrate in the past decade) are squeezed in here and there. But it's the Red Sox logo that the Hairy Monk puts on its t-shirts.

Sports bars dedicated to non-home teams are a freakish watering-hole subset in New York. I understand being homesick. But carving a Boston sports bar out of the Yankees rock known as Manhattan seems to me a perversely masochistic enterprise. Why does the Hairy Monk put itself through the pain? Well, apparently one of the owners lived in Boston for ten years and never got over it.

It's a decent joint, even if you don't like Boston, or don't care about the pennant race at all. They've got 19 beers on tap (Sam Adams, of course), all served in 20-ounce pints. Happy hour lasts from 11 AM to 7 PM, making it pretty damn hard to miss. There's a set of tables in the back room, where you can order Irish breakfast "all day every day"—though I have no idea who would want to do that. I could have used a bartender less taciturn, but then he was doing double duty as barkeep and waiter.

I didn't get the feeling that everyone in the place gave a damn about Beantown. A few barflies were intent on the game. But most seemed like young office cogs unwinding after work, arguing about the best was to get trashed. Me? I read the Ted Williams obit pasted on the wall.
—Robert Simonson