Dine and Ditch: the Lincoln Park Bar and Grille
Ask any Fordham Law student, and she’ll tell you it’s easy to get lost in the culinary wonderland that is the Columbus Circle area of New York City. While behemoths like Per Se and Bar Boulud draw epicurean thrill-seekers from near and far, this hidden gem, nestled in an unsuspecting nook on 9th Avenue (now known as SoCo—South of Columbus), provides exceptional service at price points that won’t break the bank. As the city’s hippest restaurateurs tire of velvet ropes and meaningless opulence, this “no frills” Art Nouveau style speakeasy is decidedly on-trend. Newbies will want to make sure they do not enter through the “decoy door” guarded by a vintage ATM machine, but rather the main entrance on the south side, which opens onto the bar’s grand staircase.
Descend the stone steps into a dimly lit subterranean lounge reminiscent of your favorite late-20th Century neighborhood watering hole. Antique dart boards, sports paraphernalia, and other charming bric-a-brac strategically plucked from the city’s most esoteric flea markets dot the walls and work to create a truly unique “post-apocalyptic sports bar” vibe. Although the decor may draw in stragglers from the street, seasoned patrons frequent LP for its exotic food and creative libations. In true speakeasy form, Lincoln Park’s exclusive cocktail list is “members only” and only available via your waitress’s word of mouth. Feel daring? Try LP’s signature cocktail, the “Park Pour”—a whiskey water whose understated complexity and deep earthy notes will have you howling in disbelief that the water is actually siphoned from the bathroom sink. Insider tip: the tables aren’t reserved for bottle service only, which is both refreshing yet frustrating when the bar reaches maximum capacity on Friday and Saturday nights.
When your whistle’s duly whetted, work on your appetite by grabbing a pal for a rousing game of Big Buck Hunter: Safari. For a mere half-dollar, this long-awaited sequel to the original whisks you away to an East-African Safari where you whimsically flout local poaching ordinances. Beware; you’ll only be able play for a short while before the mouthwatering aromas wafting from the kitchen affect the steadiness of your rifle hand.
Once you find yourself particularly peckish, retire to your booth or table to sample some small or large plates from LP’s thought-provoking and extensive food menu. Recommended dishes include the ever-so-unctuous stuffed jalapeno poppers; seasoned chefs choose the ripest locally-produced jalapeno peppers from the city’s famous rooftop gardens and stuff them with a blend of one or more cheeses before lightly coating them in artisan flour breading and frying them to perfection. With one gooey bite you’ll be magically transported to your favorite Oaxacan fonda (Spanish for a small restaurant known for its traditional dishes and home-style cooking), and at an economical $8.00, the bold flavors aren’t the only thing that’ll have you shouting “Ay Caramba!” More finicky palates can skip the Latin heat and opt for the sweeter, but equally decadent, BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Succulent pork generously drenched in LP’s signature BBQ sauce tops a brioche bun coated with so much butter that you might have to bring your sandwich gloves from the armoire.
While LP’s eclectic food offerings are as varied as its clientele, the restaurant remains ever-consistent in its Michelin-star service. Before you pay your tab, be sure to strike up a conversation with waitress Anna, one of the famous “Lincoln Ladies” who has been around since 2003. “Honestly, I wouldn’t work anywhere else,” she said, as she attentively combed the flotsam from a tablespread with a sterling silver crumb catcher. “Everything about Lincoln Park is amazing—the pay, the ambiance, the hours, the medical benefits, the generous and patient patrons—a day doesn’t go by where I don’t thank God for the decisions I’ve made.”
–T.S. Rosencrantz, Columnist
*This column is a work of satire and all of the people and incidents described are purely fictional. The opinions expressed are solely expressed for entertainment value and should not be considered the actual opinions of The Record or Fordham Law. The author’s name is a pseudonym, to protect them from employers without a sense of humor.