Must-See Washington Square
by Jonathan Zeller, Christina Parrella and Jonathan Durbin, 10/02/2013
Photo: Malcolm Brown
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113 MacDougal St., 212-475-3850
Off the Wagon
109 MacDougal St., 212-533-4487
The City's landscape is ever changing, but many spots along MacDougal Street still evoke Greenwich Village's past. Minetta Tavern, which reopened in 2009 under the guidance of Keith McNally (Balthazar, Pastis), debuted in 1937 and served Italian fare and spirits to literary icons like e.e. cummings, Ernest Hemingway and Dylan Thomas. Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, as well as eccentric area muse Joe Gould (aka Professor Seagull), were regulars here too. While Minetta now caters mostly to media types who can afford its stellar $26 hamburger, its bohemian spirit is still visible in the murals, old boxing photos and caricatures lining the walls.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Off the Wagon, a few doors down from Minetta. Its bar menu offers comfort-food favorites such as baskets full of fried onions, tater tots served with Cheez Whiz and buffalo wings smothered in hot sauce. From the outside, Off the Wagon could pass for a Bourbon Street saloon, but inside it's a decidedly NYU scene. Exemplifying the area's boisterous spirit, the two-story bar usually brims with students and other young locals trying their hand at beer pong or cheering sports games on one of 18 screens while tossing back a cold draft at happy hour—which actually lasts for six—making it easy to see how the establishment earned its moniker.