225 East 44th Street
New York, NY
(212) 682-7266 | Map
I'll admit it. When I agreed to meet up with Mary Catherine, a fellow Chi Omega, for a drink last Saturday, I never imagined I'd find myself at the Overlook Lounge. We had originally agreed to meet at Bogart's on Park Avenue but had to quickly come up with an alternative meeting spot since Bogart's wasn't open. (They open late on Saturdays, apparently.) A text message directed me to E. 44th Street and to a bar across the street from where they tape the Rachael Ray Show. I was early, so I waited for Mary Catherine to arrive by standing out on the sidewalk and people-watching, an interesting choice given the fact it had started to rain. What can I say? I live for adventure.
When Mary Catherine arrived, we went inside the bar and were immediately transported back in time. To our college years when all we wanted to do was hang out with our friends, grab a beer, and watch the football game. Luckily for us, the Michigan/Notre Dame game was being televised on every television and we were blessed with our own screen at our booth. Nice. The bar was dark, musty, and loud -- just as every college bar should be. And, because the game was on, the Overlook was running their Happy Hour special -- two-for-one drafts. Score. We happily ordered our beer and glanced over the menu.
Because we were somewhat pressed for time, we ordered off the "Starters" menu. Mary Catherine had been craving spinach artichoke dip, so that's exactly what she ordered when she spotted it on the menu. According to the menu's description, the dip is a "flavorful spinach-artichoke mixture served with hot white corn chips, salsa and sour cream on the side" ($8.95). Being me, I took a little longer making up my mind and finally settled on the Chicken Tenders and chose the barbecue sauce to accompany it ($9.50).
The food arrived quickly, which was a good thing because we were both overwhelmed by the amount of beer on our table. As we dined, we had the pleasure of being entertained by a large group of drunken men who had spent their afternoon watching the game. This included ducking out of the way of pool cues (our booth was really close to the pool table) and enduring the company of a rather inebriated individual who insisted on sharing Mary Catherine's spinach and artichoke dip. It's any wonder we weren't lucky enough to snag his digits.
Mary Catherine and I concluded that the bar would be great to go to if all you really wanted to do was drink, eat bar food, and watch the game. You'd need to consume a lot of beer before attempting to eat the dip, which arrived with a yellowish tint on the surface of it. We wondered if the dip had mustard in it and hesitated in trying it. (We discovered we both have a strong aversion to mustard.) The chips that accompanied the dip were, in fact, white corn chips, but they were neither hot nor fresh. I think stale would be the better descriptor. Mary Catherine gave the dip a thumb's down.
The first few chicken tenders I ate were quite good - crispy and not too oily. But the latter tenders were dry and overcooked. I thought that odd given they were probably all taken out of the same bag of frozen chicken tenders and thrown into the same vat of frying oil. Oh well. While the chicken tenders did their job -- to absorb the two pints of Yuengling I consumed in the hour we were there -- I'd have to give them a thumb's down, as well. Our ratings of the "Starters" made me feel rather relieved that I wasn't more adventurous in my choice of food and that I didn't order anything that would have required to open the menu or to turn it over.
Not the best bar food in the city by any stretch of the imagination, but I know Mary Catherine and I had a blast regardless of our surroundings. I'm looking forward to our next dining adventure!