The East Village is going to be mobbed with “green” drinkers tonight — and that doesn’t mean folks sporting St. Patrick’s Day colors. That means rank amateurs. So where does one go to escape them? Well, we went to Macao, China.
We figured the Portuguese territory turned Chinese gambling mecca was pretty much as far away from the East Village as one could get. So imagine our surprise when we came upon… McSorley’s Ale House! Okay, so this is not exactly the McSorley’s that just turned 160. It’s bizarrely lodged in the palazzo-themed Venetian casino resort (which claims to be the world’s largest), a stone’s throw from the baccarat tables and the Prada and Hermes stores. (Though, to its credit, it’s also located within walking distance of the casino’s other East Village transplant, Kiehl’s).
Should you sit down at the bar (which has faux nameplates for imaginary “regulars” like Sexy Florence) and ask for a “light and dark,” the servers (all wearing green wigs when we stopped in) will shrug their shoulders and point you to a drink menu that includes a bacon Bloody Mary served with a McSorley’s-flag toothpick (there’s also McSorley’s Ale on tap). The food menu is pub grub 101, with the exception of a Baccarat Burger that’s “always a winner.”
According to its website, this place’s original Hong Kong location (which, disconcertingly, is located in HK’s Soho neighborhood, where there’s also an outpost of Motorino) is “based loosely on the appeal of the original McSorley’s Ale House in lower Manhattan, NYC.” We’d say very loosely: no Minnie the cat, no sawdust on the floor, no dusty wishbones — just Irish ephemera everywhere. The place does have a couple of fake fireplaces and it sells “Be Good Or Be Gone” t-shirts, but when we asked if it was in any way associated with the NYC location, a server said no. So this place is to Louis Vuitton bags what Chinatown knockoffs are. But, hey, at least you can buy real Louis Vuitton bags nearby.
Happy St. Patrick’s, everyone!