(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

“This place is about to BLOW,” Ke$ha sang. And I have to admit, that’s exactly what I was thinking as I walked into the bar that recently replaced Motor City at 127 Ludlow Street.

The waitresses at SET all wore insignia tank tops that read “Welcome to the Lower East Side.” And that, too, was what I was thinking as I sat down at the bar. Except more like: “Welcome to the Lower East Side circa 2015.”

The truth is, despite its diplomatic attempts to welcome the bridge-and-tunnel set (or, SET) to Hell Square, this place more closely resembles one of Koreatown’s fancier sports bars, right down to the tvs playing ESPN and ESPN2.

The menu, however, isn’t strictly Asian. There’s a touch of Italian street-fair fare, as well — for those who find themselves craving spiral potato skewers outside of Seaside Heights.


Here’s the list of $12 cocktails:


SET really likes its Red Bull, as evidenced by the Super Fly Rita.


I was pretty much dead SET against this place until I tasted the soy garlic wings. They were nice and crunchy — not bad. So I guess this is a suitable replacement for Seoul Chicken, which closed at 71 Clinton Street last week. (A note from the publicist says there was an “issue with the oil pipes” and they’re looking for a new location while continuing their catering business and pop-up events).

But I didn’t come here to critique the food — or even the drinks. I don’t think all the folks ordering shots, shots, shots — and sucking face at the bar — cared that I could barely make it to the bottom of my mason jar.

I came here to pay respects to the bathrooms. But then I remembered: Motor City’s were gutted after it closed almost exactly two years ago. The new ones don’t have quite the same character.

Before and after. Ew.

Before and after. Ew.


Maybe the Times is right and the only thing left to do is to move to the actual Motor City.