Summer Activity #4.01: Fontana’s – Lower East Side

Uzo taking a picture of Fontana's Ping-pong tableFontana’s NYC
Neighborhood: LES
Venue: Bar
Atmosphere: Dive/Seedy Bar
People: Young and urban
Rating: After-work, 2

While I had been to Fontana’s prior to my trip there this pastTuesday, I had not been there after-work, which qualifies this visit as one-tenth of a checkmark on my New York City Summer To-Do List.

Let me start off by saying that Fontana’s on a weekday night is nothing like Fontana’s on a weekend night. The difference is night and day; albeit, probably no more striking than your typical Lower East Side bar. That said, the lack of people, noise and drunken make-out sessions almost weird-ed me out. I’ve only been to Fontana’s two or three times before, but with each time I went, youth-laden promiscuity was alive and well.

As for the after-work crowd, there was none. When I walked into Fontana’s with my company’s basketball team, I literally saw three or four people at a booth and a bartender. No less, but no more, and it was quite sad. Granted, just off Grand Street, Fontana’s is on the fringes of the Lower East Side, so maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised by the lack of patrons. But given the fact that they were paying at least two people to keep that place up and running (there was a doorman standing outside), one would have to think that their level of business would be a bit higher on weekday night in Manhattan.

But it wasn’t, which really was a drag on our after-work outing. In fact, we had just come from playing our last basketball game of the Spring season, a game in which we won on a go-ahead shot at the buzzer. The last play of the game by a co-worker of mine was a thing of beauty.

Unfortunately, Fontana’s was not.

We stayed there for maybe a good 45 minutes before calling the place dead. I can’t get over the fact that I spent $7 for a drink in that hole in the wall with no people in it. I can only assume it was the adrenalin from the basketball game that made me do it.

On the bright side, I at least know of a place in New York City that I can take it over if I have a large group of people that don’t want to hang out with a bunch of strangers. Seriously, forget renting a space out or having to travel to one of the outer-boroughs for better service. You can go into the heart of the New York City nightlife scene, the Lower East Side, and have one of NYC”s most popular (weekend) bars practically all to yourself!

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