The Local 269

Former Meow Mix, Vasmay making a name for itself. Before gentrification, there was the infamous LES. Few places remain of that era.

Former Meow Mix, Vasmay making a name for itself

May 7, 2010: Those who remember when The Local 269 (269 E Houston St, NYC) was Meow Mix remember a different time in NYC. A time when dark, loud, cheap bars filled with assorted characters and the anticipation of who or what you would meet were the norm in this neighborhood.

Before the gentrification and the chain stores, there was the infamous Lower East Side. These days few places remain of that era, but this fairly new spot hopes to recapture that spirit in an honest, real way.

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You walk in and you feel as though this place had been here for many years. Of course, in many ways, it has … just under various covers. And whether it’s current dive atmosphere is a put-on veneer the same as any theme bar or the real thing almost doesn’t matter. The attitude is real.

Are the estate-sale chandeliers with random missing bulbs really all that random? Were the cracks in the walls placed there by design? Were the items that adorn the walls bought at a prop shop or accumulated over time? Who cares. Walking thru these old doors again after so many years and being transported back in time so effortlessly is the real selling point for me.

Also living up to the neighborhood dive rep are the happy hour specials. About a half dozen beers on tap and the usual assortment of hose hard stuff are 2-for-1 before 9:00. Also, the old standard 5 shots for $10. After 9:00 however, the prices get a bit steep ($7 Guinness for example).

Then there’s the music. This tiny box has quickly made a name for itself as a solid spot to see bands. City noise from the street and a capacity of just a few dozen aside, there’s decent enough sound. Intimacy is the word, no matter the style of music. Just don’t try to have a conversation during the louder bands.

Despite the exorbitant $10 cover charge, which may have been only for tonight, a night of great music and drinks here is definitely worth it. Just get here early. By the way, I was able to negotiate down to $5, as were several other folks. So, the place scored some points in my book for that, too.

Here’s some good news for bands playing here; Because of the venue’s small size, they’d rather not fill the space up with needless piles of equipment. So, they offer an impressive backline and house kit. That means less lugging shit around for you, too. You should contact the bar for more info about what they offer.

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The Local 269

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