2005_05_food_brassmonkey.jpgWe had some clear priorities in line when we walked into Brass Monkey on Wednesday night- a pint, fish, chips and accents, stat. We’d heard the place was attractive in a few ways but didn’t expect the new, well-appointed outdoor seating (facing the Nomadic Museum on Pier 54) to be one of them. For the guys there were increasinly scantily clad waitresses with some huge tattoos- part of the fun of summer is seeing every mistake people have drawn onto their skin- and for us, well, there was the somwhat pissy ex-pat bartender. Instead of reading the specials (all pretty standard bar food) he pointed to a black board at the back of the dimly lit bar where they were written in dark chalk, then brought it in front of our barstools when we couldn’t make anything out. If our Boddington’s (the best we’ve had in New York, $5) wasn’t sitting in front of us already, it would’ve been harder to stay. The bar had a pretty good ex-pat contingency- about a third of the bar were Brits that night- and less of the seen and be seen horror of the Meatpacking District spots a block nearer to Ninth Avenue. The service, besides being mouthy and not as attractive as we could hope, was quick and smooth.

The fish and chips is decent ($13) but the crowd wasn’t eating much- perhaps a testament to the better bets in the area, specifically the takeaway (forgive us, we've got our Anglophile groove on) from A Salt & Battery on Greenwich.

The thing about the bar, though, was that it grew on us immediately. Sure, their ATM is in a dingy corner of the basement and charges an absurdly high fee ($2.99) and the bathrooms (we saw both ladies & men, don't ask) are disorientating with oddly mirrored stalls but we'd go back in a minute, because it really is a bar for drinking. Brass Monkey has a great, international selection of beers and enough Scotches to placate an Englishman or two we know. Not in danger of being the next Peach Pit, it does have some fans about town writing on those Internets, so go early and make the most of the longer hours of daylight drinking.

Brass Monkey, 55 Little West 12th Street, (212) 675-6686