In Nordic mythology, Valhalla was a great hall where the most heroic warriors slain in battle would stay with Odin, their most powerful God. These warriors- heroic but dead, or maybe undead- were preparing to assist him in a final battle between Gods and the giants, arming themselves, eating boar and drinking mead. The hall was supposed to have been made of hundreds of doors, spears covering every wall and a roof thatched in shields- cozy.
On a busy stretch of Ninth Avenue, Valhalla is conspicious- the heavy fixtures on the cieling are visible across the street; the walls, free of spears or anything else, are wood-panelled and rustic. It was as if Aspen had opened before anyone had the chance to hang up the moose they bagged. Instead of mead (not a beverage we'd recommend unless you take Medieval battle recreations very, very seriously) Valhalla has 24 beers on tap at present- we had a Boddington's ($7) and tried a special winter brown ale called Snowman ($6) that we'd especially recommend.
On January 16th (Prohibition Rememberance Day) the bar will begin serving food -- eclectic and American, we're told -- and the hours will be extended from a 3pm opening this weekend to the signifigantly earlier 11:30. With most beers $6 (their cheapest is Bud Lite at $4), it's pricey- but in the nighborhood more than once recently, the long bar, many tables and jukebox (still in progress-we heard alot of Tom Waits before the bartender took over with her iPod) was the easiest place to accomodate a decent group. The consensus at the bar was the hardest battle they could think of was getting over the sick feeling in their stomachs about going into work again tomorrow but another beer could settle that for awhile.
815 Ninth Avenue at 54th Street