2003_2_circus1.jpg A couple weeks ago, LuLu's in Greenpoint brought our drinking together with carousel horsies, this week we guzzled under crazy clown paintings at Circus- next week we fully expect to be handed a frozen drink on a Ferris Wheel. Until Coney Island reopens, though, we'll happy go back- the popcorn may have been sitting on the bar for awhile, the peanuts may need to be shucked and hot dogs may not be kosher but it's all free. And nothing washs down a free hot dog like a $2 beer, right after work. Bottles and drafts (this is not a mixed drink establishment) are $3-$4 and because this is brought to you from the former manager of Rudy's Bar & Grille, it is open 11 am-4am every single day. Behind the candy apple red booths in the main area are vintage posters from Ringling Bros, Barnum and Bailey ("A collosal combination of what is great in circus entertainment") and dancing acrobats are hung from the ceiling.The back room is quiet, filled with more frightening circus themed art and posters from every movie that used the word in the title (the Famke Janssen one looks especially frightening- we've already Netflix'd it). Beyond that is a patio that, while in no way scenic, is going to be well-used by the group from the neighborhood that seemed to be comes instant regulars and where when we visited there were more stools in bright colors were being finished.

Utterly unpretenious but not a true dive either, the bar straddles definitions. The juke might be stuck in the mid-90's but the bartender, a tiny thing that sounds exactly like Rosie Perez, sings along to a more country track it's priceless. Circus is a bit of a spectacle but a cheap one and one that, like seeing the elephants, worth the price of admission.

615 9th Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets
(212) 325-4410