The Avenue A barstaurant Sidewalk Cafe has been an East Village fixture since 1985. The joint's always been popular for its open mic nights (Jeff Buckley and The Moldy Peaches are among the acts that got their start here) and its reasonably priced drinks, not so much for its shabby furnishings and middling food. This is something the owners have set out to change; after shutting down in March, it reopened this week with an extensive face-lift and a new menu. Boozy $10 milkshakes, anyone?
The newly renovated space is making food a top priority, with all day-and-night breakfast platters like crème brûlée French toast with bacon, plus dinners like Israeli-style chicken schnitzel and the aforementioned line of spiked milkshakes, with options like the Monkey Business (bourbon, banana, peanut butter, chocolate, ice cream) and Grasshopper (whipped cream vodka, crème de minthe, coffee liquor, ice cream). They'll also have a full liquor license and half a dozen beers on tap. And, in a nod to the neighborhood's night-owl denizens, the Cafe will be open until 4 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 24 hours on weekends, starting on Fridays at 11 a.m.