Phebe’s Wings Are ‘Good Enough’

Phebe's wings

Back when I was in my … well, back when I was younger, my friends and I would occasionally go to a sports bar called¬†Phebe’s, because we were young and it was cheap and in the East Village — and at the time, the East Village was where you hung out if you were young and broke and trying to seem cool. I don’t quite know where “young people” who are trying to seem cool hang out these days (Williamsburg?), because I am old and broke and live in old-people’s Brooklyn and just want the young people to get off my stoop. Or I would, if I had a stoop.

It’s not that Phebe’s was remotely cool or even pretended to be, but the fact that it was cheap counted double. Also, we felt like we were slumming it there, since our other preferred hangout was the far swankier Belmont Lounge (in retrospect, I have no idea what we were thinking). At some point, Phebe’s closed for a while owing to health code violations — we assumed because of rats, and I’m sorry, but when you don’t know any better that’s always what you assume — and then, in the way of young people who have the attention spans of goldfish, we forgot it existed. Later we heard it had reopened, but every time someone mentioned it, we’d joke, Phebe’s is still open? Wasn’t it shut down for health code violations? Which, come to think of it, isn’t that funny of a joke or even a joke for that matter, but as I might have mentioned, we were young, and therefore kind of stupid.

Time passed. [--> insert time passing] Somehow or other, I started going to Phebe’s again. I was working a night job, and most of the people I worked with were in their twenties and liked going there for parties. I doubt many of my new colleagues knew that Phebe’s had ever had a health code shutdown, and I didn’t mention it. None of us had any money. We weren’t going for the ambience. Once again, Phebe’s was good enough. Continue reading

Eat at Jo’s (Bar): Wings with Sake, Black Bean Sauce and Bacon Powder

Jo's Bar

I used to walk past Jo’s on Elizabeth Street and wonder what it was like inside. From the sidewalk it seemed like a bistro-y place, not too trendy or crowded, though I did once try to meet someone there for dinner and the front room was too packed. We went to BarBossa instead (known in my head as “that place with the black-and-white floor that starts with B and has feijoada and Guinness cake,” which I keep confusing with Barmarch√©). And so though I remained curious about Jo’s, other places took priority, and I never went.

When Jo’s turned up on Eater’s Where to Eat Wings list, I figured this was the universe telling me it was time to pay Jo’s a visit. I recruited my friend Hannah, who was drawn, as I was, to the advertised happy hour until 8 p.m. We pulled up to the welcoming bar at 7 and there were plenty of seats, always a nice surprise in a neighborhood like Nolita. Continue reading