Nothing screams New York more than a ride on the subway. The most democratic means of transportation of this city shows you what it is made of: the good, the bad and the ugly, all take the subway. I must admit that I have a pretty dysfunctional relationship with the MTA and love to use its lack of reliability, its crowded cars, and its peculiar characters as an ice breaker in any conversation. After all, have you ever met a New Yorker that doesn’t complain about everything?
One of the things that drives me up the wall is the fact that you are basically locked up in your borough during the weekends: repairs, itinerary changes and delays make avoiding the subway a very tempting proposition. But then, thanks to its lack of reliability, we happen to discover some new places.
AOA Bar and Grill was one of these subway mess ups. After a very fun Saturday afternoon at the Children’s Museum of the Arts, where the girls let their creativity out, we decided to take the closest subway to get back to Brooklyn, being our closest choice the C Spring Street station. Of course, we got there after a decent walk for the girls, peppered with a bunch of “Are we there yet?” and “Mamaaaaaaa, I’m tiiiiiiired”, to find out that the downtown trains were not running. Excellent! I found myself with two weary and hungry girls and a bunch of bulky art projects to bring back to Brooklyn and no train in sight. Our next option was taking a cab (no such luck) or walking to the next closest station, the A/C at Canal Street. The walk seemed endless and by the time we got there, a communal meltdown was about to materialize. So how do we always solve that problem? With food (and a drink), of course! At this point I was not going to even try to get somewhere I knew, so I settled for the first semi kid friendly place that I saw, and AOA’s outside seating caught my eye.
Granted, it’s not one of the places that would have been my first choice, but then, beggars can’t be choosers. It is an ample and loud space attached to the Hilton Garden Inn and it is fashioned as a
sports bar. With over a dozen of huge TV screens all around the place playing all kind of imaginable sports, you enter the space to a huge bar and an area with high bar tables and stools and huge windows facing Sixth Avenue, packed with random groups of people having beers and snacks on a Saturday afternoon. There is a sit down area in the back, also ample and bright, where we sat. The service was a bit slow but they were aware of the fact and apologized for it.
They do have a kids menu and the girls were given crayons and a sports related coloring page. They also have high chairs. As Dad Vivant was waiting for us for dinner, we decided on a Margherita pizza for the girls (it never fails) and a cold pint of beer for me. The pizza was OK, with thick chunks of mozzarella (to La Petite Wasabi’s delight) and a bit garlicky for my taste. But then, both the pizza and the beer accomplished their mission, which was to calm everyone down and give us a rest.
They have 5 unisex bathrooms, all the way back, on the right. They are decently ample and clean. Plus the first bathroom has a changing table.
And even though this place wouldn’t have never crossed my mind, it is good to know it’s there. It is ample, kid friendly and just by a subway station entrance. Plus, they offer pizza making classes on the weekends.
AOA Bar and Grill
35 Avenue of Americas
New York, NY 10013
Tuesday – Saturday: 6:00am – 2:00am
Sunday – Monday: 6:00am – 12:00am