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Elvis Guesthouse

Bars, Dive bars East Village
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
1/2
Paul WagtouiczElvis Guesthouse
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
2/2
Paul WagtouiczElvis Guesthouse

One August morning in 1977, an aging, bloated rock icon pulled on a blond wig and bought a one-way ticket from Memphis to Istanbul, where he hitchhiked the hippie trail and stealthily bunked in guesthouses until opening a small bar in Kathmandu. Or so goes the fictional legend behind this raucous East Village basement boîte from Baby’s All Right honchos Billy Jones and Zachary Mexico. Tucked in the team’s former punky Arrow space, the indie-rocking dive is neither all-out music venue nor dance club but a hybrid of the two, rigged with a steady stream of avant-garde DJs (Chances with Wolves, Tennessee Thomas), no-frills drinks and a “selfie corner.” Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. (Sorry.)

ORDER THIS: Fancy cocktails these ain’t. Drinks may be of the dive variety, but the bartenders definitely know how to navigate the bottles, pouring generous standards ($12)—we’re talking two parts alcohol to every one-part mixer—like vodka-sodas jolted with turmeric and whiskey-spiked iced tea, and offering a handful of beers on tap, including Busch ($5), Spaten ($7) and Pacifico ($6). The bar’s also in the process of brewing its own house ale, dubbed Concierge.

GOOD FOR: Aficionados of camp. Elvis fanatics might despair at the lack of Graceland paraphernalia, but there are Kama Sutra–wallpapered bathrooms, shower-curtained bathhouse alcoves and a rose-covered corner fixed with Instagram-ready lighting. (Hey, what more do you want?) It’s a space befitting the diverse crowd: ball-capped hipsters interspersed with in-the-know tourists and off-duty models.

THE CLINCHER: In a city inundated with places to booze, it’s hard—hell, damn near impossible—to stand out. With faux-Neolithic hieroglyphs tattooed on the walls and incense fumes snaking through the air, this fun-loving bar harks back to the neighborhood’s gritty, gonzo past, a time when the beer was cheap, the music was loud and, yep, Elvis was king.

By: Tyler Anderson

Posted:

Venue name: Elvis Guesthouse
Contact:
Address: 85 Ave A
New York
10009
Cross street: between 5th and 6th Sts
Opening hours: Daily 9pm–4am
Transport: Subway: F to Lower East Side–Second Ave
Price: Average beer: $7. AmEx, MC, V
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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tastemaker

Like bars that feel like a friends basement? And dancing until all hours? You've come to the right place. 


The mystique of the place begins with the entrance, as in good luck finding it. It's on that part of Ave A where there's awesome restaurants at street level and then undisclosed businesses below. This is one of those downstairs gems. 


From there, you may pay a teeny cover before beelining to the bar to the left and then dancing your butt off in the back. 


If you somehow get bored of that, there's an iconic flower wall for taking #selfies and plenty of elevated surfaces to explore. 


For announcements about last-minute guest DJs and celebs hanging about (most recently, DJ Snake and Biebs), give their Insta a follow.