Location: 522 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY
Best Dish: The wings were tasty and well prepared
Overall: It isn’t the best representation of the guilty pleasures you expect from a tavern but it is a welcoming place to watch sports and potentially rub elbows with New York’s bravest.
Firehouse Tavern is a laid back sports bar with an array of memorabilia celebrating New York’s bravest. The pub serves a variety of local beers and features a full bar. We stopped by the venue on a weeknight in search of good bar food. Our friendly server led us to a comfy booth on the upper level offering us a birds eye view of the bar scene below.
We got the evening started with a round of cocktails, as we normally do. The only specialty cocktails on the menu were four different types of margaritas. The venue has a fully stocked bar so we expected a broader menu with Firefighter or fire themed drinks. Since margaritas were the only drink listed we figured they must be the bars specialty and ordered two salt rimmed cocktails. We also ordered some wings, guacamole, and chips for starters. Serving margaritas in a beer tumbler should be outlawed but we would have overlooked that small detail if the margaritas weren’t so watered down. Unimpressed by the drinks we turned our attention to our piping hot wings.
As one would expect of a sports bar, Firehouse Tavern has several different sauces to coat their wings. We settled on the bubba sauce a proprietary blend that is sweet, savory and tangy. The wings were delicious, the sauce was tasty and the wings cooked perfectly.
In between bites, we sampled the guacamole. We love guacamole but this was something different. This tasted as if all of the creamy avocadi was replaced with lemons. If it weren’t for the green color we wouldn’t believe there was any avocado in it.
Like most sports bars, Firehouse Tavern has a selection of sandwiches to enjoy during the big game. Any sandwich on the menu can be customized with several styles. We chose the grilled chicken Jerk Style which includes, Jamaican jerk sauce, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. The sandwich is served on a fresh bun similar to a baguette. The sandwich on its own was pretty good. The chicken was moist and delicious but the sauce was perplexing, it lacked the peppery flavor we were lusting for. Jerk sauces are made with a blend of spices and one key ingredient the scotch bonnet pepper. This sandwich tasted nothing like jerk. The flavor was more Indian inspired with a garam masala and cinnamon aftertaste.
We adore ribs and were nearly salivating when we ordered the baby back ribs. We couldn’t wait to rip into them but again were disappointed. The ribs were tender but unseasoned. There was no love in these ribs they tasted like boiled then slathered with mustard barbecue sauce. There was no char or caramelization just ribs on a plate with “Sexy Fries”. We aren’t sure what is so sexy about these fries, but they taste like regular seasoned waffle fries but they were really good.
The last entree for the evening was the fajitas. The menu states that the meat is charbroiled and the platter is sizzling. This was not the case. Bits of tough beef were coated in a sweet red sauce with the rice and beans on the same hot, but not sizzling platter. The fajita is served with tortillas and sour cream.
Our last item of the evening was a brownie bowl. After an evening of blah dishes, we figured the brownie bowl should be great and like everything else, it wasn’t. The ice cream was creamy and the brownie was warm but the dessert lacked flavor. It wasn’t the guilty pleasure we hoped for and worst of all the brownie had a faint onion flavor as if it had been sitting uncovered in the fridge then microwaved.
In summation, if visiting Firehouse Tavern focus your energy on beers, not cocktails. They offer a nice selection of brews, some of which may be new to you and worth trying. If you get hungry while there stick to wings or a sandwich, either will satisfy though neither is anything to write home about.