The most tired thing you can do as a wealthy middle-aged hipster, besides being a wealthy middle-aged hipster, is to follow your dreams by opening a vanity dive bar, paid for by a major New York restaurant group. Taking the crown, the cake, and the trophy as the most tired of wealthy middle-aged hipsters is Justin Theroux. Justin’s new “dive” bar is called Ray’s, it’s located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and a shot and a PBR will cost you $12 (down from $19 when it first opened 2 weeks ago, according to a recent Yelp review). But what Ray’s lacks in authentic dive bar ambiance, it more than makes up for it in jaw (and probably name) dropping pretension, according to The New York Post.
The Post reviewed Ray’s and wow, did they hate it, stating it has a “cringe-inducing air of a brand desperate for cool points”. But reviews be damned! Justin calls it a place where “nobody knows your name”, but that’s probably just because it’s packed with a bunch of B-list celebrities like That Guy Who Was On That Thing and Is That David Spade?
Justin’s a cool dude, guys. He’s just following his heart with “a couple of friends” like his rescue pit Kuma and “a vertically integrated hospitality group overseeing the design, development, operations, and consulting of some of New York’s most successful food and beverage venues” called Golden Age Hospitality. Just super caj and chill.
You know, the kind of place that has a picture of dogs playing poker on the wall and an “out of order” sign on the jukebox that I am 100% convinced works just fine.
According to The Post:
From the outside, Justin Theroux’s new “dive” bar just might pass for a real no-frills joint, with its black-painted brick exterior, an awning marked “liquor-beer” and wooden blinds obstructing the glow of the street lights.
But step inside, and any hope for a beer-and-shot combo under $5 is promptly torpedoed.
Instead, the place teems with buttoned-up bros and Soho scenesters, with eye-popping prices (a shot of Evan Williams and a PBR is $12), fake-looking decor (even the Townes Van Zandt posters look brand-new) and clean, red leather bar stools (OK, they’re pretty comfortable).
As The Post points out, you can’t just open a dive bar. Dive status must be earned.
In case he’s forgotten, dive bars gain their stripes through long boozy nights splattered with blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids. They’re dirty, dingy and edgy from wear and tear, a carousel of questionable characters and, most importantly, time.
So while Justin may think it’s cute to say Ray’s is “a place you can carve your initials into the table”, I have a feeling the actual grown-ups in charge might not be so forgiving. But hopefully, Ray’s patrons will take Justin at his word and treat it like a true dive by pissing in a corner when no one’s looking. Maybe his “friends” at Golden Age won’t mind.