The ”Dive in the Lower East Series” series is an exploration of the best cheap dive bars in the Lower East Side, since the LES is being swallowed up by bars touting $18 Vodka Sodas and bros with Bud Lights.
When you enter Welcome to the Johnson’s for the first time, there is a sense that you stepped into a time machine that brought you to the basement where your Dad grew up in the 70’s listening to Hot Tuna on vinyl while playing pool and smoking Thai stick.
That sense pervades when you sit down on a plastic covered couch, usually next to a cute hipster, to drink a $2 PBR that came out of a refrigerator. There are no drafts, and the dusty bottles of booze sit behind the bar like they were snuck out of Grandpa’s liquor cabinet.
The crowd is friendly and the place feels like a real neighborhood bar, not another pop up cooked up by a yuppie trying to get in the with the cool kids. The drinks are cheap, the tunes are good, and the vibe is relaxed, which makes sense since the place is crusty (especially the graffiti covered bathroom) and low fuss. If you want to stop by for a few beers and feel like you stepped into a quirky LES basement apartment, then you’ll feel welcome indeed.
Welcome to the Johnsons is located at 123 Rivington Street. Happy Hour runs from 4:30 – 9:30 PM and features $2 PBR cans, $3 Bud bottles, and $4 well drinks. There is a second location in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that apparently has a different spirit and is less of a dive.