Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Johnny Utah's

Any restaurant/bar that names itself after a Keanu Reeves character has some 'splaining to do. And after going there this past weekend, it has even more.

Johnny Utah's opened last year on 51st street between 5th and 6th Avenue's and promises the "urban cowboy" experience. It has the only mechanical bull in New York City and lots of young drunk people climb on, buckle up and down, and then get thrown off of it. If you're a lady wearing an even semi low-cut shirt be warned -- the guys operating the thing will shake you back and forth so that everyone can see your bosoms jiggle. Yes, if you're looking for the "urban cowboy experience", you'll have a blast (although don't expect to see John Travolta or Debra Winger anywhere).

So what did I think? This is a joint with an identity crises. It looks and feels like a bar but it's also a restaurant. The food is mostly Mexican but it's supposed to be a Texas-style honky-tonk. The place looks and feels like your typical upscale NYC Yuppie joint ($12 Mohitos fer Chrissakes!) but also tries to be "down-home." The activity, as mentioned, is riding the mechanical bull but the music they blast is anything you might hear on Z100 (not, you know, country-western music like you might expect).

And what this has to do with the Johnny Utah character from Point Break I have no friggin' clue.

Believe it or not, this place is very popular. It was jammed. We got there early, around 8 PM, and when we left close to midnight, there was a line down the block. It's not my kind of scene (I was there meeting a friend) but if you like to watch drunk Yuppies embrace their inner redneck, check it out.

Johnny Utah's


  1. I enjoy checking out novelty bars but you're right, doesn't look like they made any effort to stick to the theme. Are you sure it's the only mechanical bull place, I could've sworn the LES had one, too. The West Coast does that kind of thing so much better but I'm not in a rush to get thrown off a bull again anytime soon.

    Remember the old Denim 'n' Diamonds bar in the 90s? I think it was even in the same neighborhood.

  2. This place claims to have the only mechanical bull in NYC. There might have been some downtown in the old days but I couldn't say.

    I'm afraid I don't recall the Denim n' Diamonds of the 1990s. Was it cool or hokey?


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