Helen’s Café @ W. 56th and Storer Ave.
Helen’s which is less of a dive than a two family house where beer and liquor are, well not exactly served, more like spilled when the lady behind the bar has finished slamming her own shot. The wait-staff consists of a couple of perpetually inebriated old-timers who have snapped on the whiskey earmuffs and get to you when they eventually make eye contact. They say you can smoke if you pay them a dollar, assuming that the money is being saved for the next citation.
This place is a staple for the neighborhood boozing community and has gone through many names over the years. The bar serves third shift at 5:30 a.m. and everyone knows each other’s names at Helen’s. At any given time you can find at least one person curling around the bar beneath their own name written on the ceiling above them.
There is a nice long solid wood bar with change someone has hot glued down to confuse the beer blind un-usuals. And it still elicits laughs when a young presumptuous pup gets his change confused with Helen’s.
If there were a lower designation than dive Helen’s would get it. It’s a belly flop.
Which leads us to our new system of comparison. These will be our ratings for dive-ability.
bottom tier: belly flop 2nd tier: cannon ball
3rd tier: jackknife 4th tier: swan dive
With rigorous research as our guide we will find the perfect dive.