Barflying: Brazil 46
Last week the barfly in me took me to midtown Manahattan for the Brazil-Ireland match. Admittedly, midtown is not the most interesting place in New York. But on a one block stretch of 46th St. is an area known as Little Brazil you can find a small respite from the blandness of the surrounding area. While not as large (it's seems to have gotten even littler in recent years) or well-known as the city's Chinatown or Little Italy there are a few restaurants and bars worth checking out if you are on the hunt for something in the area.
One of the better choices is Brazil 46. Run by a lively owner named Tanya, it's a small, understated space with it's most-memorable physical feature being a massive, knitted Brazilian flag that is framed against an exposed brick wall. That and the prerequisite out-sized projector TV screen in the back; what better way to watch all those live Série A matches in Portuguese that come in via satellite?
Whatever ground Tanya's place may lose in indistinct decor is gained 10x in outstanding food & drink. She may not know interior design but she is quite knowledgeable about two things which are far more important: soccer and how to make ridiculously good drinks. She proudly proclaims to be one of her native country's 160 million coaches. And as for her prowess with lime, sugar, mortar and pestal goes you'll be hard pressed to find a caipirinha as lethal & delicious as her's without first paying a visit to Orbitz.
On match days she grinds out an endless stream of Brazil's signature drink, an Amazon River of liquor. From my perch at the bar it seemed that the mix of college kids from Curitiba and grey-haired Irishmen had an almost insatiable appetite for the sweet cocktail. As for me I limited my intake to a single sampling; I could not say the same for the golden-fried goodness of the salgadinhos I was served. Half of the time I was a clueless as a forward in goal as to what was inside the stuffed pastries but once I had one there was no way I was going to let a little mystery filling stand between me and a full stomach.
As I said in the opening midtown is no place to go by choice unless you have a train or a Broadway show to catch. But if you're in the area and looking for something close, comfortable and footie-friendly with no pretension and even less chance of leaving hungry or sober, Brazil 46 is good choice.