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$5 Burgers and Go-Go Dancers Featured at New '70s Inspired Bar

By Shaye Weaver | June 3, 2016 3:48pm | Updated on June 6, 2016 8:30am
 Ethyl's has cheap eats and a retro feel.
Ethyl's Brings Back the 70s to the Upper East Side
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UPPER EAST SIDE — From go-go dancers and "5-dolla" burgers to Goldie Hawn lookalikes  — this new '70s-inspired bar will do anything to get you through the door.

Ethyl's Alcohol & Food is all about nostalgia, good times and cheap but good eats, said its owner Paul Gerard, who opened the bar at 1629 Second Ave., between 84th and 85th streets on May 12.

"New York used to be a place where you would come to do whatever your small town wouldn’t allow you to do, people would come here to fly their freak flag, but now they come here and want to open a Wisconsin cheese shop, but it doesn't mean we have to lose this," Gerard told DNAinfo New York on Thursday.

In the spirit of that concept, go-go dancers will be the centerpiece of entertainment at the bar every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, according to Gerard.

They'll be dancing — sometimes on skates — to rock and roll, soul, funk, disco and "anything that makes you want to go outside and wash your car," he said.

And from noon to 4 p.m. on weekends, waitresses dressed as Goldie Hawn will be serving up a "Bubbles Brunch," where patrons are invited to eat their eggs as bubbles and French pop music waft through the air, according to Gerard.

The decor is just as flashy as its attractions. The interior is red, black and gold and the walls are plastered with portraits of sex symbols from the period, including Farrah Fawcett, Andy Warhol, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and David Bowie.

"The decor reflects that warm place, where your old man used to pick you up from school and make you sit for awhile while he drank his scotch," said Ethyl's manager Adam James Velez.

"The aesthetics reflect the time when Times Square was Times Square when there were peep shows and it was gritty...we wanted to romanticize why everybody came here," he added.

In addition to its signature $5 burger, the bar serves up a slew of dishes under $12, including chicken wings, smoked crab dip, dirty nachos and "chocolatey balls," made with cheese-stuffed meatballs covered in chocolate mole sauce.

Gerard, a chef for more than 30 years, and Velez, who calls himself a carnival barker, are friends who ran into each other in the restaurant world. They first met at Gerard's Exchange Alley restaurant in TriBeCa, and eventually went on to host a podcast together about the restaurant business called "Eating Disorder."

They say they have big plans for Ethyl's, including a "Rock and Roll night" with DJs and live bands and a comedy night at the bar once a month, starting on June 8.

Longtime Upper East Side residents, Katheryn Kaplan and Patrick Knowlton, stopped in for the first time on Thursday and seemed pleased with the concept.

"We live in the neighborhood and we've been to every restaurant, but there's not been anything like this ever," Knowlton said.