Tuesday, June 3, 2008

69 Bayard Restaurant: Dolla dolla bill, ya'll

I thought this place was closed for good.

69 has long been one of the go-to spots among my friends for disturbingly cheap, old-school Chinese food in the wee hours. The place is known for being covered from floor to ceiling with dollar bills, which people write their names or draw pictures on and then tape to the walls. I don't think I've ever put one up myself, but I know plenty of people who have. In the above photo, which I took about a year ago, the currency wallpaper was probably several layers deep.

Back in March, I saw that the place was shuttered and didn't know if 69 had finally bitten the dust or if it was just one of their purges—in the past the owners had occasionally taken down all the bills and applied the money towards renovations. (I have no idea how much it would all add up to, but I imagine it's a pretty decent amount.) Luckily, it turned out to be the latter, though when I stopped in with DT several weeks ago, more had changed in the restaurant than usual. In its latest incarnation, 69 is called 69 Bayard Restaurant, there are new teapots on every table, and sadly, the menu had been shortened and the prices raised.
Still, prices were rock-bottom despite the dollar or two tacked on, and sitting there with DT felt approximately like old times. We had come from Les Enfants Terribles nearby and the hour was late, the place was filled with other post-drinking eaters, and even with only about twelve dollars between us we still managed to feed ourselves with both coin and grub to spare. Though the food at 69 has never been spectacular, the duck chow fun and the cold sesame noodles we ordered that night tasted better than usual.

I don't think I'd ever recommend 69 except for when it's 4 am and my friends are craving Chinese food, but should the restaurant ever close for good instead of simply for renovations, it'll be a sad day in my world. Though with a new crop of scribbled bills already sprouting on the walls, 69 just might be open for a little while longer.


  1. this is chinese SOUL food!! best place in NYC for after club/theatre food. from the time you sit down till the time you order and get your food... 10 minutes top! I never waited longer then that.it may be a long line to get in after 3am because of the drunk crowd. lol. the place is small but its worth the trip. DONT TRY TO TAKE THE DOLLARS!! leave them, its what makes the place what it is. for a group of 4 of us, our bill came to $25.... and we took home food! the portions are very large. enough for 2. this place is the best.

  2. Anon, glad to hear from another fan!