Boogie over to Flaming Saddles Hells Kitchen for the kick ass Gay Western Saloon, where our Bad to the Bone Bartenders strut their stuff & aim to please.
The bar, Flaming Saddles, at 793 Ninth Avenue, near 53rd Street, opened in 2011. The actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and the television personality Anderson Cooper bantered about it on Mr. Cooper’s daytime talk show. And New York magazine, which named it the Best Gay Bar in New York City last year, said the bartenders “do-si-do on the bar top like an all-male version of Coyote Ugly.”
This is no shot-and-a-beer joint. The top-selling drink at Flaming Saddles is vodka and seltzer. (Amid calls for a boycott of Stolichnaya to protest attacks on gay people in Russia and antigay legislation backed by President Vladimir V. Putin, Flaming Saddles changed its “midnight Stoli hour” to a “midnight Absolut hour,” with the same $8-a-drink price.)
The jukebox has John Denver’s “Country Boy” and Will Smith’s “Wild, Wild West.” The room is a homage to a frontier-town saloon, or perhaps to the set of “Annie Get Your Gun”: comfortably dark, even in the daytime, with bordello-red drapes, velvety patterned wallpaper, wide-plank floors and an old-fashioned pressed-metal ceiling.
They may be long on energy, but they are short on space. The bar, only 32 inches wide, is a runway of possible hazards. As dancers, the bartenders must sidestep customers’ drinks, not to mention elbows. Ms. Squatriglia eliminated one potential problem in the beginning. She put in a flat bar top, replacing one that had an ornamental lip that could be tripped over, and she insisted that it be made of harder wood.