RUDY’S, Hell’s Kitchen

by Kevin Walsh

I am sure a number of Forgotten Fans will have stories to tell about Rudy’s, a mainstay for decades in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue north of West 44th Street. The joint is hardly classifiable as “forgotten,” but FNY is also an infrastructure blog, so I’d like a word about its incredible red neon sign that burns night and day. Whoever crafted it is a stone genius, with its angled sanserif lettering. Not only that, it may be the original, as it shows up in this 1940 photo…

I have been in Rudy’s, but it was several years ago. It’s genuine. The booth seats are in red leather that is several decades old and repaired with duct tape (which I hear has been replaced). The house beers are Ruby’s Red and Ruby’s Blond, but unlike another ancient dive, McSorley’s, you can have other brands of beer and other liquor. And, you can still have a free hot dog with every beer you purchase. It is a perfect place to sit with friends, drink and chew the fat in addition to the hot dogs.

Crowned by antique Tiffany lamps, the booths are all covered in duct tape. The house beers– a red and a terrific blonde — run you $2.50 for a pint and $7 for a pitcher….there’s little space among the young bankers and advertising types who long ago elbowed out the boozy neighborhoodies who used to dominate. Nowadays old timers who wander in seem out of place, especially after sundown whe the post-work crowd settles in. I witnessed a septuagenarian trying to get the atention of another septuagenarian. Though they were standing only five feet away from each other, it was too loud for them to hear one another. –Ben Westhoff, New York City’s Best Dive Bars, 2nd Edition, IG Publishing 2010

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



John December 9, 2022 - 6:53 am

Is this place still open?

Kevin Walsh December 9, 2022 - 10:16 am


Mike Olshan December 9, 2022 - 11:17 am

I have walked past hundreds of times but never gone in.

chris December 9, 2022 - 8:44 pm

In the old photo it says on the awning Helens bar and restaurant.Maybe
she was Helen Waite,the famous credit manager.

Anonymous December 9, 2022 - 10:50 pm

Rudy’s red and blonde!

Rudy fan December 10, 2022 - 8:33 am

Booths got recovered during COVID.

GeeCee December 10, 2022 - 9:25 am

Haven’t been there in a few years and I live around the corner, may try on an afternoon when it’s not too crowded…

Robert Browne December 10, 2022 - 11:25 am

Real Dive Bars dont sell t shirts , coffie mugs or have projection tv screens as Rudys does , this article was published many years ago , you plagiarized the article just to get views and cash , lets be honest you haven’t been to Rudys

Kevin Walsh December 10, 2022 - 11:22 pm

Who’s plagiarizing? I quoted Westhoff and credited him. In have been in Rudy’s years ago, as stated.

Anonymous December 10, 2022 - 12:08 pm

I’d love to know when the pig statue appeared and the story behind that. The sign is so so cool.

Tim Young December 12, 2022 - 12:43 am

A long time manager of Rudy’s, Ernie, also managed The Holland bar, The Savoy and Swine on Nine. Originally he had the Pig up there. I think he found it somewhere in New Jersey. Swine was up 9th between 48 and 49. Eventually he moved it to Rudy’s.
I was a fixture at Rudy’s from 1994 to 2013. Awesome.

Mike December 11, 2022 - 3:06 pm

Post-COVID, the booths are all newly-reupholstered, the barstools, too, complete with an embroidered logo. It’s still a great dive bar, just a little less divey. If you’ve never been, you need to go, have a few very reasonably priced drinks, a free hot dog, and a chat with someone on your left or right who you’ve never met before.


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