Tom & Jerry's | New York City
You won't find obnoxious "No cell phone" signs at Tom & Jerry's (aka 288 Bar). Over the last few years, the lovable dive bar in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood has amassed quite a following among the twentysomething digerati, meaning iPads and smartphones are now standard table dressings.
Free Wi-Fi, homemade Chex mix and a binder of local take-out menus are among the on-the-record reasons why young social media mavens and entrepreneurs hang here (and, in the summer, the refreshing cucumber-lime cocktails are a big draw, too).
Naturally, this clientele also has attracted venture capitalists looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg, making T&J's our favorite bar in which to get an idea funded.Insider gossip suggests that dozens of funding deals--including some with more than six zeroes in front of the decimal point--have been hatched at the long mahogany bar. Of course that means many deals have been broken and smashed to bits, too.
"We're a comfortable neighborhood bar with no pretension," says Jo Janes, who opened the joint in 1993. "In that environment, anything is possible."
Consider happy hour. On most weeknights, the high-ceilinged bar swells with after-work crowds from companies such as Curbed, Foursquare, blip.tv and Gawker--all of which are located nearby. Conversation ranges from user experience to company valuation. Work types gather at a big table in the back, collaborating and peering into laptop screens.
Then, of course, there's John Carney, perhaps the most regular "regular" of them all. Carney runs the CNBC NetNet Wall Street blog and was former editor of DealBreaker and Clusterstock.com. While he won't dish funding specifics on these sites, he admits he conducted critical meetings at T&J's, and that the bar has been his office away from the office for some time.
"More relaxed than a conference room, less formal than a meal," he says of the vibe. We'll drink to that.
Order like a regular: The Bee Stinger, made of sweet honey, bourbon and fresh lemon juice.
Go: 288 Elizabeth St.; (212) 260-5045
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor in Healdsburg, Calif. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and has covered startups and entrepreneurship for The New York Times, TIME and CIO. He also covers a variety of other topics, including travel, parenting, education and -- seriously -- gambling. He can be found on his personal website, Whalehead.com.