Explore your world
"CBGB 2" | © thenails/Flickr
"CBGB 2" | © thenails/Flickr

Writing On The Wall: A Look At NYC's Indoor Graffiti

Picture of Ameena Walker
Updated: 5 January 2017
The human brain is an interesting place, with numerous simultaneous thoughts jumbling around at any given moment. With so much on their minds, New Yorkers need an outlet through which to express themselves. We profile ten one-of-a-kind bars in which patrons have truly found a place to release their innermost drunken thoughts, adding a magical touch of NYC eccentricity.

Double Down Saloon

What’s cooler than a graffiti-tagged photo booth in a punk dive bar? Aside from all of the fantastically weird stuff you’ll find within the walls of the iconic Double Down Saloon, their graffiti murals are some of the best around. The bathroom is covered from ceiling to floor in graffiti and nothing is left untouched — not even the toilet seat.

Double Down Saloon, 14 Avenue A, New York, NY, USA +1 212 982 0543

MP and Gary Wright | © Mike Powers/WikiCommons

MP and Gary Wright | © Mike Powers/WikiCommons

Clockwork Bar

This no-frills punk rock bar on the Lower East Side is covered from top to bottom in graffiti, from the walls to the tables, bar stools, and all over the bathroom. Forget what your parents told you — here, patrons are encouraged to contribute their own creative touch, and this spot even offers a full selection of supplies available to spark your inner graffiti artist.

Clockwork Bar, 21 Essex Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 677 4545

The Gutter

Located on the north side of Williamsburg, this dive bar comes complete with a bowling alley, table hockey, and old-school vibes. Add a low price point and it’s no surprise that The Gutter is a neighborhood gem. Of course, what would this place be if it didn’t come with some of Brooklyn’s coolest bathroom graffiti?

The Gutter, 200 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 387 3585

Bathroom graffiti | © Rick/Flickr

Bathroom graffiti | © Rick/Flickr


Heavy Woods

Serving up Cajun/Creole cuisine in Bushwick, Heavy Woods is a hipster favorite. The décor is laid back but casually elegant, so it still comes as a surprise when you reach the bathroom and find that it’s covered wall-to-wall in graffiti.

Heavy Woods, 50 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 929 234 3500


The Abbey

The Abbey is a gritty little dive bar in Williamsburg with free popcorn and a pool table. What you see is what you get. While the toilets go almost untouched, every bathroom surface here is tagged time and time again.

The Abbey, 536 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 599 4400

© Marc Tarlock/Flickr

© Marc Tarlock/Flickr


Welcome to the Johnson’s

Two words describe this dive bar: beautiful disaster. The décor at Welcome to the Johnson’s looks like the 1950s regurgitated, yet the layers upon layers of spray paint and marker graffiti in a less-than-pristine bathroom are captivating — you’ll either want to contribute something yourself or simply snap a photo.

Welcome to the Johnson’s, 123 Rivington Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 420 9911


The Anchored Inn 

Heavy metal lovers flock to The Anchored Inn to catch shows and enjoy some cheap drinks. Of course, it wouldn’t be proper punk if the bathroom weren’t lit with neon green bulbs and heavily decorated with stickers, Sharpie, and Krylon.

The Anchored Inn, 57 Waterbury Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 576 3297

IMGP1208rd | © Bill Benzon/Flickr

IMGP1208rd | © Bill Benzon/Flickr


Iggy’s Keltic Lounge

Not much bigger than a hole in the wall, this diversely populated dive bar is a cool place to grab cheap drinks and kick back. The heavily-tagged, graffiti-strewn bathroom at Iggy’s Keltic Lounge is probably one of the cleanest commodes you’ll see on this list, but don’t worry — it’s still a notable work of art.

Iggy’s Keltic Lounge, 132 Ludlow Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 529 2731


Coal Yard Bar 

Coal Yard Bar is the epitome of ‘chill.’ This bar is as relaxed as they come, with a down-to-earth crowd, inexpensive drinks, and a liberal bring-your-own-food policy. No bells and whistles here, but who needs them? Their back room and bathroom are riddled with graffiti, fostering that good ol’ divey feel.

Coal Yard Bar, 102 1st Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 677 4595

Old School | © Jason Taellious/Flickr

Old School | © Jason Taellious/Flickr



Occupying an unassuming and inconspicuous corner in Bushwick, Palisades is a venue that hosts a multitude of music and poetry performances — so it makes sense that with all the creative chemistry floating around, patrons feel inclined to express themselves too. The graffiti and sticker-laden bathroom is unglamorous in every sense of the word, but it sports that special brand of NYC punk-rock charm.

Palisades, 906 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 201 214 7444