Another lovely Spring day and I was particularly interested in hitting Scratcher, an Irish bar on East 5th Street. Unfortunately it was closed. In fact it was so closed I walked right by it once without noticing it. I have the vague feeling it is gone for good. Oh well, plenty of more bars in the area.
More of an Italian restaurant than a bar at 92 2nd Avenue, they did indeed have a small, narrow, “L” shaped bar with a light marble top with wood edging, a wooden front, and a brass rail. The short end of the bar is just a foot away from the large open doors letting in a nice breeze and the sounds of 2nd Avenue traffic. Outdoor seating is available on the sidewalk. There is wood shelving behind the bar with bottles and several antique looking framed mirrors. The bar chairs were dark wood and had dark brown padded seats. The floor was wooden as well. There is a pleasant, homey feel to this restaurant. What looks like old family photographs are framed and hanging on the walls and this adds to the ambience, as does the old living room style lamp sitting on the corner of the bar.
A large, somewhat poorly proportioned, mural of a canal and middle aged women sitting on a bench dominates one wall. The clientele, the place was packed with a private party, for the most part resembled the women on the bench. An old fringed velvet shaded light hung from the ceiling in the back corner. An ornate gilt framed blackboard with a poem about Spring and morning and snails written on it hung next to the mural.
Flying saucer type lamps hand over the bar and smaller lamps with metal fixtures and dome shaped yellowish glass shades hang over the tables along the wall with the mural and poem. The ceiling from which they hang is white painted tin. Somewhat out of place but unobtrusive white track lighting provides the rest of the illumination (other than the sun coming in through the doors and windows). The walls were primarily a pale yellowish wash with enough exposed brick to give the restaurant an authentic bistro feeling. The food smelled great and everyone seemed to be having a great time.
I had a nice glass of Chianti served in an elegant, long-stemmed wine glass. It was pricey, however, $11 plus tax made this one of the most expensive drinks I have had so far on my trek.
Just next door is this bar that is much larger looking once you get inside. It has a copper topped wooden edged bar with a black front. There is a pool table in the back and a comfortable looking lounge to one side. Mirrors and shelves holding liquor and glasses are behind the bar. The have a lot of draft beers poured from three sets of spigots sprouting from the top of the bar. There are a couple of nice flat screen televisions up front and a sign advertising $2 Rhinegolds. The place has deep rose colored walls and kind of a muddy brown ceiling with fairly ornate fans hanging from it. The floor is large orange tiles. A narrow ledge lines the wall behind the wooden bar chairs with black vinyl seats. The same type chairs sit in front of the ledge. Mirrors in window frames mounted above the ledge adds to the somewhat miniscule cabin-like ambience.
A little nook by the windows next to the door has a small round table surrounded by four hassock-like seats. There is a bit of log like paneling along with a small “Canoes For Rent” hanging behind the bar to help justify the name of the place. There were a lot of signs trying to recruit softball players for the bar’s coed softball team. Bar Man is too busy, and too old, to partake. I did have time to chat with the bartender, Denise, about neighborhoods we both new and how much they have changed over the years.
I had an draft Ithaca Apricot Wheat and it was nice and refreshing.
512) Sin Sin
On the corner of 5th Street and 2nd Avenue is this interestingly dark bar that manages to be dark even though it has large windows on two sides and it was mid-afternoon on a sunny day. Sin Sin actually means That’s That in Gaelic, but I think the double meaning is obvious and warranted Small lit candles on the bar and small tables add to the night during the day ambience. The beat-up orange plaster walls and black painted plywood floors give this a decidedly punkish ambience. The Ramones playing on the jukebox added to the feeling. There is an upstairs area called the Leopard Lounge with live music, DJ’s, and comedy, depending on the evening.
The bar chairs and stools, a mixture, have red velvet seats. The rest of the seating is brown fabric benches and hassocks arranged around the small round tables. Interesting orange lit panels sit atop short square wooden boxes. I am not sure if they can be used as tables or not. Probably. Most of the overhead spot lights seem to have the bulbs missing. There are nice little shaded lamps with red bulbs hang on the walls.
The bar itself is kind of a plain looking wooden affair with a brass rail. Plain wooden shelving behind the bar holds the liquor and glasses.
The whole place smells like cherry candy and the reason became apparent when someone came in to change the little canister air fresheners, complete with little fans, that hung about the place. Something a bit out of character about that smell in that kind of a place but the friendly bartender, Clair, said the owner liked the place to smell that way.
I had a Magner’s Irish Cider and, because it was happy hour (I think it is always happy hour) I had another.
513) NoHo Star
On the way back to the subway, in fact right next to the entrance at 330 Lafayette at Bleeker Street is this place that has a small bar but looks kind of like an old ice-cream parlor, a very big ice cream parlor. I had a few too many fruity drinks so I decided I need a stiff one and this looked like as good a place as any to get it. There is a small half-square wooden bar with luncheon counter stools that have sparkly turquoise seats. There is kind of a rubber mat covered foot rest. The bar is built into a corner and in the very corner on a perch on a shelf above the liquor is an illuminated plastic Howdy Doody head. No Phineas T. Bluster or Flub-A-Dub though. Nonetheless, it brought back memories of my youth parked in front of a small black and white screen television. There were also dark green marble panels framed by wood behind the bar that were separated by very narrow mirrored strips. Unlit little yellow shades hung over the bar. An old Quaker State Motor Oil clock with kind of a rotating green edging to the face hung on the wall to one side of the bar. For some reason there was a two level ceramic dish holding hard boiled eggs. Each egg was stamped with “certified organic” in red. One would hope so. I would hate to try to eat an inorganic egg.
The whole place has a light airy feel to it augmented by high white patterned ceilings and large, white framed windows on two sides. The floors are kind of a smooth white cement with embedded multi-colored marble pieces, some large and some quite small. Three pillars each with a different multi-colored design run down the middle of the floor. It is kind of loud and clanky sounding in here.
I had a very decently made Maker’s Mark Manhattan and called it a day.
Not a bad day, hitting four, making it 513 for the year with 487 left to go.