Today was a most interesting day. The three person German television crew showed up at my apartment right on the button at 11:00 A.M. to do some filming of me hard at work at my PC making an entry to my blog. Then they took off for another assignment that turned out to be shopping in my neighborhood for food. Apparently they knew of a German butcher shop in the area and they loaded up on sausages. I wonder if it was Staubitz, the one that I usually go to. Here is a picture I took at Staubitz the last time I was there.
At any rate I then met up with them again at Rocky Sullivan’s. They picked the place and it was one that I have already been to so I cannot count it towards my thousand. Oh well, sometimes one has to make sacrifices for one’s art. Things got better after that though as we hit a couple of bars that were new to me.
528) P.J. Clarke’s
Probably one of the most well-known bars in Manhattan at 915 3rd Avenue, right on the corner of 55th. I just have not made my way this far uptown yet but certainly will be doing so in the near future. Bars everywhere you look. P.J. Clarke’s is another bar that lays claim to being one of the oldest bars in New York having been around since 1884. If you haven’t been here you still may have seen it, it was featured in the 1945 film “The Lost Weekend” starring Ray Milland. He won an Oscar for his portrayal of an out-of-control alcoholic. I believe it still has a link to stardom because I think Timothy Hutton is one of the current owner’s. If the Friday afternoon crowd was any indication of the kind of business they usually do he made a sound investment.
It has, as you would imagine, a great old bar complete with a brass rail and there are absolutely gorgeous fixtures including a stained glass covering to the men’s room. Makes it seem kind of like you are taking a leak in a church. And yes, this picture was taken from inside the men's room.
There is a clutter of bottles and blackboards behind the bar. One of the blackboards advertised “Artichoke Dip and Pigs Ina Blanket.” There is also any oyster bar across from the drinking bar. Just plain wood barstools and the ceiling is patterned tin but painted dark brown. The floor has a small white circle pattern to it. There is a nice old pendulum clock hanging on the wall next to the bar.
The windows up on two sides are large and the ones in front were open giving an almost outdoor feel to that end of the bar. A friendly crowd and, as you might imagine, we attracted a bit of attention so I got a chance to engage in a few interesting conversations with people who wanted to know what was going on.
The have a nice selection of beers and I had a draft Grolsch. I like Grolsch but you don’t see it on draft in too many places.
This is another venerable establishment at 150 West 47th Street. And I got to meet the venerable Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post. He was there with a photographer too so we had the somewhat surrealistic experience of a film crew filming me being interviewed. Mr. Dunleavy, as anyone who is familiar with his work probably knows, is a character in his own right and a most pleasant conversationalist. After the interview we sat around and had a few more drinks together and then I headed home and he headed back to file his story. When I got home there was a message for me from him double checking a fairly minor fact to make sure he got it right so I certainly give him credit for being thourough.. I hope to have drinks with him again in the future. He is a most interesting and pleasant drinking partner. Keep an eye out for the Sunday edition of the New York Post, there should be an article about me in there. You might want to check out the Sunday edition of the New York Daily News too, I have a hunch there will be something in there as well.
Well, as you can imagine I didn’t have a whole lot of time to take notes at either P.J. Clarke’s or this place so forgive me for the paucity of detail. Langan’s is an Irish bar and the bartenders are most accommodating. That may have been because I was with Mr. Donleavy and to say he is a regular is like saying the ocean is wet. His face graces the screensaver on the PC behind the bar and there is an old-time ship’s lifesaver at the end of the bar that has S.S. Dunleavy emblazoned upon it where the name of the ship would normally appear. I think his image is etched in glass somewhere as well but I didn’t see it. There is, however, a large portrait of Michael Caine on the wall, and his eyes seem to follow you everywhere you go (except in the bathroom). In fact the décor consists mostly of pictures of actors, many of them taken with the owners of the place. I understand that the food here is delicious and when time permits I will certainly visit again.
I had a draft Heffeweiss. The guy interviewing me coached me on how to say it correctly so that when he asked me what I was having people would be able to understand me. My mistake ordering a German beer. I had a few Dewar’s and sodas later with Mr. Donleavy and some friends of his who dropped by on their way to the Yankees/Red Sox game.
Well, all in all it was a most enjoyable day. I hit two new bars bringing my total for the year to 529 leaving me with 471 left to go. I took the N train back to the station on Atlantic Avenue, stopped in at Hank’s Saloon for a quick Dewar’s and soda and went to meet the Mysterious Chinese Woman for dinner at Armando’s. Befitting her name she is a bit camera shy so she didn’t accompany me on my travels today.