This Saturday is the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island but I am going to be visiting friends out at Long Beach, Long Island so I will have to miss it. A pity, because it is usually a lot of fun. I went last year but it was rainy. Still had a lot of fun, hanging out at Ruby’s and dashing out to take a picture every once in awhile. I figured it was such a nice day today though that I would just head out to Coney Island and hit a few bars on the boardwalk. Took the F train and it was the ride from hell. First train just stopped at about 63rd and we had to get off and wait for the next one. That one only took us to Avenue X (very aptly named)
and then it headed back to Brooklyn. We had to cross over to the other side and catch the train that usually returns to Brooklyn but for some reason was now shuttling back and forth between Avenue X and Coney Island. What a pain. The train was packed and it took about 20 minutes just to go down the stairs, over to the other side, and then up the stairs to the platform. It took about an hour and a half to get to the Beach. Oh well, it wasn’t like I had anything important to do. Oh, wait, I did, didn’t I.
A classic Coney Island boardwalk bar. You have to love the concept of a couple of these bars. I have been to dive bars and I have been to nice beaches, but seldom do you find dive bars built looking out over the beach.
This is a deep, dark place even on the brightest of days. The bar is your typical old, well weathered bar along one side of the place. The front area that opens to the beach is largely dominated by displays of fried food and a walk up serving counter. Needless to say the smells permeate the bar and I ended up ordering a corn dog. The Mysterious Chinese Woman was there as well and she had a hot dog.
The wall behind the bar is completely covered by pictures of the old Coney Island, although much of Coney Island still looks the same. Certainly Ruby's does.
In the back there is a beat up white sofa and table for the lounging crowd. You could probably spend hours just hanging at the bar and looking at the pictures though. They have a great jukebox and tables and chairs outside. Kind of a perfect combination of sunny day at the beach spent inside of a dark dive bar.
I had a Budweiser in a plastic cup. Budweiser just seemed right in a place like this and, quite frankly, the options were limited. They don’t like to sell sodas here because large signs proclaim that a 10 ounce soda costs $4.00. That’s more than the beer.
583) Cha Cha’s
Just a bit down the boardwalk from Ruby’s, and right next to the Shoot The Freak attraction, is a similar looking bar, big, cavernous, all black, and looking out at the beach. Fluorescent plastic glasses hang over the white, tacked on linoleum topped bar. These were probably for the frozen drinks being churned in the three machines behind the bar. There is a large stage area in the back and a set of drums sitting up front. The decaying cement ceiling is black, naturally, and had several bunches of little fish dangling from it. This reinforces the impression that you are in a basement dive bar that miraculously has a marvelous few of the ocean. The bar chairs are typical tubular metal with beat up black vinyl. The walls are covered with what looks to be graffiti as well as photos, paintings, and a display of tee shirts. Overhead fans with green bulbs create a bit of a breeze and a wee bit of light.
Bar Man With His Buddy
The friendly bartender, Genevieve, convinced me I should try the house beer, Wild Women & Wise Guys. In a plastic cup, of course.
584) Luna Park Saloon
This place is a few blocks off the beach in a little shopping mall that also contains an OTB. Leave your grudges at the door.
It has a light wooden bar with a black simulated leather top. It does have a bar rail. There is a string of beer bottle Christmas lights and blue, peeling painted plaster walls. There is a pool table in the back. Five televisions are above the bar, baseball on two of them, A black and white movie on another two, and OTB racing on the third one. There were a couple of guys at the end of the bar with the races showing and the discussion about the horses was quite animated. The bar didn’t sell food but we got there just when the bartender, Adrian, was ordering sandwiches from Pal’s. I couldn’t resist so I had pastrami on rye. The Mysterious Chinese Woman had corned beef.
Adrian The Bartender
I had a glass of Miller Genuine Draft, and a shot of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey.
A nice day with three bars hit making 584 for the year and leaving 416 to go.
I decided to take the N train back to Brooklyn. It stops a bit further away from Bar Man’s house but at least it was a straight shot with no transfers. On the way home I passed by Hank’s Saloon and popped in for a quick one. I heard a bit of disturbing news however, it seems that the place has been sold. The bartender, Jeannie, said that after 11 years she may not be around much longer because new people Might be be brought it. She said that she heard the new owner was going to keep it as it is in terms of the décor but build on top of it. We shall see, the place kind of looks like it is already falling down. Anyway, by all means try to get to this place while you can, it may not be around much longer. You can't keep the place the same if Jeannie goes.
Jeannie, The Excellent Bartender at Hank's Saloon