Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Uptown, Or Yorkville, Revisited

I headed back to my haunts of Monday to retake the pictures that I had lost when I inadvertently tried to do some editing before copying the image off of my video card. It proved to be an enjoyable day, except for my return visit to Jackson Hole, and I met some interesting people. I also found out that this neighborhood is known as Yorkville.

669) Panorama Café

Located on the corner of 85th and 2nd Avenue is this New Orleans style building with an interesting interior. The wood bar has a wavy top with light wood paneled front. The bar chairs are dark wood with a bluish green vinyl seats. A brass beer station sits on the bar but it is defunct. The handles have been removed and it sits forlorn, unloved and unused. The backbar has three mirrors with tiered shelves in front of the mirrors on each end and single shelf mounted on the mirror above those. These hold, as you might have guessed, the liquor. The middle mirror has a wrought iron shelf like a set of steps going up and coming down. The steps hold nine bottles of single malt scotch and a single bottle of Hennessey. At the summit sits a decorative bottle of Remy Martin X.O. Separating the mirrors and at each end are large patterned metal dividers shaped a bit like vain number twos peering at themselves in the mirrors. A metal wine rack sits to the left of the mirrors. Above the bar back is a panel with green, orange, and red leaf-like designs. There are interesting, and somewhat dangerous looking metal fixtures hanging above the bar. I think it was the pointed bottoms that made me nervous. There is a television at one end of the bar.

Interesting sculptures and mirrors decorate one corner with tables and chairs in front of high-backed red banquettes.

There are a couple of European looking street lights in the main dining area and large windows with light green frames that give the place a light and airy feeling. Interesting metal sculptures hang on the walls between the windows too.

The flooring is dark wood and the ceiling is wood paneled. The walls are red with redwood stained paneling going up about a third of the way. A staircase leads up to another dining area where there is a neat balcony. Sidewalk seating is also available. A smiling Aztec-like sun sculpture greets you as you enter.

I checked out the menu and saw that they had a “wild mushroom” omelet. This got me thinking because last night I had ravioli at Pete’s Waterfront Ale House and it too had “wild mushrooms.” I mean, just how wild can a mushroom be. Are these really mushrooms that someone has foraged in the woods somewhere? If so, what are the qualifications of the forager. If they really are just raised in a cave, can the still be called “wild”? Ah, the things that weigh heavily on the Bar Man’s mind. And while still working on my first drink of the day.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.

670) Brady’s

Well, things took an interesting turn when I walked into this Irish pub on 2nd Avenue at the corner of 82nd Street. It took me awhile to get a good shot of the place because of street signs and cars. See, Bar Man does try to provide a quality product. Anyway, the bartender, Kevin, asked me if I got a good picture when I ordered my drink. I told him that I did and why I was taking them. He then recognized me from the picture in the New York Post and bought me my drink. Well, a perverse sense of honor force me to buy one myself and then someone else bought me one and then the bartender bought another round. Oof. Not going to be hitting a lot of bars after that.

Kevin, The Friendly And Generous Bartender

This is a fairly small place with brick walls on two sides and little windows in front. The wall opposite the bar has dark wood paneling going up about a third of the way and with a ledge on it for drinks. There is a pool table in the back that has uses other than simply playing a game of pool and a competition dart board. The bar itself is pretty standard with a black linoleum footrest. The wooden bar chairs have black cloth seats. The backbar is an old looking set of wooden shelves in front of mirrors and wooden cabinets. Lots of liquor and stacked martini glasses. Half a dozen televisions and a chalkboard announcing “Free Pool on Sundays” are also behind the bar. Lots of beer and tequila pennants hang about the place and mirrors advertising beer hang on the wall opposite the bar. Amber and yellow stained glass lights hang over the bar and a small rhinoceros head with a green shot glass on his horn hangs on the wall next to the bar.

A squalling child was having his diaper changed on the pool table at one point during my stay, giving this a somewhat homey feeling. Not sure if I would want to just stretch out for a long shot on the table right away though. I do believe it was the bartender’s wife and son so it wasn’t like just strangers come in off the street and do this. At least I hope not.

As you can probably guess from my first paragraph, the bartender was most friendly and we spent a fair amount of time chatting about all sorts of things. He introduced me to some of the other patrons and before I wobbled out it felt like I was a regular. He was obviously very proud of his bar, explaining that it has been around in its current form since 1941, the work that was done on it, the size of his refrigeration units in the basement, and other stuff that I am afraid I have forgotten. We also talked about bars in general and he gave me suggestions for other bars in the neighborhood that I should stop in. I had a genuinely good time and was reluctant to leave. This is certainly a place that I would revisit when time permits.

I had, er, more than one Tanqueray and tonic.

671) Mad River Bar and Grille

Well, Bar Man was not totally side-tracked by Brady’s because I could still see this place looming up on my way to the subway. It wasn’t actually on the way to the subway, but I could see it as I was walking there and it wasn’t that far out of the way. It is on 3rd Avenue between 81st and 82nd Street. I actually had to look into the depths of my soul, or at least glance quickly at the surface, before deciding that I could go in for just one. It was a good decision. The bar has a copper top with a wood foot rest. There is an assortment of bar chairs with torn maroon vinyl seats. A couple of brass beer stations sit on the bar but the selection of beers is a bit mundane. The backbar has some interesting pyramid shaped shelves, mirrors, and standard tiered shelves in front of mirrors holding the liquor. Looking somewhat out of place were small candles amongst the liquor bottles. There is another smaller bar in the back too.

Lot’s of pictures of fish on the walls and a pair of skis on the wall opposite the bar. Mostly brick walls with some wood and green painted plaster in the back. The wood ceiling up front is interesting and there is a pressed tin ceiling in the back. There are tables in the back with an old light fixture hanging overhead that has eight upturned parchment shaded lights. Similar lights were mounted behind the bar. There is a little fireplace in the back that looks like it probably works. I managed to talk the guy next to me, John, into writing a bit about the bar and he agreed to do so if I posted his picture and telephone number so women could call him. I will post his picture but you will have to email me for his telephone number.

John, Looking For Love In All The Write Places

He said he prefers Chinese women (his buddy was Chinese). I mentioned the Mysterious Chinese Woman and his interest level in my mission increased dramatically. Here is what he wrote"

"The bartender John is the best bartender in the city. Also the best wings in the city. For a bar, besides the wings, they have very good bar food. They take grat pains to have excellent food. Great atmosphere. In the end it is just a great bar to spend an afternoon, see a ballgame and have a burger, and realize that life is great."

I didn't try the food, but he got the rest of it down pretty well.

The bartender, whose name is also John, wanted his picture posted too but didn’t say anything about wanting women to call him.

John: "The Best Bartender In The City"

Again, another very friendly bar, both the bartender and the clientele. My resolve to have just one faded and I ended up having two. It is hard to break away when you are having a good time and this place was another one where it was easy to have one. I shall return.

I had a couple of Tanqueray and tonics.

Well, not a bad day. Three bars making 671 for the year and leaving 329 for the year. By the way, Mad River and Still are co-hosting a Booze Cruise tomorrow night. You can find details on Murph's Guide to New York Bars (just use my link). If you check my previous write-up on Still you will see that I really liked that place as well. I would bet this would be one fun boat ride. I would love to go myself but have a prior commitment.


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