Today was a quicker day than I had planned. I was going to head to a few bars on the East side but the subway was being held in the station due to a sick passenger in the train ahead of us at the next station. At least that was what was announced. After sitting in the train for about 10 minutes I heard the west side train pulling into the station so I bolted for that one and took it up to Madison Square Garden and hit a couple of bars right outside.
Tupelo is right across the street from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. It has a dark green marble-topped bar with a light and dark wood paneled front and a grey slate footrest. A silver T shaped beer station with 6 spigots sits on top. There is a large colorful picture of Earnest Hemmingway’s head on the wall behind the bar (the picture is on the wall, it isn’t a picture of his head on the wall). On the wall to the right of the bar is a slightly smaller picture of Babe Ruth done in the same style and at an angle to that is a larger picture of Bobby Jones with the caption “How To Break 90).
The bar back has three combination wooden shelves and wine racks separated by glass shelving holding the liquor. Below the bottom glass shelves are tiered shelves holding more bottles. Below are metal coolers with glasses sitting on top of them. On a shelf above each of the three wine racks are iron framed glass candle holders each flanked by a couple bottles of wine. There is a framed poster advertising Strega (one of Bar Man’s favorite after dinner drinks) and one for Bull-Dog Cigars that are, apparently, “Hard To Beat” on the wall between the candle holders. On another wall is a large portrait of John Wayne from the movie “The Searchers.” A television is mounted high in the corner to the right of the bar with the U.S. Open showing.
More wine bottles along with what I hope are plastic ferns and vines are on ledges mounted high on the walls. The rest of the fairly large space is broken into dining areas and looks to be quite fancy. The bar was all set up with white linen napkins, China, and silver when I walked in but most of it got pushed to the side when the drinking crowd showed up.
I had a draft Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
767) Nick Stef’s
Right across the street from Tupelo and in the same building as Penn Station is this elegant, modernistic steakhouse. The green awning to the far right is an entrance to Madison Square Garden.
The dining area is well separated from the bar. You can just glimpse some of the diners and hear them, but it is a kind of a cheerful background babble, soothing rather than intrusive. The bar is a large, very irregularly shaped affair with a gray and white mottled marble top, a dark wood front, and a gray footrest. Rectangular tannish orange glass shaded lights hang over the bar. There were three televisions that I could see from my vantage point and all were tuned to CNN’s coverage of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. There have been reports of a three foot shark swimming in the streets of New Orleans which makes me wonder what happened to the aquarium. I don’t recall hearing anything about it. The had to shoot an escaped sea lion from another park in different town though.
There isn’t anything too fancy behind the bar here, glass shelves for liquor and two beer stations with three spigots each. Metal coolers and shelves below that and under the sides of the bar. Functional, but not too pleasing to the eye. The ceilings are very interesting though, angled light wood. The walls are pale yellow with a fairly eclectic assortment of framed black and white photos mounted here and there. This used to be a Charlie O’s but Nick is making much better use of the space.
I had a Tanqueray and tonic.
Like I said, just a quick trip and a couple of bars making 767 for the year and leaving 233 to go.