Well, I am back in New York and ready to resume my journey. Had a lovely anniversary yesterday. Went to see Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, then popped into Brazen Head for a beer before going to Jolie, a nice French restaurant in our neighborhood. I have been there before so this time I could have my pre-dinner martini at the table. Very nice restaurant and their pirxe-fix dinner was reasonably priced at $25 with paired wine with each of the three courses for only $12 more.
But that was so yesterday. Today I decided to head to Hell’s Kitchen, kind of the sink or swim approach to getting back on track.
879) Twins Public House
A colorful place, at least on the outside, located at 421 Ninth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets. I first heard about this bar from a bartender, Billy, at Bellvue. He also works here and his business card lists both bars. I thought the two bars were related but, other than the fact that Billy works at both of them, they are not. I found this out from Mr. Pat Lunney Jr., a part owner. In fact, the bar was named Twins by his father because Pat has a twin brother. This is, perhaps, one of the biggest cop bars in New York, at least according to the bartender, not Billy, who was working there. Given that it was just a bit after noon when I got there the place wasn’t packed, but it was doing a brisk business.
There is a long wooden bar with a short section by the front French doors that had room for another two chairs. The bar chairs are wooden with black seats. It is a beautiful fall day and the doors are all open. Quite pleasant despite a bit of street noise. The bar is broken up into three sections by partitions with little windows in them. All the wood in here matches the bar which has a reddish hue to it. Quite nice. The wall behind the bar is all wood with a few mirrors and three nice flat-screen televisions. Tiered shelves atop wooden cabinets hold the liquor. The cabinets have doors and drawers and match the bar and the wall.
There are Halloween decorations, black and orange balloons, cobwebs, a skeleton or two, and a couple of small coffins. Very festive. The wall opposite the bar has wood paneling foing up about three feet and the wall above that is pale green. Sports pictures hang on the wall and there is an interesting wooden relief of the Rangers, one of whom is holding up the Stanley Cup.
There is a small dining area in the back. All in all it was a good place to pop into for my first “new” New York bar since returning from Spain. I had a Bass Ale.
880) Blarney Stone
This is one of the old Blarney Stone’s that has not undergone a transformation into a fancier place. It is what it always was, a semi-dive bar. It is right across the street form the Post Office so it had a lot of postal workers having a libation, or two, or three, or more. A major discussion was taking place about whether the front door should be left open. Apparently there was some concern that a postal supervisor would pass by and spot them. I guess this means that at least some of them were on-the-clock and at least one, the one most concerned about the open door, certainly was in no condition to return to work.
There were five televisions and another major discussion involved how many, if any, would be tuned to Star Trek. Actually, this was a pretty loud and argumentative, in a friendly way, crowd. Another major discussion involved just where the boundary between Brooklyn and Queens was. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who knows this for sure.
There is a beat-up wooden bar with plain barstools. Typical behind the bar setup with tiered shelves of liquor above metal coolers. They keep the frosted mugs in the back room though. There were autographed pictures of sports figures above the bar and a few, cheap plastic, Halloween decorations.
I went next door to write-up my notes. I thought they might suspect I was an undercover postal inspector if I starting writing anything down while I was in there.
I had a bottle of Budweiser, in a frosted mug.
881) Billymark’s West
This is another semi-dive bar just a few doors down from Blarney Stone at the corner of 9th and 32nd. It is a much larger place that has a bar with a black top and front. Kind of a green marble foot rest. Metal bar stools with black, round, swiveling seats. The wall behind the bar is paneled with mirrors and there are a couple of framed gold records by people that I have never heard of. A skeleton wearing beads sat a black shelf behind the bar. It looked like it was a permanent fixture and not brought out just for Halloween. Just the standard set of tiered shelves with liquor behind the bar.
More postal workers in here and they are hollering too. Well, to be fair, the guy doing the hollering isn’t a postal worker because he said he had to go to leave and go to work. He was just loaded and talking loudly. He, apparently, works for the railroad. At least he isn’t a pilot or something. One of the people was a retired postal worker and I think her friend invited her to stop in for a drink.
The walls are covered with pictures and movie posters. It is kind of bright and cheery in here, particularly up front by the windows with the bright fall sun streaming in. Somehow it seems like it should be darker. In the back is a pool table with blue felt and up front is a dart board.
I had a Budweiser, straight from the bottle, like a man, or at least like a Bar Man.
Well, three bars on my first day back, about the number I plan on doing each day from here on out. This was a nice little stretch in Hell’s Kitchen so, if you are in the neighborhood and want to hit a few bars, I can recommend them. They are just a short walk west from Penn Station.