Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Subway Stop Too Far

I took the East Side subway up to 103rd just to see what I could see. Then I walked over to 2nd Avenue, thinking I would find a few bars over there. Well, there weren’t any, or at least none that I could see. I had to walk down to 95th before I got my first respite.

897) Merrion Square

After a dry patch I came across this cheerful little place on the corner of 95th and 2nd Avenue. It is an Irish bar, at least going by the brogue of the bartender, and was festooned with cobwebs and spiders for Halloween. It looked like it was fairly new with a lot of blond wood. Maybe it was just newly refurbished because the bar and bar back looked a bit older but recently refinished. It was a good sized wooden bar with a foot rest. The bar chairs were darker wood with red seats. There are two beer stations on the bar with eight spigots each and they had a decent selection of beers. Orange shaded lights hung over the bar.

The bar back has three recessed arched mirrors with tiered shelves in front holding the liquor. The arches at each end are ringed with small white lights and the one in the center has a plasma television in front of the mirror above the liquor. There are wooden shelves holding glasses and cabinets down below with a refrigeration unit with glass doors in the center. The bottled beer was stored there along with way too much Smirnoff Ice. A cute little twinkly witch sat on top.

The walls are brick and banquettes with pink cushions line the wall opposite the bar. A partition separates that area from the bar and there are small tables and chairs along each side. There is a pool table in the back covered with black felt.

Some guy was trying to learn the rudiments of blackjack at the end of the bar and really didn’t seem to be getting it, at all. He said he was trying to learn before going to Atlantic City this week-end. I opined that perhaps he should stay away from the tables until he had a better grasp on the game. Well, this apparently made me his buddy because he then decided engage me in a very prolonged conversation touching on a wide, very wide, range of topics. It turns out he was a cabbie and I can just imagine what his customers go through. The hi-lite of our conversation was when we got on the subject of basketball he wondered how anyone could name their son Magic. He couldn’t quite grasp the thought that Magic was just a nickname and his parents actually named him Earvin, after his father. I am glad we didn’t get to a discussion about how Kobe got his name.

I had a Magic Hat #9.

898) Hooligans

An aptly named bar, if ever there was one just down the street a bit. This was kind of a classic dive bar with a bit of an Irish tinge to it. The bartender was friendly enough and everyone else was engrossed with racing on the television. The bar had a green linoleum top with a wood front and a black linoleum foot rest. Black metal bar chairs. The bar back was painted green with mirrors and with glass shelves in front and tiered shelves below holding the liquor. There is a shelf at the very top filled with sports trophies of various kinds, mostly softball or base ball and football. Nice rippled glass shaded lights hung above the bar. Little Jack-O-Lantern candle holders sat on the bar.

There is a pool table in the back but it is pushed into a corner so there is no way you could actually use it. In the front is a bowling machine, and you don’t see too many of those anymore. They take up too much space I guess. Cobwebs decorated the ceiling and there was a twinkly Jack-O-Lantern behind the bar.

Two guys at the bar had little walkie-talkie devices that they sat on the bar. When the went out to have a cigarette they both started chattering away and it was like sitting next to a couple of demented Furbies.

I had a bottle of Budweiser that cost me half-a-buck more than the Magic Hat #9 at Merrion Squres. Go figure.

899) Blondies

Heading downtown just another block at 1770 Second Avenue, at 92nd is this bar that has a lot of televisions, at least twenty that I counted ringing the entire place, plus a larger rear-projection screen in the back. .There is a good sized wooden bar, a bit beat up, with a brass rail. Black metal bar stools with black seats. The bar back is old wood too, with tiered shelves backed by mirrors. Large chests of ice sat underneath but I didn’t see anything in them but ice.

The walls opposite the bar a re brick and there is a wide ledge against the end near the door that had bar stools in front. More tables in the back for dining. The food, or at least the chili, must be pretty good. The guy sitting next to me raved about it and said he comes in every Thursday for a bowl. In the back was one of those arcade type basketball shooting things, looked a bit out of place.

I get the feeling that someone in the neighborhood who was a heroin addict had recently committed suicide by hanging himself. They were talking about heroin in Hooligans but I didn’t really hear that much of what they were talking about and certainly wasn’t about to interject myself into the conversation. Two fairly intoxicated guys in here were having a similar discussion and this time I got more of a gist of what it was about.

I had a Bass Ale and headed on home.

Another decent day with three bars hit. This makes 899 for the year and down to 101 to go. I will hit number 900 tomorrow and then the countdown of the final 100 begins. This is not quite as happy an occasion as I had hoped because it appears that Mr. Beckett Thomas, the individual that extended me the invitation to visit his bar, the Vanilla Room, in Sydney, Australia and had been assuring me, up until August, that everything was a go, has reneged on the offer, without even really notifying me. He seems to have just chosen to simply no longer respond to any of my emails asking for additional information. I will be posting more on this in a couple of days.


Rochester Bar Man said...

Sorry the Australia thing fell through. I'll await your further details, but in the meantime I'm wondering if the invitation was extended to you under the influence. I've learned never to put too much stock in promises made at bars.
Anyway - we need to do something about the dearth of bars north of 95th St. I think this could be fodder for the mayoral race.

1000 Bars said...

Well, the guy that made the offer is a part owner of the Vanilla Room and he sent me seveal emails on the subject before the total silence after August 11th.

Peter Fleming said...

Demented furbies.

Good one Dan.

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