Monday, November 21, 2005

It Was Fair, But I Got Pucked

One of the readers of my blog, Mark from Saratoga, came to town and had sent me an email suggesting we get together for a drink or two. He had a couple of places in mind and they were pretty good picks.

954) Puck Fair

This Puck Fair is a bar located at 298 Lafayette. Its name comes from the Puck Fair that is held every year in Killorglin, Ireland, and is Ireland’s oldest fair. Now, boys and girls, here is the educational part of my posting. Each year in Killorglin, Co. Kerry (in the month of Lunasa) August 10th, a Puck Fair is held. The Puck, a wild mountain goat, with decorated horns, is paraded through the streets with rapturous applause and cheering. On arrival at the town square he is crowned and then ceremoniously raised on a scaffold platform some twenty five feet high. The Puck resides here for the next three days and nights looking down on his subjects. The well-known song An Poc ar buile, 'The Mad Puck Goat', is associated with the festival which dates from the seventeenth century.

At that time, a herd of goats was grazing on a high peak, when the noisy throng of Cromwell’s army shattered their peace. Alarmed and frightened, the goats scattered and ran into the hills - all of them that is except for one brave, or confused, male who ran down the mountain and into Killorglin. The local people on seeing the goat sensed something was wrong and took cover. The people of Killorglin survived and have commemorated the event by holding the fair ever since.

Mark And Barman Enjoying Our Drinks

Okay, back to the basics. Puck Fair is owned by the same people that own Swifts and Ulysses. In fact they run a free shuttle bus between the three bars. Swift and Puck Fair are actually within walking distance of each other but Ulysses is down in the Wall Street area. Coincidently, Puck Fair is located across the street from the Puck building. It is a large place, has wooden partitions against the brick wall opposite the bar help break up the space and make somewhat cozy. The bar long wooden bar has a black painted top chipped in enough places to almost make it look intentional because the chipped places reveal the wood below. There is a foot rest and plain wood bar stools. The beer spigots, about twenty of them are curved silver pipe-like affairs, kind of interesting. I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many of these in a row before. There were little candles on the bar giving it an intimate look.

The Pleasant And Pretty Bartender Ann

The wall behind the bar features a large mural that appears to be a collage of scenes from Ireland, perhaps scenes of the Puck Fair. Hanging over the bar are small clear bulbs with the filaments glowing orange hanging from the beamed ceiling. In the middle of the ceiling is a somewhat grim coated skylight. There are black cabinets with glass doors behind the bar with glasses sitting on top and tiered shelves above them holding the liquor bottles. Towards the back are larger wooden cabinets. The windows in the front have small wooden panes. There is a large basement area usually reserved for parties and a mezzanine in the back with more seating. There is also another bar in the back which seem like a good idea because when the place gets packed the one in the front would be hard pressed to serve the crowd. I always like an Irish bar that features a drink called the Car Bomb. There are numerous recipes for this drink but the one I like is just drop a shot glass full of Irish whiskey into a pint of Guinness and chug it. Chipped teeth may result.

I had a Guinness, minus the shot.

955) Temple Bar

Just up Lafayette a bit is this bar that has no sign out front and might be easy to pass by because the front is quite dark and no light emits from the windows. Two white stylized lizards distinguish this from just another building. Do not, however, pass it by. Walking into the bar is like going inside a milk chocolate candy (that description is courtesy of the Mysterious Chinese Woman). Dim lights emit a soft glow on the rich mahogany walls and large wooden pillar. In the midst of all that brown are colorful bar stools stretched like a row of round red, blue, and cream colored candy drops (that was also courtesy of the Mysterious Chinese Woman who, I suspect, was getting hungry). The stools are the type popular in roadside diners, the seats sit on top of four chrome legs.

The room itself is furnished in an elegant 1920s art deco style. The bar is made of highly glossed wood with green marble inserts. It is very long and L shaped, starting from the front entrance and wrapping around the room twards the doorway to the side dining area. Mirrors and glass shelves of liquor line the wooden wall behind the bar. The bottles are lit from behind giving them an colorfully artistic look. Above the far end of the bar are two rows of round lights. The high ceiling is painted black and the grey tile floor is covered with red oriental rug runners.

Because it was such a fancy place I had a Lemon Drop (Vodka, Limoncella, lemon juice in a martini glass rimmed in sugar and garnished with a lemon twist). Mark had a Side Car, also served in a sugar rimmed martini glass. The Mysterious Chinese Woman sipped a glass of champagne, and I did take the poor hungry thing to dinner at Armando’s in Brooklyn.

Bar Man And Mark Enjoying Our Fancy Drinks.

It was a very pleasant evening. I hit two new bars with a new friend and then took him to a nearby bar that I had visited before but kind of liked, Milanos. The same old guy that I mentioned in my write-up of Milanos was still sitting in the same place, but he wasn't talking to himself tonight. Maybe he is a not so silent partner and was just metally calculating his cut the last time. Well I have now hit 955 bars for the year and have only 45 more to go. I will probably be taking some time off towards the end of the week. Thanksgiving and a late Jets game on Sunday will probably take their toll. I still hope to hit another ten before the end of the month though.


josh williams said...

Whats a good bar blog with out a good happy go lucky bar song.

The Piano Has Been Drinking:
Tom Waits

The piano has been drinking
my necktie is asleep
and the combo went back to New York
the jukebox has to take a leak
and the carpet needs a haircut
and the spotlight looks like a prison break
cause the telephone's out of cigarettes
and the balcony's on the make
and the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking...

and the menus are all freezing
and the lightman's blind in one eye
and he can't see out of the other
and the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid
and he showed up with his mother
and the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking

cause the bouncer is a Sumo wrestler
cream puff casper milk toast
and the owner is a mental midget
with the I.Q. of a fencepost
cause the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking...

and you can't find your waitress
with a Geiger counter
And she hates you and your friends
and you just can't get served
without her
and the box-office is drooling
and the bar stools are on fire
and the newspapers were fooling
and the ash-trays have retired
the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking
The piano has been drinking
not me, not me, not me, not me, not me

paula said...

Oh brother, what tune are these lyrics to?

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