Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Winding Down In Bay Ridge

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Killer Kwanza, or simply sacrificed a goat or something. I had a great time at my sister-in-law’s house where we had a family gathering that lasted almost four days and involved much more than a goat being sacrificed for our eating pleasure. Of course we didn’t do the actual sacrificing, we left that to highly paid professionals. Actually, I felt I was being sacrificed by having to sit through King Kong, the most over-hyped movie I have ever sat through.

But enough chit chat, it was time to get back to business, I do still have a few more bars to go so I can’t just sit on my stools, I have to sit on bar stools.

997) Kelly’s Tavern

Between 92nd and 93rd and between 4th and 5th Avenues is this classic neighborhood Irish, well, I guess, tavern, with a classic Irish neighborhood crowd. When I walked in there was a loud discussion going on about, of all things, caviar. It started out on the loud side, somewhat opinionated, but focusing on the taste and quality of various types of caviar and who liked and didn’t like caviar. Of course it quickly disintegrated into a comparison of caviar to other things that might smell and taste the same and, well you can just imagine where this conversation ended up.

There was a nice long old wooden bar that pretty much ran the width of this place that has entrances on both 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue. Of course the entrance on 5th Avenue looks more like an exit, but probably provides a place where you can kind of sneak into the place somewhat unobserved.

Only five beer spigots set a bit below bar level with just the handles peaking out. Pretty standard domestic brews but, of course, they did have Guinness. There is a traditional brass rail and captain's chairs, the kind with armrests. Above the bar are fancy old fashioned white frosted inverted bowl shaped light fixtures with delicate etched patterns.

Behind the bar is a collection of old cabinets with wooden doors and drawers and a bright red chest full of ice and beer. On top are glasses below slightly raised tiered shelves of liquor sitting in front of two large mirrors. Above and in front of each mirror are another couple of old light fixtures with more of an inverted tulip shape. The mirrors were framed with white twigs entwined with white lights and decorated with red bows and boughs of holly. Between the mirrors was a sculpture of iron workers taking their lunch break while sitting on an iron beam. Sitting next to each mirror are nice old high wooden cabinets with wood framed glass doors that contained memorabilia of unknown origin along with a few, for display only, bottles of fancy liquor.

There is a dartboard up front next to a montage of photos of regulars and a fairly significant display of trophies won by the bar’s team. A Christmas tree sat opposite the bar and a large wreath was mounted on the wall that was kind of a tan swirled plaster above wood paneling with a ledge between them. There were several televisions in here including two nice plasma televisions behind the bar. Emeril was on one and OTB was on the other. The one showing OTB seemed to be getting most of the attention but the bar did seem to be divided into two camps, one at each end of the bar, that seemed to enjoy hurling insults at each other. As I was leaving I notice that Emeril was giving a recap of his show that must have dealt with vodka and caviar so I presume that was what sparked the conversation I walked into as I arrived.

I had a Guinness and it was well poured.

Well, just one for the day making 997 for the year and leaving only, gasp, three more to go. I am just sneaking up on number 1000 though, kind of stretching out the an-ti-ci-pa-tion.


Peter Fleming said...

Congrats to you Dan!

This was a fun trip you took us on, and I'm happy to have been able to meet you and keep you company for a (very) little while on your quest. Too bad we weren't able to make the Queens Blvd. run work, but who knows what you have in store for us next year!?!

Unfortunately, while it looks like I won't be able to make bar 1,000, I will toast you from Peter Luger's. Brooklyn, of course.

I look forward to seeing the book version of this trek over the next year or so. I want one autographed!

C'mon, don't tell me you haven't had any inquiries . . .

1000 Bars said...

Interestingly enough, I will be having lunch at Peter Luger's prior to my hitting Pioneer for number 1000. Perhaps our visits will overlap.

Peter Fleming said...


I'll be there at 4:45. Hopefully I can buy you a drink.

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