Saturday, June 04, 2005

Not A Yacht Today

Ooh, what a bad pun. I only went to one bar that counted today so it really was not a lot but it was a yacht, or at least a Yacht Club.

540) Gowanas Yacht Club





This is a one of a kind place in Brooklyn, at least as far as I know. It is located at 323 Smith Street, on the corner of President Street, in Brooklyn. It is closer to the subway station than the Gowanas Canal, and the Gowanas Canal isn’t exactly yacht club material anyway. Still, it is only a few blocks away.

This is pretty much just a bunch of picnic tables under a few umbrellas on a cement slab, with a small, very small, bar tucked in the corner.



There are a few beers on tap served in plastic cups or pitchers and a reasonable selection in bottles pulled from a large cooler with glass doors. Their specialty is $1 Pabst Blue Ribbons served in individual frosty cans. A small grill tucked away even more in the corner than the bar serves up hotdogs, hamburgers, and brats on buns. Blackboards announce what is available and the extremely reasonable prices.



When the weather is nice (it is only open in the summer) nothing beats it in terms of a funky, fun place to hang out with a few friends. And it sure is convenient to public transportation.



Here is a picture of the Gowanus Canal from which the venerable Yacht Club takes its name.



It might look good in the picture, but read what was said about it in a recent news article.

“Nasreen, a scuba diver, is interested in the tiny microbes - bacteria and single-cell life - found in underwater sediment. She said scientists estimate they have identified less than 10% of the microbes on the planet. She didn't dive in the Gowanus herself because the water is so contaminated that divers have to wear a dry suit, which she had not yet qualified to wear while diving.”

It is also known as the lavendar canel because of the color it takes in the summer when it really gets ripe. You can actually smell the canal from the Gowanas Yacht Club when the wind blows that way.

Well, I only went to one bar today that counted so I thought I would include a lot of pictures.

I had a Gaffel Kolsch, pulled directly into a, can't say frosty, plastic cup. On a hot day like today though it really hit the spot.

Just one for the day bringing the yearly total to a robust 540 and leaving me with a mere 460 to go.

Repeaters

I have decided to add a new category to my posts, but one that will not be abused. Sometimes there are bars that are so good that you feel the need to return even though they cannot count towards my goal of hitting a thousand in a year (it has to be a thousand different bars). Angry Wades is one of these. It is in my neighborhood so that makes it kind of a logical choice, but there are a hundred bars in my neighborhood and only a few, some of which you will see in the near future, make the cut.

Angry Wades



This place has great bartenders, a great owner, reasonable prices, and everyone always seems to have a good time. if you are ever in the neighborhood be sure to stop in. It is on the popular Smith Street (222 Smith Street at Butler Street) in Brooklyn. When I first started doing this blog I didn't write much about each of the places I visited so let me make some amends simply by saying this place has an elaborate bar and an even more elaborate set of, well there are columns and carvings and, you just have to see it, behind the bar. Great stained glass lights over the bar and in back. Big fireplace and tables across from the bar. A pool table and dartboards. Free popcorn too. Well worth the visit. This slightly out of focus (I was probably slightly out of focus myself) shot of a bit of the bar and Allysha, the bartender, gives you an idea of the fun you are likely to have here.



And check out their cool tee-shirts. The slogan on the front says it all.





Please let me know if you think including, but not counting, follow-up information on some of my favorite places that I perhaps did not cover adequately the first time around is in keeping with the spirit of this blog.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Blaggard, Blaggard, and Barry

No, not a law firm that I retained to represent me in a drunk and disorderly case, but it sounds like it could be. These are actually the three bars that I hit today. As promised I followed up and visited the other two Blaggard’s and then popped in for a final one across the street from the third Blaggard.

537) Blaggard’s



This is an older, more authentic looking Irish pub than the fancier one I went to yesterday. It is located not too far away at 210 West 35th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. A good place to hang out after an event at Madison Square Garden. Very nice, and comfortable. More of a place I would feel comfortable hanging out in. The other one would be more of a date place. I was surprised the Mysterious Chinese Woman didn’t show. But back to this Blaggard’s (it is all so confusing). There is an old wood bar with a foot rest and dark wood bar chairs with green and rose patterned cloth seats. Domed glass light fixtures hang over the bar. There is old, but not overly fancy, cabinetry behind the bar with four gold framed mirrors. Plenty of wooden shelves hold the liquor and glasses. Cabinets and coolers with wooden doors are down under. There are three white hard-hats hanging above the shelves between the mirrors. They are covered by signatures, but I do not know whose. I would guess they are those of workers at the World Trade Center site. The floor is a black and white hexagon pattern.

There is dark wood paneling with narrow ledges lining one wall and above the paneling it is painted a lemony yellow. Mirrors and pictures of old Ireland provide most of the decoration. Up front there is a large dark painting featuring a bar scene with the name Blaggard’s prominently displayed. There is another bar scene painting with two carousers toward the back that reminded me of a few nights I have had with a buddy of mine. Actually, many nights with different buddies. There is also a pleasant looking dining area in the back. Lights with small stained glass shades hang from the ceiling and smaller stained glass shaded lamps are mounted on the walls. Not too crowded but the few people who were there must be regulars. When the bartenders starts making your drink before you order, or even sit down, you are a regular.

I had a fresh (first one from the keg) Guinness.

538) Blaggard’s



I took a hike to the Blaggard’s at 45 West 39th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue. See, this is how you keep the weight off. This Blaggard’s is another old style Irish pub and I believe it was the first one. Until they open another this is the last one to visit. This place has a younger and more boisterous crowd. Maybe it is because this one has a cute blond female bartender wearing a snug pink top with a deep scoop front. Not that Bar Man notices such things. No, Bar Man focused on the luscious, smooth, creamy looking...head on his Guinness. Yeah, that’s it, the head on his Guinness.

Green glass shaded lights hang over the old, somewhat scuffed up wooden bar. Plain wooden bar chairs, old wooden floors, and a low green ceiling. There was the same general d├ęcor as the last place and similar style paintings were on the walls. One of the paintings is of an Irish policeman. A blackboard announces that there is a pool table upstairs but I never made it up there. There is a similar looking setup behind the bar but this one is festooned with little white Christmas lights.

I noticed that all three Blaggard’s served whatever you ordered in Killian’s Red glasses and this place was also festooned with Killian’s Red paraphernalia proclaiming that they are the official beer of St. Patrick’s Day. Excuse me; a Coors product has become the official St. Patrick’s day beer? I don’t think so. And Guinness should probably lodge a complaint about their beer being served in Killian's glasses.

Hard to believe, but my Guinness here was even fresher. They had to tap a new keg just for me.

539) John Barry’s



Just across the street at 38 West 39th Street is this restaurant and bar. It is narrow and deep enough to be a classic Irish pub but has been fancied up a bit. I suspect that in it’s earlier incarnation it was a more traditional pub because the bar looked to be older than anything else in the place. There is a solid panel of mirrors behind the bar above what looks to be the bottom of whatever cabinetry was there from an older place. Recessed red and white lights illuminate the area behind the bar and the little sitting area up front. The sitting area up front has a couch, a settee, and a patterned rug on the floor. It is probably for people who are waiting for a table at the back but don’t want to sit or stand at the bar. I can’t imagine such a thing myself.

Cone shaped parchment shaded lights hang directly over the bar. The ceiling is kind of an arched, gold-shaded, patterned tile that somehow reminded me of being in a European subway. The walls on the bar side of the room are kind of a pea soup green and the walls on the opposite side are a deep rose. Little round tables with chairs line the wall behind the bar chairs. Small lamps with tan shades are mounted on the walls above them. There is a dining area in the back that is separated from the front by drawn curtains. All kinds of interesting art and artsy photographs adorn the wall.

I had a Pete’s Wicked Rally Cap Ale just because I liked the name. It was quite good. I like most Pete’s Wicked products

I was going to eliminate this line but got requests, well one request, to leave it in so here goes. Three beers for the day making 539 for the year and leaving 461 to go. Okay Kim, that was for you and all of your friends in Dallas.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Mosey In Midtown

A photographer for something akin to Associated Press, but concentrating more in international publications (European Pressphoto Agency) wanted to meet me today to snap some pictures. I agreed to meet him at Blaggard’s but I arrived a bit before the appointed hour and headed across the street to:

534) Havana NY



A bit of Cuba at 27 West 38th Street, should not be missed if you are in the mood for a fairly authentic, I imagine, Cuban experience. It has a small wooden bar up front with a brass rail and wood bar chairs with dark green seats. Cuban music cheerfully playing in the background. There are mirror backed shelves behind the bar above coolers with wooden doors that had polished stainless steels handles and hinges. Following the lead of Dave Barry, may I say that Handles and Hinges would make a great name for a country western group. But I digress. There is a plastic guitar, not a real one, hanging above the shelving. Little lights with orange glass shades hang over the bar.



There are pale yellow walls with a band of rose just below the ceiling. Lot’s of pictures of Havana streets featuring the old American cars that seem to be so prevalent there. There is also a poster advertising the allure of Cuban beaches, or at least what you may find on a Cuban beach, if you were lucky. The floors are tan marble-like tile. A row of small tables with chairs line the wall behind the bar chairs. The bar and most of the restaurant is a few steps below street level and just before you hit the stairs there is a small dining enclave with three tables right by the street level window. There is a small dining room in the back with brightly decorative Cuban style paintings on the wall. Although it wasn’t quite noon the place was packed and everyone really seemed to be enjoying their food. The place smelled great as well so I will probably come back again one day for lunch.

I had a Mojito, well made, relatively inexpensive for Manhattan ($7.00) and most refreshing.

535) Blaggard’s



To be redundant, this place is right across the street from Havana NY at 8 West 38th Street. They also have two other nearby locations that I will be scouting out, maybe tomorrow, so don’t get upset if you see multiple entries for what looks to be the same place. There is a long, dark wood bar with the requisite brass rail and plain brown bar chairs. This, again, is one of the elegant Irish pubs. Lots of brick and dark red walls. Very nice cabinetry behind the bar that holds liquor and all sorts of other knick knacks. The ceiling is nice brown painted patterned tin or a very good reproduction. The floor was a combination of polished wood and green and white tile. There are very nice old-fashioned looking lights that were an ornate combination of marbled glass and brass that hang from the ceiling by chains. There is really neat looking artwork hanging on the walls including at least one tasteful nude. My favorite was of a Frankenstein’s monster looking guy wearing headphones.

The bartender was very accommodating but a bit miffed because this was one of the places that MSNBC had planned on filming in yesterday and they called him to make appropriate arrangements. When they decided to film in O’Reilly’s instead they didn’t notify him so he was a bit put out, and understandably so. Once I convinced him that I wasn’t the one who called and then didn’t call back he became quite pleasant and insisted on buying my beers.

One thing that I have noticed is that whenever I show up and there is a reporter, film crew, or photographer there is always somebody who wants to get in the shot. I would like to think they just want to talk to me, but somehow I know that isn’t the case. But then again, who wouldn’t want to be in a story about the Bar Man; other than the Mysterious Chinese Woman, that is. And even she succumbs to the allure of short-lived fame on occasion.

This place also had Grolsch on draft so I had one and then another when the bartender set it down in front of me. It would have been most impolite to turn it down.

536) Mulligan’s



Heading back towards Penn Station to catch a subway home I passed this more typical Irish pub at 207 Madison Avenue, between 39th and 40th Streets. It is a bit dark, narrow, and fairly deep. There is a long dark wood bar with a foot ledge. Dark brown bar chairs with dark brown vinyl seats. Kind of a generic linoleum-like tiled floor with some dark brown and well worn carpet pads up front. The overhang above the bar sports recessed dim lights covered with dimpled yellow plastic rectangles. The front of the overhang has old sports pictures and newspaper pages such as the one proclaiming 1985-1986 Celtics championship.

There are glass shelves in front of mirrors that run the length of the bar. These hold glasses and paraphernalia such as mugs, shot glasses, and whatever. Tiered shelves below hold the liquor. A narrow ledge above the mirrors hold even more knick knacks. An ornery looking ceramic pig sits behind the bar and squints out at the customers. The walls are kind of pink and there were a number of televisions, most showing some woman’s softball game. There was a merry crowd of older gentlemen sitting at one end of the bar singing ditties. Kind of my kind of place. I must memorize some ditties.

I had a Guinness and headed on home.

Moving along with three for the day and 536 for the year leaving 464 left to go. I think I am going to eliminate this line in future posts because it is kind of just restating the obvious. I don’t know why I started including it in the first place.

CNoNo

Well, don't get up early to look for me on CNN tomorrow. It appears as though they are being forced to take a live event following the EU's "no vote" for tomorrow morning instead. Gawd, where are their priorites. They said they may try to reschedule in the near future, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Anyway, as far as I know I will still be on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight. Probably just as well about CNN anyway, Bar Man doesn't really relish the thought of getting up at four in the morning. I can't imagine how much makeup it would take to make me look like I was actually awake.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Another Interesting Day

A most interesting day today. A crew from MSNBC followed me around to shoot a segment for Countdown with Keith Olbermann. I believe that it is scheduled to show tomorrow evening. I will certainly be looking forward to it. I picked the bars in advance so the ones we frequented were all counters. Needless to say we were warmly received everywhere we go. A camera crew and the chance for publicity has that affect. Nonetheless, the people were all genuinely nice and I found three places I may very well return to one day when time permits.

Because I was a bit busy with the film crew (walking into and out of bars, setting up shots, and being interviewed) I didn’t have much time to take notes. Luckily the Mysterious Chinese Woman showed up and helped me out. If you check out Olbermann’s show you might catch her on camera.

531) Brendan’s Bar And Grill



On 42 West 35th Street is this handsome , classy bar and grill built in what was the lobby of the former Hotel Gregorian. Opera music was playing as I entered. Cool, set the stage for the play that was to begin. The bar itself is very long and made of dark wood with a black marble top and the good old brass rail. Two tall roman columns soar up to the high ornate ceiling. The walls of the restaurant are decorated with pictures of the various rooms of the old hotel. Large bowl like hanging lights provided the soft lighting. There is a huge marble fireplace in the dining area and tall, stained glass windows. Large bouquets of flowers decorated the window sills. An ornate wrought-iron staircase leads up to the second floor dining area. The staff was most gracious and the aromas from the kitchen were most inviting. This will be a good place to return to for a meal one day.

I had a draft Boddington’s Ale, well poured and most satisfying.

532) Playwright Downs



There may be a bit of confusion over the name of this place. It says Playwright Downs on their card but it is more generally known as The Playwright Tavern and Restaurant. Also, there are three of these places so this one is also known as Playwright Act III. It is located across the street from Brendan’s at 27 West 35th Street. This is a fairly posh place and bills itself as “New York’s newest off-track betting restaurant. Instead of hanging out at your tacky, and sticky, OTB you can place your bets here while dining in comparative splendor. There are 36 flat-screen televisions that keep you abreast of how your horses are doing and also show a wide variety of other sports related programs. There are also, of course, several OTB betting machines.

The restaurant itself is privately owned by the betting is run by New York OTB and I presume the rent the space for their operations. I am always somehow amazed by the fact that the local bookie in the corner barbershop can make a handsome living but OTB seems to lose money every year. One of those mysteries of life.

The restaurant manager was especially accommodating to the film crew and agreed to change the channel the televisions in the area where filming was taking place so it wasn’t showing a competing network.

The bar is wooden and has the requisite brass rail. There are fancy wooden cabinets behind the bar with a row of beer bottles sitting on top displaying the selection available. Large round lights are suspended from the ornate ceiling. As befits the nature of the place, the dining area has pictures of both playwrights and horses. Grey marbles stairs lead to the upstairs dining area which is decorated with more pictures of horses and horse-racing. There is also a glass case that holds the uniform of the unknown, at least to me, jockey.

I had a draft Brooklyn lager.

533) O’Reilly’s



Just two doors down from Playwright Downs a big neon sign announces O’Reilly’s. There is a picture of happy diners on one side of the entryway. This is a comfy Irish bar well suited for hanging out. The floor is faded wood. There is a long oak bar with a fake green marble top and a brass rail. A large fish tank behind the bar contains numerous colorful fish darting about. The restaurant special for the day is handwritten on a bulletin board nailed to the wall above the fish tank. The ceiling is painted an orangey maroon color. The wall is painted to look like white tile. Pictures of Ireland decorate the wall. There is also a glass case with Irish currency of various denominations on display. Blue pendant lights hang down over the dinning tables. One of the lights is blown out, as in completely missing. There is a staircase leading to the second floor, but it was temporarily closed off. The bars staff was very friendly, and most accommodating but one, at least, was a bit camera shy.

We ran into a couple that were visiting from England and another fellow who had been drinking at Brendan’s. There was also another pleasant fellow from out on Long Island. We ended up buying drinks for each other long after the filming stopped so I had a few more than my usual one drink. The one that counts though is the Guinness that I had when I first arrived.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pictures Are Back

As you can see, the pictures are now back. After all of my huffing and puffing I capitulated and upgraded my service. I took the day off today after the long Memorial Day Weekend so I thought I would post a couple of old pictures from when I was in Mexico with friends and, wouldn't you know, the Mysterious Chinese Woman. After making so much noise about my pictures not showing up I figured I should at least post a couple.

My friend "Bob" and his wife Sandy from Minneapolis.



My friend Gary from Long Beach, Long Island.



Mysterious Chinese Woman and friend from who knows where.



By the way, you might want to keep an eye out for MSNBC'S Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Thursday night and CNN Daybreak on Friday morning. There are rumors that there will be a possible Bar Man sighting.

No more slacking off, tomorrow it is back to work again.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Photobucket

I am sorry that you have not been able to see my pictures. I did not know that Photobucket had a restriction on how many photos they would host. I am going to switch to a new host or upgrade within a day or two. I had over twenty thousand hits today and the biggest thing people will remember is that Photobucket didn't display the pictures. I probably was a bit too harsh in my original assessment of their service though because the number of hits so far exceeded what I usually get that even if I was aware of the limitations I probably would never have thought I would exceed it.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bar Man's Day Off

I thought I would post a picture so you could see what I do on the days that I don't visit a bar. As you can see, even a day off doesn't mean rest. One has to stay in shape. I was going to post a picture of all my relatives who were at the cook-out, but everytime I brought out a camera they all ran away in terror. Not everyone wants to be associated with the Bar Man.