I decided to hike to The Manhattans, and it is a pretty fair hike. I left my place at about 3:00 P.M. and at about 3:25 P.M. had a blister starting up on my heel because I had foolishly decided to wear a new pair of Minnetonka Moose Hide Moccasins. I have five pairs of these and I love them. They are the only thing I wear except for my hiking boots when I go to the gym or for long strolls over rough terrain. Maybe I should have worn them today, or at least worn one of my older pairs of moccasins. I stopped to buy some bandaids and then stopped into a bar to put one on and take a bit of a rest.
Plan B is on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn in a neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying, but still has plenty of the old run-down ambiance about. Given the falling real estate prices and the potential for a turn-around, if I was going to buy a place this would be where I would be looking.
You can tell the place is going upscale because a Brooklyn Lager and a shot of Jim Beam set me back $14 in this not too upscale looking place. Six bucks for a beer was bad enough, but charging $8 for a shot of Jim Beam was, in my opinion, a bit much. I will have to say that the bartender, waitress, and someone who I took to be one of the owners were all very friendly. And the place was pretty packed.
At about 4:30 P.M. I ambled over to The Manhattans, which was supposed to be open at 4:00 P.M. I don't know why I should have been surprised, knowing Tracy's reputation for punctuality, but it wasn't. The guy sitting on the stool next to it said he didn't know if was ever open.
The Manhattans Is Closed
Luckily, I passed a place on the way that was open, Washington Commons, so I decided to sit there for awhile.
It Just Beckoned Me In
It was kind of a neat place, certainly not fancy. They had an outside "garden" area that was, shall we say, a bit on the bleak side. But then it was kind of a bleak day. Maybe it is cheerier when it is sunny.
Kind Of Like A Prison Exercise Yard
The bartender, Ben, was a friendly fellow. He has just been bartending for a few weeks and seemed eager to learn. He heard me talking about The Manhattans and the Manhattan cocktail and wanted to know how to make one.
An Eager Student
I saw that they had Kwak on draft so had to have one of those. The last time I had one I didn't realize that the little stand was actually kind of a mug. You don't have to take the glass out of the stand to drink out of it. The guy next to me pointed this out because, apparently, he had taken the glass out and then made the mistake of just setting, or trying to set, it on the beer. Didn't work out to well.
The Round Bottomed Glass
As I said, nothing too fancy about this place. I think this was once an older, divier bar, and not a whole lot of remodeling took place. In fact, I think this is true of a lot of the "newer" bars in the neighborhood.
Simple, But Functional
I had kind of given up on going to The Manhattans. One of the guys in the bar said he didn't think it opened up until about 7:00 P.M. Then I got into a conversation with some people next to me who came from Minnesota and had just moved into the neighborhood. Then I saw that they had Speckled Hen on draft, one of my favorites and, well, one thing led to another so I had a Speckled Hen and a double Maker's Mark.
Bar Man's Resolve Was Fading
I had to walk by The Manhattans to catch the subway home and, to my surprise, it was in fact open. Not that you would necessarily know that, unless you knew it was supposed to look like this. No wonder the guy thought it was still being remodeled. Leave it to Tracy, he must Tivo Martha Stewart and study her for the decorating tips.
No Expense Was Spared
At least the outside wasn't misleading. The decorating theme was carried forward into the bar itself. Craftsmen were flown in from Europe to get the stools upholstered that way.
Highly Trained Craftsmen Were Required
It Looks Random, But Was Carefully Thought Out
The Stairway To The Roof Garden
On the other hand, the bartender, and I think his name is Dustin, and I asked him about half a dozen times, was very friendly. He was a bartender at Siberia so he knew the ropes and, obviously, is a friend of Tracy. He said Tracy usually didn't come in until later, no surprise. Sadly, I wasn't going to last until later.
Dustin, I Think
The Pabst Blue Ribbon keg has just been tapped and was still too foamy to pour so I had another Brooklyn Lager and a shot of something, I forgot what though. In fact, I don't remember how many I had. I was the only one in there when I got there, but about half-a-dozen people had gathered by the time I left. Dustin said the place filled up later at night but that it would take awhile for it to catch on. No kidding, if the guy sitting next to it didn't know it was open I suspect a lot of people in the neighborhood don't. Knowing Tracy, that will change.
Another Beer And A Shot
I was in no shape to walk to the subway so I ended up taking a cab home. Going out and hitting a few bars, even semi-dive bars or, in the case of The Manhattans, a real dive bar, isn't cheap anymore. And, after my month of no drinking, what I had hit me pretty hard.
Recovering This Morning
The Mysterious Chinese Woman just sighed and said drinking beer and having coffee in the morning was pretty sad. Luckily, I have Rhapsody so was able to play Coffee Stains and Beer, Coffee, Beer, and Borrowed Time, Beer and Whiskey, Coffee and Cigarettes, Coffee, Beer and Cigarettes, and two versions of Beer for Breakfast.
Enthralled By My Selections
I should have picked up a pack of cigarettes when I got my beer, but I don't smoke, cigarettes.
Luckily I recover quickly so we will be heading out to Zum Schneider in about an hour to celebrate Spring and the beginning of Maibock beer season at a party complete with pig roasted on a spit, oompah bands, and imported Maibock beer from Germany.