Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Wasteland And Otto's Shrunken Head

A lot of the Hispanic and dive bars, and Hispanic dive bars, that used to be clustered around Peter Luger's now seem to be gone.  The Hasidic community has been expanding and, despite that Rock the Casbah video by The Clash, they are not known for heavy drinking.  Really, when is the last time you have walked into a Hasidic bar?

No Bars

Luckily we didn't have to wander to far before we found our first bar.  Or, at least, a restaurant with a bar.

Miss Favella

And The Name, Again

This was a nice enough place that seemed to combine a bar with a luncheon counter and restaurant.

Two Eggs Over Easy And A Beer

Well, Just The Beer

And that is what I had, just the beer.

Goin' Down Easy

Oh yes, and let us not forget my traveling companions.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman, Of Course

And Jim

But then, after saying goodbye to Miss Favella, we entered the dead zone.

Life Without People

Oh, there were signs that people once lived here, strange paintings that we could not decipher.  Probably warnings to stay away.

Mysterious Markings

Here's Looking At You

We finally made it down to the waterfront area where there used to be bars.  In fact I think Duff's, my bar number 750 when I was doing my trek used to be around here.

What Happened?

It is a sad commentary indeed when bars are replaced by parks.


And that ice-cream truck in the background didn't help matters much.  It just served as a cruel reminder that the neighborhood was, indeed, a-changin'.

Eventually, after who knows, or remembers, how far we walked, we did finally stumble upon, gasp, a real bar named after a real drink.

The Gibson

Believe me, this was indeed a welcome oasis.  I even found someone who loaned my his hat so I wouldn't look unfashionable sitting next to Jim.

Two Cool Dudes

And then, not too far away, further signs of civilization.

Mugs Ale House

Mugs Ale House is a grand old neighborhood bar with a large selection of beers, both draft and in bottles.  It has been around for a long time and, thank goodness, hasn't really changed all that much.  So we popped in for a quick one.  Or maybe two.  By this time I really don't remember.

I could easily have ended my day at Mugs, but Jim, and why I ever listen to him I don't know, thought it would be a grand idea to take the subway back to Manhattan and have a nightcap at Otto's Shrunken Head.  And, as you can see, by the time we got here it was, indeed, night.

Otto's Shrunken Head

Now not only is Otto's Shrunken Head probably the coolest name for a bar that I know, it combines all of my favorites into one and, really, what more could you ask for than a dive tiki bar.

With A Pinball Machine

Of course I had to have a zombie.

Two Zombies

Jim was still looking natty.

I Think It Is The Hat

Of course, I don't remember the bartender's name.

I Was Lucky To Remember My Own Name

It was quite a day, but eventually it ended like so many others whenever I wander out of my own neighborhood, with a subway ride home.

And So It Ends

Now, speaking of my own neighborhood (notice the carefully crafted seque) this Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the Cask Ale Festival at The Brazen Head, right on Atlantic Avenue and, before the construction of the Brooklyn Law School dormitory, viewable from my window.  You can be sure that I will be there.

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