Thursday, April 07, 2005

Another Village Stroll

Another nice day so the wife and I decided to take another stroll in Greenwich Village.

368) La Palapa Rockola

A nice little place on 359 6th Avenue. Behind the bar are four large red-tinted panels that make up a large picture of a young Rosa Carmina and her rumba dancers. Rosa was born in Cuba and starred in many Mexican films. The picture is signed by Carmina.

The bar itself is a nice cherry-wood (or at least it looks like it) and the bar-stools are metal with seats that match the bar. There are step shelves behind the bar that hold the liquor (a large selection of tequila) and glasses. There are four large lights hanging over the bar that have large glass shades of varying pastel colors.

There is a classic Rockola jukebox (free) that has been converted to play CDs (mostly Mexican music). The extra space inside (CDs take up less space then records, I guess, has been outfitted with little flowers and skeletons, some of them in mariachi bands. I have a friend, the one that visited me in Mexico, that collects them so he would like this place.

I hear that this place used to be a speakeasy and it has nice brick walls on the side with the bar and a brick archway that leads to a back dining area. The brick wall in that area has hundreds of colorful votive candles. The rear wall has a giant photo of the horseman Pedro Armendariz (one of the original “Three Godfathers”). The other walls are pale yellow, planking in the front and plaster in the back. One wall, known as the Wall of Lovers, has a number of striking black and white portraits such as the one of actress Maria Felix, a well-known Mexican. Several silver framed mirrors are on the wall behind the bar-stools. There is also a nice little outside eating area on the street. All and all a nice little place and we will be coming back for dinner later.

I ordered a margarita and when I complemented the bartender (and one of the owners) Margariite (what a name for a bartender that makes margaritas, she gave my wife and I samples of two of her other specialties, a frozen hibiscus margarita and a ginger and blood-orange margaritta. A great way to start off a day of bar hopping. The margarita was rimed with chili salt, a great touch and one that I will incorporate into the margaritas that I make from now on.

I had a margarita.

369) The Four Faced Liar

Not too far away on West 4th between 6th and 7th was this neat little place. It has a decent sized old dark-wood bar and matching shelving behind it. A five tiered shelf behind the bar holds glasses on the lower tiers and liquor on the top three tiers. A few wine bottles and condiments are on part of the second tier and bills of various currencies are stuck to the back of the remainder. A living-room type of lamp sits on a shelf on one end of the bar. There is a large mirror above the shelves adorned with a couple of the bars tee shirts that are for sale. The wall behind the bar is brick and the other walls are royal-blue with mustard-yellow trim on the lower half and mustard-yellow on top. There is also royal-blue trim on top. It has a nice tin ceiling and wooden plank floors.

A large white dog was on patrol when I entered but he left, I guess he found everything to his liking. Royal blue settees that match the walls line two sides of the place. Wooden tables sit in front of them and wooden chairs and stools sit on the other side of the tables. Fairly large windows are above the settees on the street side.

Interesting trivia in the bathroom. Did you know that the tongue of the blue whale weighs more than most elephants? Neither did I.

I had a Magic Hat #9.

370) Caffe Vivaldi

A little place on Jones between Bleeker and West 4th. It has a small half-circle bar big enough for six wooden bar-chairs with brocade (with kind of a Mexican design) seats. Behind the bar are wine racks are high up on the wall above mirrors that are above a shelf holding wine and liquor bottles, a cash register, an espresso machine, and a coffee grinder. There is also a rack for glasses hanging just behind the bar. Above the bar at either end are suspended small lamps with green glass shades. Above the middle of the bar hangs fixture with two what look like gas lights that have been converted to electricity. A small buddha sits on the bar.

Pictures of dead composers hang on one wall and prints of fish done in an Asian style and some ink-blot looking art hang on another wall. A baby grand piano is tucked into one corner. There are windows along the wall on the street side. It is a narrow street so you never get much sunlight. There is also a picture of dancing gypsies.

I had a glass of Shiraz

371) Caliente Cab

A large Mexican restaurant on the corner of 7th and Bleeker. It is kind of a touristy place but the smaller bar area is quite nice. I am watching the bartender juice limes so I know the margarita will be good. The back end of a yellow Studebaker sticks out of the wall by the entrance. Lots of televisions hung on the wall, some smaller screens arranged almost like pictures. There is a big open bar with a huge ice-chest filled with ice and beer in the center. Above the chest is a tiered shelf holding an impressive liquor selection and an array of shot-glasses. There is also a metal rack over the bar that holds glasses.

The walls are tourquise, mauve, orange, and beige. The floor is beige with a few tiles that have red and yellow designs. The same type of tiles decorate the front of the bar. Wrap-around windows look out on the street and there is an outdoor seating area right above a subway trac and you can hear and feel the subway rumble underneath when it passes by.

I had a margarita.

372) Fish

Just next door on Bleeker and Jones is Fish. It has a nice dark-wood bar with a bar rail. Sitting on one end is a container of oysters on ice covered in seaweed. This place is a narrow, deep, shotgun-shack configuration that is common to a lot of older bars. Behind the bar at the end with the oysters are white deli-style tiles with a bit of black trim. There is also an aluminum shelf, a sink, and an antique scale. Behind the rest of the bar it is brick with a large mirror and shelves for glasses and liquor. Lights over the bar and hanging from the ceiling in the rest of the place have gun-metal gray inverted cone shades. The ceiling is dark tin and there are also overhead fans. On the back wall are some dark-wood fish and hanging on the wall behind the bar-stools are pictures related to fishing and oystering.

I had a Blue Point Oatmeal Stout (only $1.50 for happy hour).

373) Karavas

Well, I was now half in the bag and heading back to La Palapa Rockola and passed by this place (the bar area was closed earlier) and had to stop in. This is an old Village bar with a nice dark-wood bar and a cement ledge for your foot. The bartender conned me into putting two dollars into the juke box and then I found out you couldn't change the page of selections. Luckily there were two Rolling Stones album on the stuck page. Lot's of lights and arches behind the bar. The top of the arches look like teeth. There are mirrors underneath the arches and shelves with liquor. The back wall is festooned with Christmas lights.

There are dark-wood booths and overhead fans. Nice stone-like floors You need to get buzzed into the bathroom, for some reason. Entering the bathrooms feel like entering an Egyptian crypt.

I had a Widner Wheat beer and headed back to La Palapa Rockola for dinner (and another Margarita, of course).

A decent day, 6 bars and even more drinks (free samples did me in). That makes 373 for the year and 627 left to go. Got to get 126 more in before I hit 500 on May 14th. Run, Forest, Run.