Monday, August 15, 2005

Cooler In The Kitchen

I headed back to Hell’s Kitchen and it was a lot cooler than the last time, thank goodness for that. Only downside was a wee bit of drizzle the merely served as an excuse to stop in one additional place on the way home.

741) McQuaid’s Pub

Located on the corner of 44th Street and 11th Avenue is this surprisingly pleasant place despite, the suspect looking exterior and, shall we say, interesting location. The bar has a nice inlaid wood top and a paneled front with a silver foot rail. The top is definitely new but the lower part looks old. The black metal chairs with green vinyl seats and backs also look like they have seen better days. The upper shelves and cabinets behind the bar look new as well, as does most everything in here. There are four cabinets with glass paned doors with orange diamonds of stained glass. One door of one cabinet was plastered with union patches. The shelves below as well as the cabinets themselves hold liquor and there is one of those little islands for dispensing shots of booze. Two small flat-screen televisions sit on two shelves above the bottles. The setup below, metal coolers and a couple of wooden cabinets with stained glass doors looks much older and is probably what is left of the original furnishings.

The overhang above the bar has recessed spot lights and a brass rack from which glasses hung. The walls have new looking paneling about a third of the way up and the walls are deep rose above that. Stained glass shaded lamps hang from the patterned, tarnished silver colored ceilings. Little lamps with fringed shades hang on the walls over the tables against the wall opposite the bar. There is a partition with a brass rail on top that separates the dining area from the bar and there are tables along the far side of that as well.

The front wall and the wall opposite the bar have windows with small wood panes. There are pictures and photos of landscapes on the walls and two framed Irish emblems, one was a gold harp, on green backgrounds. The back wall also has a larger television and on the other side of the entryway to the kitchen and the restroom were two clocks, one shaped like s ship’s wheel. There are enough Irish themed knick knacks in the cabinets behind the bar to give you a feel for what this place might have been like before the renovations.

I had a bottle of Budweiser.

742) Landmark Tavern

At 626 11th Avenue, at the corner of 46th Street is this old, really old, tavern. I was told that it is the fourth oldest drinking establishment, about 130 years old, in New York and has been in continual operation since it first opened, at least up until just recently when it was closed prior to being purchased by the owner of Druids. It is one of the classic old bars in New York where some care has obviously been given to maintaining its appearance. The top of the bar has been refurnished many times but it is certainly old with an ornately carved front and a brass rail. The bar chairs do look new, however; wood with soft black leather-like vinyl seats. A silver T shaped beer station sits on top of the bar and it has eight spigots.

Irene, Manning The Spigots

The bar back is a combination of ornately carved wood and large glass mirrors. Small globe lights are mounted on the narrow columns separating the mirrors. Tiered shelves hold the liquor and glasses sit or are stacked on white linen. A cabinet with sliding cut glass doors sits below along with coolers and cabinets with wood doors and brass hinges and handles.

There are windows on two sides so not a lot of room for much of anything on the walls except a couple of narrow mirrors and a few more small globe lights. A low partition immediately opposite the bar separates it from two rows of tables for dining. There is also a larger dining area in the back. Immediately behind the bar chairs is a row of rippled glass shaded lights hanging from the brown patterned tin ceiling.

The restrooms, that were most likely added later in the game (did they even have indoor plumbing 130 years ago?), are built into what kind of looks like a cobbled together room with stained glass on the top and, for some reason, a marble column with a gold top in the men’s room. I am not sure what was in the woman’s room.

I had a draft Blue Moon, a Belgian style wheat beer.

743) The Bull McCabe

This is not the same as Bull McCabe’s which is located on 8th Street, no relationship at all except, perhaps, in the courts where there was some attempt by The Bull McCabe to prevent the other place from naming itself Bull McCabe’s. Got that straight? Then don’t go down to the bathroom in The Bull McCabe because on the way down the steps you will see a mirror with Bull McCabe’s on it (the beer distributor probably delivered it to the wrong place).

It is located at 714 11th Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets. An old wood topped bar with a brick front and a brass rail. Plain wooden chairs. The wall behind the bar is kind of a pale yellow distressed brick. There are two small wooden cabinets with small drawers below them behind the bar. Tiered shelves hold the liquor and below those are wooden cabinets and a black metal ice chest. The place has kind of a rustic early Americana look to it that I found a bit peculiar. Only peculiar because “The Bull” McCabe was a character in a play by John B. Keane, ‘The Field,’ that was based upon a true story about a conflict over land which occurred in Kerry, Ireland. The play was made into a movie that was released in 1991 and Richard Harris played “The Bull” McCabe. But I digress.

A large mural on part of the wall opposite the bar depicts a scene of what I took to be pioneers and Native Americans against a backdrop of mountains and a small town. Now I will probably find out that this is a scene from either the play or the movie, but it looked like a Western frontier town to me. Sitting at the bar and looking into the small back room dining area made me kind of think I was in a saloon. The back room’s walls are orange above wood-backed benches with tables and chairs in front of them. Paned mirror give you the impression there is a window in the back. Small lamps are mounted on the walls. It kind of made me think I could get a bath, a shave, and a woman for two bucks. I have obviously been watching too much ‘Deadwood.’

It had started to drizzle and, believe it or not, once I got damp I got a bit chilly so I had a well constructed Makers Mark Manhattan.

744) Costa del Sol

At 369 West 40th Street on the corner of 9th Avenue is this Spanish Tapas bar. It was a long walk to the Subway from The Bull McCabe (believe me, 11th Avenue is a long walk from just about anywhere) and I was still a wee bit damp and Bar Man had to take a whiz. Plus I thought having a glass of wine here would be good conditioning for my trip to Spain that is coming up in October. There is a red-topped bar over a light wood paneled front with a foot rest with a black and white chip design. There are somewhat ornate black metal bar chairs with brown vinyl seats.

The bar back is light wood with five arches over mirrors. Small shelves in front of three of them hold liquor including a bottle of the elusive Johnny Walker Blue Label. They also had a bottle of the even more difficult to find (but not as expensive) Green Label. The other two mirrors had tiered shelves holding a good selection of liquor and even more is stored underneath, and they have some very interesting stuff. There is more to this place than initially meets the eye. There is an upright piano at one end of the bar and a pair of blue boxing gloves, along with crockery, hanging above the bar.

Nobody could explain the significance of the boxing gloves. Most of the staff were enjoying their afternoon meal and watching a cooking show on the television.

I had a glass of Pinot Grigio and headed on home.

A good day with four bars hit making 744 for the year and leaving 256 to go. Only five more before the big 750 on Saturday at Duff's. I am going to spend some time double checking my numbers. I would hate to think I made a mistake and am one off.


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