Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The End Of Spring

Well, maybe not the end of the bars on Spring Street, but I did walk to the end of Spring Street where it hits the Bowery. The Bowery is booming. I remember the good old days with the derelicts and missions. Now there is nothing but construction equipment as condominiums, co-ops, and apartment buildings are being constructed. Many of them on top of existing structures that primarily house restaurant equipment supply houses.

814) Lombardi’s Pizzeria

A bustling pizza place on the corner of Mott and Spring that has a good sized wooden bar that wasn’t seeing any action. In fact, the waitress seemed to be a bit surprised to see me sitting at the end when she came back to pour a pitcher of beer for one of her tables. The tables along one side of the bar are uncomfortably close to it so although this is a large bar I suspect it isn’t primarily a drinking crowd that hangs out in here. The bar stools are wrought iron with oxblood padded seats. A beer station on the bar has four spigots. The back bar is plain dark wood with just a small area for liquor. Most of the space is taken up by a large espresso machine. There is a decent sized wine rack on the right side of the bar. Coolers, some with glass doors, sit down below. There are windows on two sides. A large rack of glasses hangs over the bar and a small colorful cartoon-like statue of Al Capone sits at one end.

One small section of a wall is brick while the other one is dark plum. Most of the wall space on two sides are windows though. Pictures of celebrities and family members are on the walls and the narrow partitions between the windows on one side. The two largest pictures are of a pizzas, one with what I presume to be a couple of the owners standing behind it. A large mirror on the back wall has “Welcome to America’s First Pizzeria – Enjoy our slice of history” written in large red script upon it, Pretty much just a bunch of tables with red and white checked tablecloths. A couple of small benches by the windows on one side provide a place to sit while waiting for a table. Overhead fans and small metal shaded lights hang from the ceiling and the floor is orange tiles. The thin crust pizzas looked and smelled great. From the size of the crowd and the happy looks on the their faces my guess is that the pizzas taste good as well.

I had a bottle of Peroni

815) Room 18

Just down a bit to 18 Spring Street is this nice little bar with no discernable sign outside. It is a cozy place that looks like a drawing room or parlor. The bar is curved with kind of a light wood top and it has a narrow foot rest. The wooden bar chairs have pale gray seats. Just a small back bar with tiered shelves of liquor above a black Beverage-Air cooler system. A large mirror with an ornate gilded frame hangs on the pea-soup green wall and it is flanked by two old style lamps mounted on the wall. A vase on one end of the bar holds a dried floral arrangement that seems to be mostly sticks. Two benches by the windows up front have a table and hassocks in front of them. The wall opposite the bar is brick and immediately opposite the bar are several round tables with square hassocks. Nice candle holders are mounted on the wall and I would imagine that at night, when they are lit, this is a very romantic place. There were also a number of unlit candles piled up at one end of the bar.

The back area has tables with comfortable looking padded chairs. Against one wall is a padded bench with a narrow mirror immediately above it and light draped with crystals. On the opposite wall, that is brick, are cute little lights with small parchment-like shades and teardrop crystals. A fancy mirror hangs on the back wall.

I had a bottle of Hoegaarden White.

816) Barmarche

On the corner at 14 Spring Street is this interesting restaurant and bar that looks a bit like a place to pop into for a pot of tea and some finger sandwiches. Bar Man has no shame. It is a full liquor bar though with a nice selection of single malt Scotches and an impressive selection of ports. The adequately sized bar has a bit of a soda fountain look to it with a very light marble top and a cream colored front with carved “columns” and patterned pieces fastened to it. No place to put your feet though except on the rungs of the wooden bar stools. The cream colored shelves behind the bar look like something you might find in the pantry of an English manor house, except they have mirrored backs. Over the bar hang two old looking chandeliers with lights that look like candles. It looks like it did hold candles at one time. They are probably pretty old a valuable because they are protected by cube shaped Plexiglas enclosures. An elaborate floral arrangement sits at one end of the bar. The beauty of the floral arrangement was overshadowed only by the good looks of Alysia, the bartender (shameless flattery in the hopes of getting a free drink the next time I stop in, but she was prettier).

Alysia The Friendly And Pretty Bartender
(compare her to the floral arrangement)

A Better Look

The walls are pale green with darker green curtains in the windows. A large photo of the head of a woman wearing a 1940’s style hat dominates the back wall. The ceiling looks to be patterned tin painted to match the walls. The floor is dark wood planking. Lots of little tables with chairs with green seats line the walls that are decorated with mirrors, small photos of women, and assorted light fixtures.

After writing this I chatted with the owner a bit and found out that he and his partner did come over from England and opened this place. I guess my observations about the nature of the décor were well-founded.

I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.

As I got off Spring Street and headed towards my next stop I passed this place. I was hoping there would be a bar behind that door but, alas, if there was one it was closed.

What Is Behind The Door

817) Loreley

At 7 Rivington Street, between Bowery and Chrystie is this German beer hall type of place with a good-sized outdoor area that had heavy benches where you can sit and pound down beers. Overall the place is pretty Spartan designed for just drinking beer. The bar up front is a no frills with a flat light-wood top with a darker front and a wooden foot rest. The wooden encased beer station has a dozen German beers and, except for the Guinness, they are all German. If you are a Bud guy this is not your place. But then you could always order a Jever, Germany’s answer to Budweiser and, predictably as the menu states, “One of our most popular beers.” The German bartender said “Americans like it.”

Gunter, The Bartender From Germany

There are dark wooden shelves behind the bar with lots of bottles of wine, a large selection of beer glasses and mugs, and a fairly small selection of liquor. More Beverage Air coolers down below. I don’t know why that name caught my eye today. I will not mention them again.

The walls that aren’t brick are a deep rose or vanilla with wood paneling on the lower half. Three lights with rippled glass shades hang above the bar. The front is solid windows. A cityscape of Köln hands on the wall opposite the bar and a map of Germany hangs on the wall to the left. There is also a large downstairs area with a good-sized television that opens up at night and when they have televised soccer games. They get GermanTV here. There are a lot of sofas and chairs down there and another smaller bar so it looks like a good place to take in a game. Just don’t root against Germany.

They are having a combination two-year anniversary and Oktoberfest party this weekend and I would guess that it would be a lot of fun. If I wasn’t going to be heading off to Spain I would probably stop in.

I had a draft Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss that supposedly comes from the world’s oldest brewery. It was very good but the next time I stop in I am having a bottle of Aventinus Weizen Eisbock, the strongest beer in the house and what the menu says is a very potent wheat beer.

A fun day with four bars hit making 817 for the year and 183 left to go. My pace might slow down a bit on Friday because I am supposed to meet someone who has been traveling around the world doing a documentary on bars. He is going to be focusing on bars on Third Avenue here in Manhattan and wants to interview me. I guess the focus on Third Avenue might stem from the prominent role it played in the movie Lost Weekend. I will keep you posted on how it goes.


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