Tomorrow Gene and Smoopy, two thirds of the BBC (Baltimore Bar Crawlers) are crawling back to town. Last time Gene was here (with the somewhat elusive BBCer, Terry) they went to Walter’s Bar on 8th Street only to discover it was closed. They heard conflicting reports that it was closed for good but they also heard that it was just closed for the ever-popular, “renovations,” and that it would re-open in October. I thought I’d do a little advance work for the BBC and check it out tonight and see if they've pulled a Subway Inn and have reopened in all their glory. I hope so, it's one of the few decent bars in the neighborhood where I work.
Goddamn, it turned cold outside and it's spitting rain, luckily it's only a couple blocks away.
Oh no! This doesn't look good at all. The gates are down and even their sign is gone.
This is all that's left. A sad turn of events for tonight. Do you remember Walter's?
When something dies you head towards the light. And when you get to the light...
You find Billymark's West. Let's go in and have a drink and get in a better mood.
There's a big crowd in here and people are dancing to the jukebox, which is one of the best in town. (See the essay about it below written by co-owner, Billy.)
I manage to wiggle in to the bar and I see a familiar face behind it at the end of the bar...
It's one half of the ownership of the bar, Billy with a bottle of Bud! Great to see him again and one of these days I hope to meet his brother, Mark.
I love all the Beatles photos and memorabilia behind the bar, cool stuff.
A ceiling fan buzzes overhead.
There's darts up front...
And a pool table in the back.
On the way out the door I ran into Sally, who was there with a group of students from the School of Visual Arts and they were having a party in the bar. She loved the Gumby bag and was more than happy to pose with him. I'll continue to check on Walter's Bar and see if it turns into a 7-11 anytime soon. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.
Billy has a short essay on their website about the outstanding jukebox at Billymark’s. Check it out, below.
“Bartending for the last seven years, one thing Mark and I hear over and over again from our patrons is that we have the greatest jukebox. I can't take credit for this—I have to pass this one to my brother, The Wiz! After all no one knows music like he does; just try to stump him. Impossible!
Second of all, Mark refuses to get one of those computerized jukeboxes. Why, you ask? Because with those, people don't play the box, they play the album cover. And there is nothing worse then seeing your favorite album and finding out that someone didn’t think your favorite song was worth including. If classic Motown, Punk and Rock and Roll albums aren’t enough, we also make our own cuts— just look for the Peace Love & BillyMarks mixes. We got everything from Costello to The Jam; James Brown to Weezer; Mary J. Blige to the English invasion; even George Jones. It's damn good.You must check it out.”—Billy
332 Ninth Ave. (@ 29th St.)
Further reading: 365 Bars, New York Magazine and Shecky’s.