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November 11, 2011

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.

The Jukebox
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

BillyMark's West
332 Ninth Ave. (@ 29th St.)

Further reading: 365 Bars, New York Magazine and Shecky’s.

Time Is Tight.

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)

References (5)

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Reader Comments (21)

Who needs a Ferrari, who needs a cute puppy! Marty, you have that Gumby bag, what a chick magnet!

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDuncester

@Dunce: Now, like Gidget and Boris, you too can have a secret weapon.

I have a thought or two on Jukeboxes, but I'm out of quarters at the moment.

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercsp

CSP comes up with the craziest but the most genius things here. Too bad about Walters, on to Billy Mark's which is a great dive, and not to be confused with the old Billy Munk bar on E 45 st, a real dark bar from the old days that went to the dive graveyard,,,,still holding out hope for Walters.

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Sucks about Walters ... hope they are still opening someday. We were told October. Oh well ! ... I like BillyMarks better - and will be there in about 45 minutes ! Thanks Marty for making my pub crawl a little easier today ! Sip Ahoy !!!

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Duncester: Women do love the Gumby bag!

@csp: Ha ha ha! The prefect accessory for the Gumby bag! Good one!

@Al: I agree about csp, it's going to be tough for him to top that one though! Never heard of the Billy Munk, have to Google it and see if there's anything online about it. I'll keep checking on Walter's, but since the sign's down, it doesn't look good.

@GENE: Have fun today and I look forward to seeing you and Smoopy tomorrow on Cheeseburger Saturday Night!

November 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Please take me to that jukebox.

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

I gotta get me a gumby bag.....My Michael J Fox briefcase ain't doing shit for me! Good Bar-Good times! Cheers Motherfucker!

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProfessor Dungpie.

@Biff: It'll be my pleasure!

@Professor Dungpie: Yeah, those Michael J. Fox briefcases are a little shaky! Cheers right back atcha, Motherfucker, have a great weekend and drink about 12,987 beers!

November 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Nice..great jukebox--hi Gumby!!

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

@Melanie: Gumby says hi right back to you!

November 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

WOW...BillyMark's West sorta gets hammered in the links comments...365 and MAD seemed to have a different experience...Walter's certainly looked like a great place thru 365's eyes (Bar 222) Do you remember Walter's? link is the same as the one at the end of the 365 post...damn hope it will be back...

Ninety-nine percent of the world's lovers are not with their first choice. That's what makes the jukebox play.
~ Willie Nelson


November 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

A bar with Beatles paraphernalia has my vote! Also - I love that they open at 8am and will give you $4 shots. Awesome.

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBritta

almost forgot to raise at least one to the men women boys girls and those that have gone down in uniform on this day supposedly dedicated to them...if you're gonna be one be a big red 1...


November 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@rr: I don't take those readers comments in the reviews too seriously, kind of like the people on Yelp that think they're actual reviewers. And yes, Happy Veterans Day to all who have served and are serving and to those that have served me a beer as well! Perfect Willie quote!

@Britta: Sometime I'll have to do a tour of early morning bars. I used to go to them when I worked third shift in Peoria. One of them was appropriately titled, "The Basket Case!" Ha ha ha! Pretty fitting for that joint!

November 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Hi Marty,
don't really have much to say at the moment. My beautiful room-mate brought home two bottles of Chianti or something similar. So now I have a place to put my flowers. Had to empty it first, of course. Sip Ahoy!

November 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

@Uncle Waltie: Sounds like the ultimate breakfast challenge! Sip Ahoy, my friend!

November 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

So they finally opened a bar in my name and decided to put it in midtown?

November 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

@Uncle Waltie: The sad news is that it's closed! Maybe they'll open a new branch in the EV! Sip Ahoy!

November 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Every time a bar closes I shed a tear. Wish I could have been more supportive. Some of the most magnificent people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting I've met in a liquid library.

November 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

I'm a big fan of Billymark's West. Real bar run by real people. And it's available for parties!

November 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFat Al

@Uncle Waltie: I'm hoping that maybe they'll return, but it doesn't look good. I love the name "liquid library" for a bar by the way! Good one!

@Fat Al: Agreed!

November 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

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