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May 11, 2011

The other day I was perusing blogs and was looking at pictures over at the fine photo blog, Musings by Melanie. One of her posts was titled, “Joe’s Bar in the EV.” In this day and age of wacky-ass theme bars, it’s nice to see a bar simply named, Joe’s Bar. According to New York magazine they’ve got a great country jukebox and they’ve made it a “Critics Pick.” I don’t know how I missed this place on my bar crawl last year, but seeing as tonight is “Swizzle Stick Tuesday,” I’d say it’s high time we paid Joe’s Bar a visit!

A view of the Empire State building from the block where I work. Goddamn, it's still pretty chilly out here for May.

We'll be taking the F train from Herald Square. I always wonder why this area is named "Herald Square?" I secretly hope it's for the character of Herold Heckuba from Gilligan's Island, but sadly, it's probably not.

Holy freaking shitballs, I just got down here and here's a train! I've been having great luck with trains lately. I hope this is the F train.

Yes! The "F" on this train stands for "Fuckin' Ada!"

Well now, this fellow has certainly made himself at home here. Nighty noodles!

Hmmm...it appears I've entered a sleeper cell.

Okay, here we are at Houston St., just a few blocks to Joe's Bar from here.

And here we are, Joe's Bar. It looks great, a nice, dark bar, Al would love this place! Let's go check it out.

Sadly, there are no swizzle sticks in here, just the shitty little plastic stirrers. The place however is a classic old school, New York dive bar. But the sadness continues as bartender Jamie informs me you can't take pictures in here. The owners frown on it and Jamie would get into trouble if I snapped any, so I took one of my drink and put my camera away. I don't want to get anyone in trouble. I can, however, share the following mental photographs with you. Sometimes words are worth a thousand photos.

Click: I walk in. It’s dark in here. A small, well-worn dark L-shaped wooden bar is situated at the front of the place and there’s a pool table, a jukebox and a few tables scattered in the back. It feels like the past in here. You kind of expect Travis Bickle to come out of the bathroom at any minute and wait for Dee Dee Ramone to come in and order Blackberry Brandy. Nobody has a cell phone out, there’s no one texting anyone and it feels delightfully like 1977.

Click: I take a seat at one of the stools in the middle of the bar. There’s three others at the bar, all tending their drinks quietly. I order a double gin and tonic and soak in the atmosphere. I notice a deer head poking its way out of a wall behind me. Four kids are playing pool and laughing. I immediately feel at home and relaxed. It’s the perfect place for a double gin and tonic, even though the  swizzle stick sucks.

Click: Bartender Jamie and I talk about writing. He’s written and published a book, which if memory serves me correctly is called “666 Ways To Get To Heaven.” But bar memories are sometimes a little blurry, especially while drinking double gin and tonics, so don’t quote me on that.

Click: I go to the jukebox, a real jukebox, not some internet confusing piece of shit. It vomits my five dollar bill back twice and Jamie gives me singles to feed it. Some selections I chose: “Buckaroo” by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra, “Highway to Hell,” by AC/DC, “I Fall To Pieces” by Patsy Cline and “Call Me Lightning,” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. It’s a great jukebox!

Click: When I return, Jamie introduces me to Pauly, who’s taken residence of the stool next to me. Pauly’s a bald guy with a rubbery, friendly face. He tells me he was born on 18th Street and has lived on St. Marks place for the last 40-something years. He tells me I don’t want to know what he pays for rent and I believe him. He’s drinking red wine and buys me a drink. Jamie warns him that I’m drinking, “tall ones, doubles” and Pauly doesn’t hesitate and buys me one anyway. Pauly points to the pool table where a cute, red-haired girl who doesn’t look old enough to be in here is taking a shot. Her ass is up in the air and Pauly and I clink glasses to that. Our conversation whips and weaves through New York stories and the movie, “The Hustler”—did you know there’s only two people still alive who had dialogue in that movie? Pauly does, but I forget their names. I’m on my fourth double gin and tonic by now. Soon we’re discussing old TV shows...“All In the Family,” “The Odd Couple,” “Barney Miller.” Jamie throws out that his first celebrity sighting was Abe Vigoda on 7th Street years ago. Pauly jabs me and points towards the pool table. The redhead's ass is up in the air again. Pauly is grinning ear to ear and it’s infectious.

Click: Time to feed the jukebox again: “Something Stupid” by Frank and Nancy Sinatra, “Sing Me Back Home” by Merle Haggard, “Wooly Bully” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and “Tiger by the Tail” by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos.

Click: Back to my perch at the bar. Pauly leans in and tells me he’s retiring from his doorman gig in six months and moving to Las Vegas and buying a condo. He’s never been to Las Vegas in his life and asks if I know anything about it. And he’s moving there. I love this guy!

Click: I buy Pauly a glass of wine and have a final double gin and tonic. I’m a little buzzed by now and enjoying hearing, “Something Stupid” floating out of the jukebox. It’s dark and the quiet guy in a NY Yankees baseball cap to my right is nursing a Budweiser and eating potato chips. He hasn’t said a word since he came in, except to order a beer and a bag of chips. The redhead’s ass is up in the air again and Pauly is observing it and smiling ear to ear, his Silly Putty, rubber-dubbery face is all a-glow. All is well in Joe’s Bar.
Joe’s Bar
520 E. 6th St. (Near Ave. A)
212-473-9093

Further reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, New York on Tap, Village Voice and Time Out New York.

You might also like: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Time.

Five Joes
Joe “Mama” Besser
Joe Friday
Joe Cool
Joey
Cup of Joe

The time is right your perfume fills my head, the stars get red,
And oh the night's so blue.

ARCHIVES

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

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Reader Comments (29)

Maybe it is just me, but doesn't a real jukebox always just sound better than a fancy internet program hooked up to expensive speakers?

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJAZ

Too bad they won't let you take pictures in Joes...I would have given my left testicle to see a shot of that redhead's ass all up in the air!
I don't have a clue as to why they call it Hearald Square either, so give my regards to Broadway!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Jaws took the words right out of my mouth. Wonderful descriptions of the evening, no pictures necessary except for that redhead's ass. Words are no substitute for that, my friend.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Davis

@JAZ: It's not just you, I hate internet jukeboxes! Joe's jukebox rules!

@Jaws: It was a sight to behold! I'll send your regards to Broadway this evening as I pass by it.

@Bruce Davis: Thanks! I wish I had a photograph of the redhead's ass! Words pale in comparison!

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Great post today,,,cheers to you Marty,,,this place I think I mentioned last year in a email to you but the rumor was it was in danger of closing or closed. Glad to see its alive and well and finally a real bar with a real name and no brass and fern's. I see more in your description of the evening than if you would of taken pictures. Paulie should stay in St Marks,,,,Vegas is shit, a tourist trap a la six flags over a city. Oh I did wish for a picture of the redhead with her ass up in the air,,,oh well,, any bar that has "something stupid" and "I fall to pieces" is a great dive. @Marty: after reading this post today my back feels a lot better.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Classic post today. Loved the mental snapshots, great writing!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

See Marty that is why you need a photo taking cellphone..you pretend to look at it.. switch the camera on and no red head will catch you catching her ass on film...
I like Joe's bar.. i love simple named bars..this one seems totally awesome...

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGidgie

@Al: I forgot you suggested this place, but remember now that you thought it had closed, so I didn't pursue it. This is definitely a nice, dark, Al bar!

@Barfly: Thanks!

@Gidgie: I have a cellphone that takes, photos, I just don't know how to use it! Joe's bar is great!

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Your words are better than a thousand photos.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

P.S. "Hmmm...it appears I've entered a sleeper cell." HA HA HA! You still gots it, Marty!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

Click:
Click:
Click:

For text alerts of more porn like this visit my twitter account.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercsp

http://bit.ly/kgYiDO

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Bifferoonie: Thanks!

@csp: That Twitter page would be perfect if the avatar was a waffle iron.

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Say Marty and every body....whenever I click on the M.A.D. site, and while the website is building I see this huge coffe cup stain where the M.A.D. header art is just before the artwork appears. Marty...I know you hate the stuff, but my guess is that Boris is like me...can't function without it.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

I really enjoyed this post Marty. Actually, I'm kind of glad that you weren't allowed to take pictures in there, your summation of the night was much more entertaining. It read like a cleaned up version of a Bukowski story but happier and more optimistic.

As for missing a shot of the redhead's ass - not a a big deal - probably wouldn't have been able to get a good shot anyway.

I really liked your writing in this post. Maybe you should do a "Night in 1977" thing where you go old school with no pics. Although, I will say, having a shot of the bar's sign does help put you in the environment.

"It feels like the past in here." Reading your piece kind of put me in the past.

Cheers!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheChief

Also, learn to use your cell phone camera dude! Trust me, I take pictures of stupid shit all the time on it and it's a great way to take sneaky pictures.

It takes a little practice but it's way easier to take an ass shot with a cell phone than a real camera. Man, that last sentence made me sound like a perv. Oh well! HAHA!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheChief

Glad you had a great time!! I really loved your mind clicks. Great story.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

@Jaws: I think "Boris" has a nuclear blend of coffee he drinks, but I'll let him chime in. That coffee stain is part of the art from the pre-existing template my hosting site provides. I slapped the "Boris" banner over it, to give the blog a more unique look, but you can still see it as the page is loading. I've always liked that!

@TheChief: Thanks! I appreciate the kind words! As far as the camera goes, I wouldn't have taken any pictures anyway. The bartender was super nice about it and said the owners would be pissed if any went up and he'd get in trouble for it and I enjoyed doing some writing for a change. And as far as being a pervert, welcome to the club!

@Melanie: Thanks for posting the wonderful photo of Joe's over at your blog and inspiring me to do this!

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

lmfao over the words, "nighty noodles!" I spit water all over my computer screen after i read them! i liked the words better than pictures. i agree with the chief, do this more often! love the joe friday clip too!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

a great post...i sorta lean toward a pic w/ a snappy caption...was that five double gin and tonics all toll?....off topic i started wondering who would jaws give that testicle to... MAD???...GENE interesting link...damn that's larger than my one bathroom apartment...sorta like he's rubbing peoples' noses in his two...

Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
-- Wilson Mizner 1876-1933

rr

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@GENE: I didn't see the link, earlier, that's crazy!

@rr: I think it was five, my math was a little fuzzy towards the end! And I don't want Jaws' testicle, you can have it! Nice quote!

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

i'll pass...thanks

rr

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

I love the writing too - you really give us a great sense of the place. And (for the guys on here) the ass!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

Great descriptions Marty, as good as photos. I can't say I regret seeing the red head's ass, unless it was a guy, I've always liked red heads. I'm in your time zone!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari

Hey Marty, this is a great post! I was in Joe's maybe 5 years ago, and for a great old looking dive bar, it wasn't very hospitable. Didn't try to take pictures, but I guess they still aren't very user friendly.

I didn't bother to look up whether you've been there, but the best Jukebox I know of in that area (especially for old-schoolers like me (us?) is the Lakeside Lounge:

http://www.lakesidelounge.com/Lakeside_Lounge/Lakeside_Lounge_NYC.html

If you go there, play Nathaniel Mayer's "The Village of Love". It's my all time favorite scratchy 45, and it's the only Juke Box I know of in NY City that has it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUgUTjj4Ycs

Rock On Marty!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKen in NJ

You painted a great picture Daddio!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@onemorefoldedsunset: Thanks!

@kari: Welcome to my time zone!

@Ken: It was friendly in there last night, the no pictures thing comes from the owners. I did go to the Lakeside Lounge last year and I've been there many times in the past. They do have one of the best jukeboxes in the city. Next time I go, I'll play the "Village of Love," just for you, my friend!

@"Boris:" Thanks, Daddio, don't sit down though, wet paint!

May 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

great post Marty. Just hilarious

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterken mac

@ken mac: Thanks, Ken, nice to hear from you!

May 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

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