“One never knows, do one?”

In the immortal words of the great Fats Waller, “One never knows, do one?” and your friendly bartender is certainly proof of that fact. Here’s why.

While I was out on my rain drenched quest (as depicted in last week’s post), looking for a brand new spot for some Barland orphans, those very same orphans were cooking up a plan of their own. Not a permanent plan, perhaps, but definitely a plan. For they’d gotten together on their Facebook pages, decided on a place to meet up, then set up a time and a place to have a reunion. And if I had been one of those Facebook persons… me who still can’t open his cell phone without accidentally taking a picture of his shoes… the place they had chosen would not have been such a surprise to me. Which it definitely was…

Last Wednesday night this woman came in, this woman I knew from Elaine’s who’d never been in before, and said that she’d soon be joined by a friend at the bar. Now I knew this friend, whom I liked as well, so I set up a dummy cocktail on the space right next to her. That’s ice water poured in a cocktail glass which you place on a bev nap to look like someone is sitting there. Well as it turned out, and what this woman had failed to tell me was, in order to correctly do a seat saving thing I would’ve had to put down thirteen napkins for that’s how many of her friends eventually showed up. That’s right, we were the place the Elaine’s crowd had picked on Facebook.

So one by one and two by two they trickled on into the room, smiling and hugging each other as they did so, giving off the amiable air of a class reunion. That’s how warm it was. (Can it only have been a month since Elaine’s has closed?) And surveying the room when the place got hopping, at least to the untrained eye, one might’ve called us “Elaine’s South” for that’s how much of the bar this group had occupied. In fact they were the bar! And based on what I was seeing and hearing they were having just as much fun as they did in the old place. (Well, kinda’.) For they were drinking, they were eating, they were chatting non-stop moving up and down the bar, even singing with the piano man (and thank you, Elbe, for the beautiful solos you gave us), and most of them carried this out right up until closing time. Which is a four hour stint! And just as an added bonus to all this, especially for the female constituency, they were treated to another solo by an unlikely soloist.

It happened that Mark Sanchez, quarterback for the Jets, also happened to be in that night and treated the room to his softly sung version of “Operator”. The Jim Croce hit. Which the crowd ate up. And he also treated that same constituency who lined up with cell phones in hand to a generous photo op! Be still their hearts!

Yeah, it was, as it all turned out, a night to remember. And as I said, totally unexpected. Which really is one of the cool things here in this business of tending bar, you never know who’s going to walk in the door, especially in New York City, so you take a night like this and you thank your stars for it. Or in my case you write about it!

So what does this mean for the future, I ponder as I write this? Will we be the new Elaine’s for this wandering bar crowd? Probably not. For I doubt they will ever find a permanent spot, a spot to replace the irreplaceable, but when they do decide to have such a night, an occasional romp like this when they want to catch up, I have a feeling we’re definitely high on their list. In fact I know we are.

So in way of showing my gratitude here, and in no particular order, let me now make a list of those in attendance.

To Noreen, Lisa, Rosemary, Ronnie, Peter, Elbe, Mike, Ricky, Jessica, Duffy, Curt, Gretchen, John (and the older woman whose name I never did get), thank you so very much, one and all, for creating such a wonderful night, not to mention a generous night, I haven’t had this much fun since Elaine’s was open. See you down the road!

Over and out from Barland, see ya’ next week-end.

PS: Sorry for posting so late, dear reader, I’ll try to do better next week-end.

PPS: And if I left any name off the list please forgive me.

13 Responses to ““One never knows, do one?””

  1. 1 Chris June 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Glad to hear it Scrib, always fun to see old friends. Remember when I asked last week why don’t they stop by your place? 🙂 Hope the good times keep on. Have a good week buddy.

  2. 2 scribbler50 June 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Chris: I do remember what you said last week, it popped in my head when I wrote this. You have a good week too and thanks for the good wishes.

  3. 3 physiobabe June 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Ahhh, dolce come zucchero! (Come on, cutie, that’s an easy one.)

  4. 4 scribbler50 June 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    physiobabe: I haven’t looked up your translation (which I will) but I’m sure it’s something sweet and nice as always.
    Thank you, bella mia.

  5. 5 Ken June 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Sounds like a jolly group of Elaine’s patrons who are looking to stay in touch. There will never another Elaine’s, but their affinity for each other forms the basis for periodic reunions. Sounds great actually.

  6. 6 Chris June 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I was curious as to why such a legendary place such as Elaine’s would go out of business. I was quite surprised to hear the reason was a lack of business. Although from the way the NYT article that I read made it sound perhaps the lady Elaine left it too wasn’t the best. It made mention of one of the bartenders making shirts for the last night and she telling him he couldn’t pass them out. He of course did anyway, I mean really if its your last night whats the boss going to do fire you? Any thoughts on it Scrib, I understand if you don’t wanna comment, I know your not completely anonymous and probably don’t want to piss anyone off. But I’d like to hear your take on it if possible.

  7. 7 scribbler50 June 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Ken: It WAS great and I hope it continues in the future.

    Chris: As you suspect, I’d rather not go into the why’s and wherefore’s of the closing. Now could things have been handled better after Elaine’s death? Perhaps. But there are others closer to situation who could say just how. All that matters is it’s gone and that’s the tragedy of it.

  8. 8 Ken June 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Not to belabor the point, but the business press that covered the closing reported Elaine’s had been faltering for quite awhile before her death. That all makes sense as the new owner wouldn’t close such an established place casually. It had a great, long run. But virtually all these places have time and fashion pass them by.

  9. 9 Pharm Sci Grad June 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    There are times and places we love to return to but can never quite get back. People move on, adapt, adjust and it’s never quite the same. Still, moments like this one help create new rituals and memories, good ones too I’m glad to hear.
    I hope you can enjoy the next one from the other side of the bar Scrib! Cheers!

  10. 10 scribbler50 June 21, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Ken: All true, especially the last part, so rather than me weigh in we’ll leave it at that.

    Sci Grad: I’ve already enjoyed one such ritual, it happened over the week-end at a place where the bartender landed from the place that closed. (Could that be why the Scribbler was late in posting???)
    Thanks, my friend, and cheers to you!

  11. 11 Anonymoustache June 22, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hmmm…so the lambs were not lost, just wandering….and they found a new (if part-time) home….nice! Why I do not know, but Tolkien’s poem came to mind:

    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king….

    Maybe you will anchor the new Elaine’s, after all…:-)

  12. 12 scribbler50 June 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Anonymoustache: Wow, that was beautiful, man, thanks for the lift. Wise and lovely words for all who wander. And as for me and this group, I’m told I might be their regular Wednesday night spot. Which is great. A welcome addition to an already great clientele!
    Thanks again, bro.

  13. 13 mvpalex June 27, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Glad to hear the gang from the big E showed up, whose better than you? As far as Sanchez, he should stop singing now,win a Superbowl, go to DisneyLand and THEN sing !

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