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.