Your friendly bartender realizes he’s been remiss of late in posting, two weeks away and almost three counting this. Not good. But neither are the various reasons for said remission.
They are anger… frustration…more anger… uncertainty… and even a dollop of sadness if truth be known.
Why? Because the landlord who owns the building where I ply my merry trade, is trying to end the run of our legendary bar. That’s why. With callous and utter disregard for what he is ending. For we’re not just any old bar on the corner with bottles and a couple of stools, or one of a thousand chef-of-the-month, haute cuisine-eries dotting the culinary landscape, we’re a legend… a one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-seen-again New York fucking institution about to go south.
Going all the way back to the Roaring Twenties when we first kicked up our heels, when we first pried open our illegal door if you happened to know the password in order to enter, we stand as one of the last authentic speakeasies. With everything in place. (Albeit now on one leg if this bum has his way.) There is more history and more New York lore embedded in one single inch of our well-worn bar surface, or in our ornate back bar, than half of the bars in Manhattan I dare say combined. Our halls fairly sing of what used to be (along with a few friendly ghosts), and the walls bear that out by the photographs pinned to their chests. Still proudly. In fact, to put it into true prospective and at the risk of sounding dramatic, we’re a museum much more than a bar which sadly has fallen into the hands of a heartless curator. (And how apt this happens at Christmas time (eh?) for the name Henry F. Potter sure comes to mind!)
Now am I hopeful? Yes I am. The power of positive thought can go along way. And there are legal avenues not yet explored which will give us a standing eight count, to extend the fight for maybe a tenth round knockout. We’ll see.
But I’m also in many ways a realist. I’m someone who knows quite well these ropes having seen this fight before, where some guy comes in and buys a building, to him just concrete and wood, and with a concrete soul and a wooden heart he makes some kind of a move to fatten his wallet. Regardless of who’s being hurt or what’s being lost.
So with regrets (to say the least), this is the reason I’ve been remiss and why I haven’t been “pouring” these past two weeks, I’ve been pissed! This landlord stuff has thrown a pall over everything. But also let me say in that very same breath (lest this sounds like a pity party), this isn’t about me personally here and the fact that I might lose my job (well, maybe a just little), it’s about the fact that this city is losing a legend. Yet another one! And that to me is the real god damn crime in this drama. For your friendly bartender can always find a place to do what the hell he does… tilt some bottles and chat up an eager customer… but Barland will never, ever find another “our bar”. And that’s just a fact.
That said, I realize this wasn’t an enjoyable pour or what you’ve come here to drink, but I thought I’d put this out there for one simple reason. And that’s this. If there is indeed any power to this thing called “positive thought”, maybe you could send a little our way. Whaddaya’ say? For as Jackie Mason (now a regular) would say, “It couldn’t hoit!”
See you next week-end, dear reader, with something (I promise) a little more like what you’re used to. Because even in the worst case scenario here (bite your tongue there, Scribbler!!!), we’re going to be around for at least a few months.