“It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over!”

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.

25 Responses to ““It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over!””

  1. 1 MikeQ December 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Best of luck, Scrib! As you say, it’s never over til it’s over . . . hopefully there’s some breathing room in the lease. Anyway, it’s good to see you back here . . . you’ve been missed. Some bars are legends . . . but the captains and crews of those ships are just as important. Can’t have one without the other.

  2. 2 scribbler50 December 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Mike Q: Thanks, bro, you know whereof you speak!

  3. 3 blue girl December 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Hey Scrib, what does this new owner want to do? Close the bar and renovate the building/turn it into apartments or something? Is he raising the rent to the point where you’ll *have* to close? Just curious what this guy’s plan is.

    It’s a real shame when people without any vision are able to run things, ruin things. And that sort of is running rampant these days.

    I wish you all a lot of luck! And I am sending loads and loads of positive thoughts and vibes eastward to you, my friend!

  4. 4 blue girl December 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    And that sort of *person* is running rampant these days.

  5. 5 scribbler50 December 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    blue girl: Without going into detail, he’s bringing in another set of owners to open a restaurant. That’s his plan.

    Thanks for the positive thoughts, every bit helps.

  6. 6 blue girl December 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Maybe another set of owners will know what they’ve already got. Here’s to hoping.

  7. 7 Anonymoustache December 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Good luck in the good fight, bro! I fail to understand how so many people can be blind to history….you know the old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young”…looking around nowadays, I frequently think “Wealth is wasted on the rich”, if you know what I mean….Hope you guys survive and flourish for another century, man!

  8. 8 scribbler50 December 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Anonymoustache: Thanks for the good thoughts, man, we’ll definitely fight the good fight. And as to your point about some people being blind to history? What these guys are about to do if indeed they have their way, is tantamount to painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa. (No pun intended.)

  9. 9 HyeFye December 5, 2011 at 10:17 am

    The Singer Building
    The Hippodrome
    Penn Station

    … now this!

    Indeed, what Manhattan needs is more glass and steel.


  10. 10 Ken December 5, 2011 at 10:55 am

    This is sad news. I may never get to visit your place.

    Hate to be a downer, but unless there’s a poison pill hidden in the lease, or your manangement has special powerful friends, the landlord will win in the end. He does own the property, and the number of courts who will ignore that are approximately zero.

  11. 11 Irishirritant December 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Oh sure, one could consider going over to the dark side…especially in this situation, however, better angels and all that. Damn it! THIS is truly irritating.
    Disclosure, this bar is on my to do list for sure, thanks for filling us in and hang in there, maybe there’s a miracle out there.
    Better just give me a shot off the rail. time to check the frequent flier #’s.

  12. 12 Chris December 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Man that’s horrible Scrib. I know from reading you for so long how much this place means to you and I’m very sorry it is being threatened. Seeing as I was a history major I understand, but so few other people do, and that is the problem. They either don’t understand or they don’t care because they want to make a buck. And whats sad my friend is if they do close a place that’s made it in business over 100 years they will probably put in some shit restaurant that will only be in business a year at best and go belly up and the whole damn thing will be for not. It’s depressing really. My city is quite old, not as old as NYC but like 1820’s and the majority of the buildings are pre-1900. There is so much character in these old buildings and they tear them down and put up prefab shit burgers that won’t last 50 years. The only thing that saves some are historic significance or preservation societies. Good luck to you I mean it man I hope it works out for you.

  13. 13 scribbler50 December 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    HyeFye: And the hits just keep on coming!

    Ken: I realize all of that, the legal end of things, I’m just hoping for this thing called decency to emerge. A Christmas miracle!

    Irish: Thanks for your support, pal, we’re definitely hangin’ in there.

    Chris: Appreciate the sentiment, friend, too bad too many others don’t share that sentiment. And they call it “progress”!

  14. 14 Fred December 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Time for “Occupy The Bar”? (Heck, I don’t even live in NY but would sure like to make in once for drink.)

  15. 15 violet cadburry December 5, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Couldn’t you get a historical designation or find some endangered species of woodworm to protect? Start a petition to keep it open. Get some old bar flies to speak to its charms. If it was a speakeasy I bet there were some famous gangsters that hung around. Post a video on U-Tube. Chain yourself to the bar rail. Film a reality series there about up and coming talent. If all else fails, hold a drink-in. Good luck.

  16. 16 scribbler50 December 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Fred: No need for an “Occupy” movement as our business is doing great,
    but thanks.

    violet cadburry: Kudos and “cheers” for creativity there, V., very clever. And funny! (Except of course for the part where I’m chained to the bar rail.) I appreciate the “Good luck”.

  17. 17 Patsy December 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it! In addition to all the wise & witty comments above: “money doesn’t buy taste” should be added! When was it decided that Manhattan should be “renovated” to look like a strip mall? They call it a closing, feels more like an assassination to me…
    Damn shame that’s for certain – keep up the fight!! Glad business is good, money does seem to be all these developers care about, so maybe with a strong inflow they’ll decide not to fix what ain’t broke! Good luck!

  18. 18 Uncle Vinny December 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Fingers crossed for you, good sir.

  19. 19 scribbler50 December 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Patsy: Well said and sadly true… the New York landscape is changing. Change is good but change for the sake of change is simply wrong. And very shortsighted. Thanks for your comment.

    Uncle Vinny: And thank you as well, sir.

  20. 20 WMassChris December 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Rat bastards, they ruin everything. Keep the faith, Scrib. Maybwe we’ll see a Christmas Miracle.

  21. 21 Marty wombacher December 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I’m here for the first time and I’m loving this blog! And I love the bar, let’s hope those new greedheads don’t take it over. They’ll throw out the memories and stock the place with trash. Beautiful writing, Scribbler! I’ve bookmarked the blog and will return.

  22. 22 scribbler50 December 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    WMassChris: That’s what we’re hoping for, friend, thanks for the good thoughts,

    Marty: Welcome aboard there, Marty, always nice to pick up a new “regular”. Glad you like the place.

  23. 23 jc December 10, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    LOL at Violet. Aren’t you already chained to the bar rail?

    Positive thoughts. Sending them. *appendages crossed*

  24. 24 scribbler50 December 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    jc: Not chained never will be, but keep those apps of yours crossed nonetheless, okay?

  25. 25 chris December 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    very positive thoughts coming your way!!!!

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