R.I.P.

Well, dear reader, try as he might to put out a proper post this morning… or a typical blog post anyway where he reflects on the highlights and lowlights going on in  Barland… your friendly bartender just can’t bring himself to do it. For there’s just too much damn screaming going on, screaming inside his head, where the “F” word is bouncing around as though it were a truck stop. Or a locker room. Or God forbid a reality show absent the censor! And ironically the post he was going to write had everything to do with that word, about how some customer’s liberal use of it, loudly this past Wednesday night, caused him to pay his check much sooner than expected. Gee, ain’t life funny?

So why can’t I get the “F” word out of my head? Well, dammit (here’s why)!

I was going to try and hold all that in til the actual day when it happened, but that kinda’ felt dishonest, like sitting here acting like all was well while a Category Five was swirling around my apartment. And the windows were cracking. Or like dating a woman I really cared about, smiling and holding her hand, knowing that I was moving to Iceland on Tuesday. It’s just not right. Unless you have the heart of our fucking landlord. (I told you that word was running unchecked in my head!)

But also by sharing that New York Times link another turning point has been reached (not to take myself too seriously) as the cat’s now out of the bag with regards to my identity. But I figure, Hey, what the hell at this point, what’s the dif?. You now know where I work and of course from where all my stories have arisen, and from where I’ll sadly watch the closing of it’s doors. Doors through which people have passed since the Roaring Twenties!

So what next? I hear my regulars asking. In other words, what’s going to happen to “Behind the Stick” and this blog? Well I’ll sure as hell try to keep the thing going at least as best I can under these circumstances, so I sure as hell hope you’ll stop for an occasional pour. And I do mean occasional, as there’s bound to be some kind of lull until we reopen. And we will reopen!

That said, I could go on and get a little misty by dragging this out and sharing how badly I really feel, but who the hell needs all that with their morning coffee? Not me. That’s like someone at Happy Hour talking about his divorce. So I’ll just sign off.

With this…

Being a guy whose glass is half full (be it shot glass, pint glass, or snifter), let’s do a little twist if I may with the title. Let’s not  think of that R.I.P. as “Rest In Peace” on a head stone, but rather “Reopen In Prosperity” on a new awning.

See you down the road, dear reader, and please keep the faith!

46 Responses to “R.I.P.”


  1. 1 flygal9 March 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Dear Scribbler…. may I suggest a modification?
    RIP….Q [Reopen in Prosperity…. QUICKLY!]

    I’ve been depressed all week by this news and am plotting an “Occupy” event of my own…. ugh.

    In the meantime, keep your chin up and know you’ll be an institution long after your fair bar closes.

    Sad, sad, news…..

  2. 2 Chris Murillo March 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I am so sad that one of New York City’s greatest bars, and my favorite mid-town haunt, is closing because of a lease dispute. There’s almost ninety years of history in the place, with a patina you cannot easily recreate. I’m so thankful I was able to be a junior grade regular at the original location, and I undertake to become a founding regular at their new location. Cheers!

  3. 3 Comradde PhysioProffe March 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    This fucken suckes, and I sure as shitte hope Barbara finds a new place pronto!

  4. 5 Julie's mom March 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Dear Rita’s son,

    Such sad news. Best bar in Manhattan! Great memories. They can’t take away the spirit of the bar. Looking forward to the re-opening!

    Thinking of all of you and wishing you all good times ahead,

    Julie’s mom
    Julie’s dad
    & Julie

  5. 6 scribbler50 March 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    flygal9: I appreciate the suggestion and I appreciate the sentiment, and we will rise “quickly”, I guarantee it. Thanks a lot.

    Chris Murillo: You call yourself a “junior grade regular”, but you and your new Mrs. are senior grade quality. And I really mean that!

    Comrade: I couldn’t have put it better if I used more “fuckens”. Thanks, pal.

    Isis: xoxoxo back at ya’.

    Julie’s mom: Best wishes accepted from Rita’s son. Thank you.

  6. 7 Scott March 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Scribbler,

    Never been to your bar, but I enjoy making my virtual visit every week, and it’s been clear throughout how much you value its atmosphere and history. These types of places are part of the collective memory of a city and every one that’s lost takes a little bit of that away.

    Best of luck, and I look forward to reading about the transition.

  7. 8 Marty Wombacher March 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Bill’s was/is a classic place that a heartless landlord threw to the wolves. Hopefully karma and the ghosts will bite him in the ass repeatedly. I will miss Bill’s, but will follow you and the crew wherever you go, looking forward to being part of a new institution.Bill’s Gay Nineties brought new friendships into my life and for that I’ll be forever thankful. Cheers to you, everyone at Bill’s and to a prosperous and happy next chapter!

  8. 9 M.Lane March 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I’m very sorry to read this. I have always enjoyed your writing and I look forward to seeing more as soon as possible!

    ML
    mlanesepic.blogspot.com

  9. 10 scribbler50 March 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Scott: You said it. And I appreciate your virtual visits every week which tells me the stuff I was pouring went down to your liking. Like a twelve year-old scotch. Thanks.

    Marty: You’re all over this one, my friend, from your opening line to the last. And I thank you.

    M. Lane: Having read your blog many times in the past where on display is your taste for the finer things in life, you would’ve loved our bar if ever you had visited. It was tradition in the truest sense, and a slice of life that is sadly slipping into memory. So here’s to you and those times {raised glass}!

  10. 11 Susanne March 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    How sad to see an institution close down because of a lease dispute. Even worse, I had just kinda figured out where you are working at and put it on my list of visits for my next NY trip. I hope you are going to continue to write as I as many others enjoy your blog very much.

  11. 12 MikeQ March 4, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Scrib, … your great writing brought both the bar, and the tragedy of it, to life. But in the end, as beautiful a spot may be, there’s also the people who frequent the place, those who work there … and in this case “the scribe” who colors their amazing stories. Best of luck getting the new place up and running ….

  12. 13 red dress March 4, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Dear Scribbler,

    I pray and know that this will all be good in the end. It is very sad that it will come to an end and I enjoyed my time there.

    How sweet it was to run in to you tonight!

    Sometimes the ground must shake a little before us to let us know of all the great possibilities around us. I like mine stirred not shaken. Lol

    See you on your next shift, dear “Morty”. xxx

    IM.

  13. 14 Anonymoustache March 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Sorry to hear that the worst fears regarding the lease have come true, bro…..I do like the tone of Reopen in Prosperity, though….as one of the many who never got a chance to set foot inside that legendary establishment, I thank you for bringing it and its history to us in such beautiful and enjoyable fashion over the past few years. Good luck with the new digs, hope you guys reopen soon, and hope that the new location treats you all well for many decades to come!

  14. 16 scribbler50 March 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Susanne: So you did a little sleuthing, eh? Well I’m sorry you found us too late, maybe in the next place. Thank you for the kind words and your good wishes.

    Mike Q: You’re right. Though the backdrop creates the atmosphere (and ours was some atmosphere!) it’s really the people in the end who make it go. So if the customers we have come with us, and the staff tags along as well, we’ll make it a “go”. Thanks, bud, and best of luck at your place moving forward.

    red dress: Hey there, lady in red, what a head turner you were! Love that line by the way, “I like mine stirred not shaken” with regards to change. You’re a poet and a beauty! (You’re also very funny dropping that “Morty”!)
    See you next week, my friend, and many weeks to come. xoxo

    Anonymoustache: And I thank you for bringing this blog to life. You’ve by far left many more comments than any other of my regulars, and you’ve done it with loads of humor, smarts and kindness. That said, and you being who you are, I expect and hope for the same as we move forward.
    Cheers, pal!

    Donna B: And damn, damn, damn, that says it all!

  15. 17 Chris March 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Scrib, again like everyone else I’m very sorry to hear of your bars closing. But at least its not like Elaines where the fun just stopped, at least your owner is willing to try at a different location. I hope everything goes smoothly for you and your crew. Best of luck. Oh and you know just because you won’t be working there for a little while doesn’t mean you can’t write. You still I’m sure have years of stories tucked away, and if nothing else you live in nyc, always something going on there i’m sure you could comment on. I’ll stay tuned friend. Take care.

  16. 18 scribbler50 March 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Chris: Thanks for that, Chris, and I will try and do some writing in the meantime. Just maybe not every week though, so stay tuned.

  17. 19 BBBShrewHarpy March 5, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Ugh. Now you really do have reason to gripe at my fellow countrymen.

  18. 20 Dominic Lipinski March 5, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Really sad news Scribbler. Hard to believe that your landlord is heartless enough to close down such a piece of NY history – and such a great bar full of wonderful people! 😦

    I hope that you do Reopen in Prosperity quickly and we’ll be sure to come and visit wherever you end up calling home.

    All the luck in the world for the future!

    Two Brits

  19. 21 brenda cullerton March 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

    No, no, no. Say it ain’t so, Scrib. Someone once said that we are all the sum of our losses. The bar itself is a huge loss, of course. But if you do my kind of math and consider what we’ve gained, thanks to your extraordinary wit and more than occasional wisdom… Well, the loss hurts a little less. In the meantime, I’m relying on the ghosts upstairs to strangle the ass@$*! who gut the place on their own red velvet ropes!

  20. 22 scribbler50 March 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    BBBShrewHarpy: No, just this one Irishman, he’s a bastard. Though I will take your pass-to-gripe and use it if I must on March 17th. 🙂

    Two Brits: How nice of you to comment, that tells me you’re still reading me across the pond. Speaking of which, the next time you do come across and if we’ve reopened by then, please stop by for a spot of…. hmmm….. well I know the Mrs. liked the Tom Collins but, Dominic, you were all over the place if I remember. You tried ’em all! Hey, it was great fun and I hope we can do it again
    Sincerely,
    One American

    Brenda Cullerton: Thank you so much, Brenda. Having met people like you in this process, along with so many others, believe me I’ve gained much more by doing this blog. It’s been a blast and it hopefully will continue to be.
    (And, hey, I’m with ya’ on that, “Ghosts do your stuff!!!”)

  21. 23 IrishIrritant March 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Now I’m really irritated! will have to post later.

  22. 24 everythinginbetween March 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Aw, I’m so sorry to hear this! This kind of turmoil can be really difficult, both personally and professionally. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and your blog on my blogroll – you’d better keep posting!

  23. 25 scribbler50 March 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Irish: Stay cool. my friend, I am.

    everythinginbetween: Truly appreciate the thoughts and prayers and will continue to write but maybe not as often. So keep dropping by.

  24. 26 PalMD March 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    My wife kept trying to get me to go to NOLA “before the big one hits”…never happened. I hoped to make it to NYC and sit for a chat and a bunch of drinks.

  25. 27 scribbler50 March 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    PalMD: One day, my friend, one day… because we will emerge somewhere, sometime soon. Not a month from now soon but you get the picture. And while I’m on the subject of visiting, you’ve done so countless times on this site (even linked me a time or two when the subject had resonance… the “no smoking” post comes to mind), so let me thank you now for all of those cyber stops. They count.
    And tell your wife I said “Cheers” til we do it for real!

  26. 28 physiobabe March 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Well, I only got there once, but I’ll be sure to introduce myself when you’re in new quarters. Until then, uomo dolce…

  27. 29 scribbler50 March 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    physiobabe: I look forward to it, Ms. Babe, grazie!

  28. 30 Jennifer March 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Oh no!!!

    But there will be more posts… because we know you’re nowhere near the dregs of your stories.

    I will show up… even after the lights are on, and they’re telling me to go home.

    Besides… the ghosts won’t let you leave.

  29. 31 scribbler50 March 8, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Jennifer: Yeah, I’ll still be putting stuff up but maybe not as often till we get organized. So please keep stopping by to see if I’m “pouring”. By the way you’re another longtime regular here whose comments have always brightened the topic of the week. As in, “I will show up… even after the lights are on, and they’re telling me to go home.” 🙂
    Thanks, friend!

  30. 32 IrishIrritant March 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I think I’m over some of those stages, Shock – denial- anger…could strike no bargains with the devil (in Dublin pwahaps)so she who must be obeyed and I said we will wait till the ashes have cleared and you have your phoeonix costume on before visiting, tis a shame about Bill’s. All the best.
    Thanks again Scribbler, till then.

  31. 33 Ken March 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Scrib: So sorry to read this. Your landlord just seemed determined to run you out, since your management offered to match his best offer.

    I was hoping sometime to see you in the old place. Thanks to the Times, it seems like it looks sorta what I imagined.

    I do hope the spirit of Bill’s can be transported and resurrected at the new location. In the meantime, I’ll be reading.

  32. 34 The Hornet March 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    We’re feeling a similar pain out here on the Left Coast:

    https://www.facebook.com/golddustlounge

  33. 35 BBBShrewHarpy March 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I’ll be in Dublin next month, so if you want me to deliver an *ahem* message, as IrishIrritant said, spit it out.

  34. 36 scribbler50 March 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Irish: See you then…

    Ken: So maybe you’ll make it to the new place, pal, and what you saw in the picture will still be alive. And thanks by the way for the “I’ll keep reading”, I appreciate it.

    The Hornet: Heard about your loss as I’ve already seen the video. In the immortal words of Bill Clinton, “I feel your pain!”

    BBBShrewHarpy: Nah, but I thank you. For anyone to do what this landlord did, this heartless Noel Tynan, he’s beyond being affected by any more outcry. HOWEVER, given the fact you go by Shrew Harpy perhaps I should reconsider now that I think of it. I’ll let you know!

  35. 37 Deb T. March 12, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I enjoyed your blog. I live far away and I don’t drink but I always felt welcome in your bar.
    Good luck in your future endeavors

  36. 38 scribbler50 March 12, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Deb T. If I’ve made you feel welcome then I’ve done my job and I thank you for that. Meanwhile, this blog is not dead so let’s not talk in the past tense. A coke or a Shirley Temple awaits you down the road!

  37. 39 Sheila March 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I am so so sad to hear this. When is this happening? What will happen to the memorabilia? Bummer!!

  38. 40 scribbler50 March 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Sheila: Thanks for the sentiment, my friend. As it is now we are out on the 24th, two weeks from last Saturday, unless we get a slight extension til we land a new spot. And as far as the memorabilia goes, it goes with us. ALL of it. All this bastard will be left with is a five story empty shell and a whole bunch of very unhappy ghosts! I’ll keep you posted as to the reopening, okay?
    Thanks again, Sheila, and since your last name’s O’Malley happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

  39. 41 sheila March 16, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Yes, please keep me posted on re-opening. I am glad that all of those treasures are safe. And happy St. Patrick’s Day to you too!

  40. 42 chris March 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    …i just read about the really bad news….
    hopefully this window closing will lead to a new adventure in a new location….its just plain sad though to see places with so much history fall by the wayside….
    promise to have a big celebration when the new place opens…
    all the best,
    d-a-p

  41. 43 scribbler50 March 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

    chris: We will have a celebration, old friend, I’ll be sure to keep you apprised. And thanks for your longtime support, by the way, on this blog.
    “All the best” back at ya’!

  42. 44 Al June 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I remember when Hal Willard was their singer and entertainer…that was really entertainment! “WOW was he impressive… “Those were the days my friend, I thought they’d never end…”

  43. 45 scribbler50 June 27, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Al: I don’t recall the name, Hal Willard, obviously before my time. But that was the beauty of Bill’s, Al, every generation can claim, “Those were the days!”
    Thanks for the comment.

  44. 46 thomas puls February 2, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    To Al,
    Thanks for your nice comment as Hal Willard was my grandfather!


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