Day 313—Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Kenny’s Castaways has been a fixture in New York City since that magical summer of love, 1967. The name refers to the original owner, Patrick Kenny who opened the doors to a bar and original live music, originally on E. 84th St. and then moving to the current location on Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village in 1974. In the 43 years since its opening, a diverse group of musicians have played at Kenny’s Castaways, many cutting their musical teeth on the stage in the back of the bar. They include: Professor Longhair, Koko Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, The New York Dolls, Danny Gatton, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, The Allman Brothers, Ray Davies, Peggy Lee, Doc Pomus, Suzanne Vega and many other legendary names in the musical world. They have live music, seven nights a week, so let’s go see who’s playing tonight.
Bur first, a pause for this commercial announcement:
I just got an email from Printfection, who is the hosting site for our 365 Bar Store maintained by our in-house artist, “Boris.” The store features t-shirts and various items all emblazoned with the 365 Bar Crawl logo that “Boris” designed. Here’s the email:
The season is flying by and it's time to get ready for the next holiday sale. Starting Wednesday, November 24 to Sunday, November 28 we will be offering free shipping on all orders with a subtotal of $35 or more. Including International!
So there you go, if you’ve been thinking about buying something from the store, there’s no better time than now. We now return to our program already in progress (on the subway.)
Welcome to Greenwich Village!
And welcome to Kenny's Castaways.
Holy mother of fuck! It's packed up front, let's go towards the back and see if it's any better.
Wow, it's just as crowded back here, but I do see an empty stool where a couple are standing, maybe I can squeeze in there.
They encouraged me to sit down and I told them about my 365 journey and they were very supportive about the idea. Their name's are Jaclyn and Hiroshi and they're very nice people who moved so I could sit at the bar. Thanks for the kindness!
Andrea was one of the bartenders on duty, and as you can imagine she was swamped, but still humored me with a photo, thanks Andrea!
Jaclyn took this photo of me with my first drink of the night. I read online that they had a specialty vodka lemonade drink, but Andrea told me they were out of lemonade, so I settled for a vodka tonic. A small disappointment, but you learn to roll with the punches on the 365 bar crawl.
My view of the bar from where I was sitting.
There's a couple of shots of Kenny's back in its heyday. The top one features Bruce Springsteen and Handsome Dick Manitoba. Handsome Dick now owns a bar in the East Village and it was stop number 42 all those bars ago.
Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's a tin ceiling, always the calling card of a classic bar.
Mark was seated next to me at the crowded bar. He's a DJ and a photographer and he pointed this out to me...
A little devil bottle opener behind the bar. He asked me to take a photo of it and I happily obliged. I take all requests here!
There's a signed Danny Gatton promotional poster behind the bar. Danny Gatton played Kenny's many times in his career.
A shot from the other end of the bar.
There's a second floor upstairs, let's go have a look.
Plenty of seats at the bar up here, probably because there's not a bartender behind it. I bet it's open on weekends.
There's couches and comfortable chairs up here, giving it a lounge-like vibe.
The lonliest can of Pabst in the world.
Hey, the band is starting, let's go down and check them out.
The back room has candle lit tables to sit at and enjoy the music.
Tonight was jam night with Big Jason's Jam, hosted by Jason Rosen. It was a great night of music with jams ranging from funk to rock to sweet soul music.
On the way out, Glenn the security/door man asked if I was with a magazine because he had seen me taking so many pictures. I told him about the 365 bar crawl and he gave the idea a thumbs up.
Out the door and on to Bleecker Street and suddenly...hats! Goodnight, everybody!
Original owner Patrick Kenny died in 2002, but the Kenny family has kept Kenny’s Castaways alive. The front bar is always lively with a large wooden bar and chairs opposite. Vintage photos and press from days gone by line the walls. There’s also knick-knacks and various bric-a-brac that’s been collected through the years hanging from the bar and walls. In the back room there’s tables and the stage that houses whatever bands are playing that night. There’s live music here seven nights a week.
There’s a full bar at Kenny’s and happy hour is all day and all of the night, to quote Ray Davies who has performed at Kenny’s. Six bucks will get you a beer and a shot, a can of Pabst is three dollars, domestic drafts are four bucks a glass and well drinks are five dollars. They have a decent selection of draft and bottled beers including: Guiness, Newcastle Ale, Corona and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
If you’ve gotten a contact high from the musicians van outside and have the munchies, you’re in luck, there’s food to be had at Kenny’s. Some of the offerings on the menu include: Shrimp Tacos, Kenny's Burger, three styles of pizza and meat, chicken and shrimp Empanadas.
157 Bleecker St. (near Thompson St.)
Bonus photos from Gidget!
Gidget, the coolest DJ in the world, recently took a trip to California and one of her stops was at a Tiki Bar that she deemed 365-worthy. After reading her blog about her trip, I agree. Here’s some photos shot by Gidget’s friend Rachelanne with captions by Gidget.
Rachelanne sneaking a sip of Gidget’s virgin mango daiquiri.
A shot of the bar from the back.
Gidget makes and gropes a new friend.
The money shot (almost better than a tin ceiling.)
Gidget’s brother Glenn, Best homey Dan and Gidget.
Gidget and Rachelanne at the tiki water fountain.
Don’t forget to tune in to Gidget’s wonderful show on Woody Radio, it’ll make you rock hard!
Bonus Woody Radio with “Boris!”
And speaking of Gidget and Woody Radio, the "Secret Weapon" (for those of you that don't know, is the automated bot of all "Boris" music, featuring past and present favorites, obscurities and a few guilty pleasures thrown in) will be broadcast tonight from 10pm ET until Saturday Morning. Sort of a "Friday Night Pajama Party" on the radio. Thanks tol DJ Gidget for running the bot and archiving the music “Boris” has sent her. Listen in on Woody Radio, iTunes or here: Woody Stream Server. Tune in and enjoy the tunes!