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« Late Posting Alert | Main | Thursday, August 12th, 2010—Bar 214 »

Friday, August 12th, 2010—Bar 215

Day 215—Thursday, August 12th, 2010
P & G Bar

When I first moved to New York in July of 1993, I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I lived on Broadway near 75th street. One block over and two blocks down was the corner of Amsterdam and 73rd. And housed on that corner was the infamous P & G Bar. The joint was a legendary watering hole on the Upper West Side with a glorious, blazing neon sign. The bar and the sign were so iconic they were used in lots of movies and TV shows. Two of them that spring to mind are Seinfeld and the film Donnie Brasco, but I’m sure there’s many more.

I lived there for four years and it was my go-to joint for a quick beer or six. The bartenders were gruff but friendly and the regulars perched around the perimeter of the bar were the same. A beer and a shot crowd. If you wanted something to eat, there were bags of chips behind the bar. There were wooden booths on the opposite side of the bar, but that’s mainly where the college kids drank their pitchers of beer and cranked out tunes on the jukebox. The bar was the place to sit at the P&G.
I moved downtown to 16th street in the summer of 1998 and didn’t venture uptown nearly as often. About a year went by without me stepping foot in the joint. I remember one day I had the urge to go visit my old watering hole, so I took the subway uptown to my old neighborhood on the Upper West Side. I walked in and the bartender (I can’t remember his name), said, “Where you been? I haven’t seen you in a couple weeks.” I told him I had moved and it had been over a year. He just shook his head and served me a beer. The crowd around the bar hadn’t changed much. It never did.

But then the shoe fell. In 2008 the P & G’s landlord had the need for greed, lowered the boom and kicked them out. I heard it was closing and went and had a final beer before Christmas that year and it was definitely a blue Christmas in the old P & G. I had heard rumors that they would reopen, but I never heard that they did and considered it one more casualty in a city that’s ushering in and welcoming way too many chain stores and restaurants. But last week someone told me they had reopened and I did some seraching and it’s true! The sign didn’t make it, I guess it was too old to make the trip, but what the fuck, let’s go check out the new P & G. Just click your heels three times and say, “There’s no place like the P & G Bar!”

Here's where the old P & G once stood. How sad, no more neon on this corner.

But travel one block over...

And you hit Columbus Avenue.

And it's five easy blocks to...

The new P & G Bar! The sign isn't neon, but it'll due for now.

The new space has live music with no cover. There's three bands tonight.

So let's go down and check it out.

The big wooden doors open to...

The new P & G! It looks great in here. Nice brick walls and a spacious wooden bar.

There's a familiar face behind the bar.

It's fourth generation owner, Steve Chahalis. A good guy and a friendly bartender. He told me he recogonized me from the old days on 73rd and Amsterdam.

Here we are, partying like it's 1993!

Part of the front of the bar with some lit up bottles.

A booth in the front of the bar.

And more booths run along the brick wall opposite the bar. The booths were taken from the original location to bring along a little charm from the original joint.

Jennie, Shannon and Jen were whooping it up at the bar. Thanks for flashing the 365 card, Jen!

Mark was at the end of the bar, cutting up a can of bourbon cake. He offered me a slice...

But I decided to check the can for any bourbon spillage.

Mike's a familiar face because he was a regular at the old P & G.

Here's Steve, taking care of business at the bar.

A framed photo of the original P & G hangs in the center of the bar.

And the original bar is not gone. The original wooden resting well lines the room in the back.

Here's a long shot of the rail. I spent many nights with my elbows resting on this piece of wood.

There's a pool table in the back room as well.

The middle of the room is where the bands play and there's never a cover charge for the music.

Fausto and the Fabulous Faustones were one of the bands playing and they were great.

Some West Point Cadets donated this hat to the new P & G.

Steve with waitress Sabrina.

And there's still potato chips behind the bar! Nice to see some things never change. Goodnight, everybody!

The P & G is now a bar located across the street from the Museum of Natural History. It’s now a basement bar and they managed to carry the spirit and feeling of the old P & G to the new bar. They also carried the wooden booths here and part of the original bar railing runs along the wall in the  back room where a pool table is housed. There’s a room in the middle with live music and no cover charge for it. Last year Steven Tyler from Aerosmith jumped up on stage and sang “Long Tall Sally” with Renee and the Derelicts and drummer Anton Fig from the David Letterman Show has been known to show up and jam.

The drinks remain the same as in the old joint. A full bar, but nothing fancy. A good selection of bottled and draft beers, all moderately priced. There’s also wine and the drinks are poured stiffly. There’s a daily happy hour from noon to 6pm featuring two for one well drinks and a dollar off everything else.

The P & G bar continues to thrive in all its glory. Fourth generation owner Steve Chahalis owns and runs the bar (his dad retired four months ago)  and is the nightly bartender. So fuck the greedy landlord that threw them out of the old space and stop by and help keep the P & G an institution on the Upper West Side. They’ve paid their dues and belong in the neighborhood. I, for one, am thrilled they didn’t say die, when their asshole landlord gave them the boot. Long live the P & G!

P & G Bar
380 Columbus Ave. (Near 78th St.)

P.S. Since it's Friday the 13th, I'm buying some Mega-Millions tickets. If I win I'll fly all the 365 "regulars" (you know who you are), out here to New York, put you up at a hotel and we will go nuts! I'm going out to get tickets now, wish me luck!

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Reader Comments (34)

I know this neighborhood very well. My friends father had a hippie clothing store across the street from the Lucerne Hotel over on 79th back in the sixties. H and H bagels is close by too. Dublin House bar,,, (one of my favorites) And how about Zabar's,,,. This bar is what its all about. A greedy landlord puts you out of business and you forge ahead and reinvent yourself in a new place. This place is better because its in a basement. I like the blue glow on the bottles. And those bedrock walls ,,,how about that. Fantastic. Steve looks like a nice guy.

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Steve's a great guy, Al and I'm glad he and his family had the balls to move the P & G to a new location. Everybody should stop by and check it out and support a family that refused to let a greedy, fucking landlord run them off the block.

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

It looks so cool and friendly in here ! I love the decor ! and the blue light on the bricks.
Potato Chips must be obligatory in any bars ! I practice the potatochips religion. Oh ! Have you ever seen a potato going to the hairdresser, asking for a "Brad Pitt haircut"? Now, yes! haha! ok stupid french humor!!

Nice potato chip...I mean clip, Zioum Zioum!

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Cool-looking blue neon behind the bar! This is one of the ones I wanna hit when I come out in Oct.

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Everytime I go see the Allman Bros. at The Beacon, I get my drinkie drink on at P&G. Thanks for the new location info Mr. Wombaked. I will tell them I know you at next year's April shows.

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFreakin at the Beacon.

@Aaron: Biff just told me you're coming out! Looking forward to having you guys on the crawl! Woo hoo!

@Freakin at the Beacon: I used to live in the Beacon Hotel and would buy a six pack and listen to the Allman Brothers on the sidewalk in the back with the rest of the neighborhood. Cops have stopped that now. Stop by the new P & G, it's worth the trip!

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

nice. reminds me of the old surf bar in the 80's on columbus (i think). we want more russian bars . prvada pravda pravda prvada pravda pravda prvada pravda pravda prvada pravda pravda

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternick beal

@nick beal: Я остановлю мимо там скоро.

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

This was great! Nice to see a bar rise up from the ashes. That old neon was cool, but they've done a good job ressurecting themselves. Long live the P&G! (And good luck on the Mega Millions!)

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

I dont want to be a regular.. but then again irregular sounds kinda creepy...
i like this place and glad that it found a new home...
gl on the mega millions!!!

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

Isn't it great running into an old, well loved friend years after someone told you a rumor that he'd died? A heartwarming story, Marty! Hey, Zioum Zioum...great clip, can you tell me what it is with France and Jerry Lewis?!?! Me and over 300 million Americans are still trying to figure that one out...

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

A great place and so glad it's living on!
To the P&G!
My kind of joint.

I'm grabbing some Mega's for tonight as well.

Holy shitballs!
With a crowd like that, I may to to buzz out in Oct. as well.

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@"Boris:" To the P & G! Come on out, Daddio, the more the merrier!

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

i agree with jaws, nice story, marty! and how cool that you are remembered in there, i guess you can go home again! hooray for the p&g!!!

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

p.s. good luck on the mega millions!

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

Wow! I am so gkad they re-opened it! It looks like a very cool and very fun place, love the customers and the friendly staff. What a great first watering hole Marty! Thank you for sharing the story about the establishment as well. Very cool!

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

@ Jaws : Indeed, I really don't know where come from that idea that French like Jerry Lewis!! but many american told me about. Most of french even don't know who is Jerry Lewis! But I think there's a confusion between Jerry Lewis and Jerry LEE Lewis !! The first time someone told me about Jerry lewis I told "OH YES I LOVE JERRY LEE LEWIS!!!!" then one told me... "NO, the actor!" "huh...don't know that actor!"... But for sure, ALOT of French LOVE jerry lee lewis, and that's the reason why I called my cat Lewis! meow!

Long Live P & G !!!
This was Great to find out that P & G moved & lives on !!!
I remember when you wrote about this bar closing when you where doing TMWS !!!
So when is TMWS going to resurrect from the web dead sea of nothingness , I go look at it from time to time , it's like sneaking in an abandon building , with old stories left on the floor gathering dust .
TO : Marty

@Jason: Thanks! Maybe someday it'll be revived, just like the P & G!

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@365 : Hey Marty if you win the lotto you should fly yourself down under. Do the crawl for a week down here! I'm sure Brooksy, Fitzy and myself could show you around a few watering holes.

@Any NY crawlers....we'll have to have a NY summit in November. I'll be the guy with the funny accent in the purple upside down beer shirt (freezing my ass off).
any way...it's saturday morning, I'm hungover and I've gotta go and donate 10 hours of my day to chargrilling steaks (thats Broiling to you U.S folk).

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clack Downunder

i sorta remember visiting the "old" p&g on a cold nov morn way back when and the place was packed...i think it was a good time...the "new" p&g looks to be the place to be...long live p&g...way off topic in a way...i had a dream about the 365 calender—which we have not heard about in awhile—...some might say a nightmare...anywho why just one calender ...there could be a beefcake calender on the 365 crawl —patrons and barkeeps—for the females, a cheesecake calender on the 365 crawl—patrons and barkeeps—for the males, darkest bar calender on the 365 crawl—for vampire crawlers, brightest bars calender on the 365 crawl—for crawlers afraid of the dark, the top 12 bars calender on the 365 crawl—voted in by crawlers, the great tin ceilings calender on the 365 crawl—once again voted in by crawlers, the worst bar calender on the 365 crawl—once again voted in by crawlers, crawlers wearing 365 apparel calender on the 365 crawl—once again voted in by crawlers, and best wood calender on the 365 crawl—a weighted vote 50% kari 50% crawlers...i'm not sure but the little Pakistani sock dealer might have wondered into this rem...KOC


August 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@Tim Clack: Fantastic idea and I just bought my tickets! If I win, I'll be flying to Oz land and I will be buying all the drinks for my Aussie mates!

@rr: That goddamn sock dealer is everywhere! Love and live the dream!

August 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

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