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« Saturday, August 28th, 2010—Bar 230 | Main | Thursday, August 26th, 2010—Bar 228 »

Friday, August 27th, 2010—Bar 229

Day 229—Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Holland Cocktail Lounge

Okay, last night sucked ass, so hopefully tonight will be better. I don’t want to have two loser nights in a row, so tonight I’m picking a ringer. Commentator Al Rizo has never steered me wrong on quality, dark, New York, old school bars. Last week he suggested Milano’s which was a winner I went to the other night and he also recommended The Holland Cocktail Lounge. I walked by this bar the other night and it looked perfect. It’s small, dark and has been on the block forever, so let’s prepare to rebound from last night’s disaster.

The signs make it clear: You're at a bar when you enter the Holland Cocktail Lounge.

Okay, now this feels like home! Another great suggestion from Al.

Bartender Steve is a friendly and hospitable host, but he's got a bat, so I behaved myself in this joint.

John was enjoying a drink at the bar and didn't know how to spell "culottes." I happily spelled it out for him and he was somewhat frightened of my obsession on the subject, as he rightfully should have been.

After the spelling lesson, Steve took this photo of me with the wonderful Holland sign blazing in the background.

And speaking of the sign, here it is in all its glory. It's the original sign from when the Holland bar was located in the Holland Welfare Hotel on 42nd Street. The bar was originally opened in 1927.

Another shot of the glorious sign with Steve underneath. Steve has been a bartender in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood for over 22 years.

Interesting picutres, art and newspaper clippings decorate the walls within the Holland Cocktail Lounge.

Here's some of the news clippings.

Any place that has a picture of Eddie Munster on the wall is A-OK in my book.

The ashes of former bartender and regular Charlie O'Connor are in this urn that rests in the Holland signage.

Here's Steve with a Daily News article about Charlie's ashes in the bar. Cheers to Charlie!

Here's regulars Don and Bill at the bar with John.

Don had a list of notable bars to visit he had copied from a book. I've been to most of them, but will check out the one's I've missed in the future.

A shot of Marilyn Monroe hangs next to the bathroom.

A shot of the bar from the far end of the back of the place.

The cash register is a vintage beauty.

The table up in the front is a great spot to have a drink or five and enjoy the people watching on Ninth Avenue.

And a final glance out the window and I'm on my way home. Goodnight, everybody!

The wonderfully tacky orange banners that hang over the building say it all in beautiful bold capital letters: BAR. That’s what the Holiday Cocktail Lounge is, a bar. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. The bar was originally housed in the Holland Welfare Hotel on 42nd Street and moved to this location in 1988. Jazz musician Dexter Gordon lived in the Holland Hotel and was known to amble into the bar in his pajamas and drink his breakfast. These days the older regulars shuffle in at 8am and watch movies on the TV while sipping their am drinks. The original Holiday neon sign hangs gloriously over the small, shotgun spaced bar and select news clippings and artwork decorate the walls. There’s friendly bartenders and groups of regulars change with every passing hour.

The Holland Cocktail Loune has a full bar the drinking is cheap here. It’s a beer and a shot place so don’t expect any fancy cocktail offerings. There’s no food, but there is a 2 Brothers pizza joint on the corner and you’re welcome to bring in a dollar slice to sop up some of the suds. It’s the perfect bar food for this historical Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood joint. Cheers!

Holland Cocktail Lounge
532 Ninth Ave. (Near 39th St.)

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Reader Comments (24)

Great choice. One of the few real Hell's Kitchen bars left.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFat Al

Great rebound from last night! Love the Eddie Munster photo and the best bar sign yet! Also, great choice for a song! Love that Beach Boys tune from Holland, how appropriate!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

Yeah,,,a real bar here, you know how little it takes to make a great bar. No frills, cheap booze, good amount of regulars and dim lights, that is Holland. I guess you know about the owner, Mr Kelly having that dispute with the landlord which resulted in the closing and gutting of the Holland for a while and then the landlord came to his senses and re-leased it back to Kelly for a much better rate. Maybe thats why I see a new drop ceiling in there,,,wish they would of gone with tin,,,,,,thanks Marty great job. Cheers to Holland Bar, can't keep a great bar down.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@Al: Long Live the Holland Bar! Thanks for the suggestion, another winner!

August 27, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

The orange sign out front reminds me of those generic beer cans that were popular in the eighties...you know, the ones with the word "BEER" on them on a white or yellow background and nothing else. For the nostalgic among you, you can see these beer cans in the movie 'Repo Man' when Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton walk into a liquor store during a hold up and Stanton says; "I don't like it, it's too quiet in here". The inside of the Holland looks great, with another history lesson virtually every where you look right on the walls. Great place to toss back a few tall cool ones while you absorb some significant Hell's Kitchen history.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

@Jaws: "Repo Man" is one of the greats, just like the Holland Bar.

August 27, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Great quotes from 'Repo Man'; "I know I like to watch my buddies fuck...don't you?"
"Ordinary people...I hate 'em. Ordinary people spend their lives
avoiding tense situations, Repo Man spends his life getting IN
to tense situations!"
"Nice friends you have there, Otto." " Thanks...I made them myself."
" Did you eat a lot of acid, Miller? Y'know, back in the hippie days?"
Alot of great cosmic truth and words to live by revealed in that film!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

I thought Holland was a country with beautiful women! where are the beautiful women???????

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

What a very cool looking place!!

It looks like a good time was had by all! Great job Marty!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

cheese! Culottes in US are not sexy at all !!!!!! is all the french words you use in your language look as well? LOL in France culottes are more like that !!!!

Excellent bar! I would like it allot! but where are the beautiful tall, blond, cute ass hollandaise girls?

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZioum Zioum The Chainsaw

@Gidget and Zioum Zioun: All the beautiful Holland girls are in the country of Holland. At this Holland the only thing beautiful is the cheap booze and the picture of Eddie Munster on the wall.

@Jaws: Great quotes from "Repo Man!" Did you know ex-Mpnkee Mike Nesmith produced that movie?

August 27, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Great rebound from last night! Love the sign inside.


August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandeep

@ Marty; Yes, I know Mike Nesmith produced it, and they actually had a real life repo man as a technical consultant for the film. You know from my books that 'truth is stranger than fiction' is something of a recurring theme for me, and the beauty of Repo Man, is it's just weird enough to be believable as far as I'm concerned!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

the holland sign behind the bar is fantastic! like its christmas every day in there. and eddie munster on the wall! LOL!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

I lived most of my life in hells kitchen ( My brother got the apartment in 1977 & then I took it in 1984 ) & that Bar always gave me the creeps , but then when I knew about that Bar it was a long time ago when from 36 St and 9Th Ave to 42nd St Port authority on 9Th Ave , there was allot of homeless Crack heads , dirty crack whores & it was dangerous at night , in fact if your standing out side of this Bar & look to your left at 37 St & 9TH Ave the buildings still look like they are abandon , but have been renovated to some what . Those buildings back in the days where abandon & most likely crack house's & the neighbors labeled it junkie block , but all has been cleaned up & it much safer at night , so maybe I should finally check it out .
So Marty Thanks for taking the creepiness away from that Bar for Me .

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang


August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff


August 27, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@Jason: Funny in 1984 I was still in the balls of my dad ready to go penetrate my mom's ovum ! Have you ever thought at the time that you would marry a spermazioumoïd coming right from a pair of balls?? HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZioum Zioum The Chainsaw

now...(the only time)....whew i lost it ...went right by...now...gone again...well gave it my best shot...KOC


August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@365: Welcome back to the dank! I love the urn on the sign. That will be my final request in my will...there will be a sticker on my urn that says "store in a cool, dry place".
What is the beer range here? Do they have Draughts or just bottles?

I just watched Alice this morning as well as a few of the links. Cool stuff. I've seen Alioce live 3 times now in my home town and he's like a vintage wine that gets better and heavier with age.

I'll take a photo of where I work and the burger so you can put it up tomorrow or have it ready for Cheeseburger Saturday....it's your site so it's your call.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clack Downunder

@Tim Clack: Beers are four bucks a bottle, I think drafts might be three bucks. A friend of mine met Alice Cooper once and said he's a real nice guy. I'll be looking forward to getting the photo!

August 27, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@365: The photos have been sent. I've given them a 365 running commentary for your amusement.

August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clack Downunder

@Tim Clack: They're great! I'll put them up in Sunday's post!

August 28, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

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