Day 359—Monday, January 3rd, 2010
Formerly Bill's Gay Nineties
Okay, first things first, a live donation has been made by my friend and co-worker, Dorothy Niemczyk! Dorothy contributed a generous twenty dollars for the last night of the bar crawl and here she is presenting it to me below:
Thanks, so much, Dorothy, that’s very nice of you. And in a work-related message: Your proof is done and on the table in the ink jet room.
Alright, on to the crawl! If memory serves me correctly (and it often does not), Bill’s Gay Nineties Piano Bar was one of my co-pilot Al Rizo’s earlier suggestions. I filed it away and people keep mentioning it to me and I was originally going to meet Paul Scanlon, who we met yesterday at Bill’s, but that didn’t work out so we met at Mumble’s. Well, I’m just about out of days here, so I better get there while the bar crawl is still crawling. Ready, set...crawl!
Here we are, Bill's Gay Nineties, let's go check it out.
Here's Rita, the lovely coat-check woman and hostess. She pointed me to the direction of the bar.
Which is right throught the swinging saloon doors.
It's Monday, so there's plenty of seats at the bar, let's settle in.
And here's beer number one, served up by the friendly and hospitable bartender, Marc.
A shot of the festive bar.
Bob and Tony were holding down the end of the bar and posed for the 365 camera. Cheers, guys!
Vintage photos line the walls in here.
Many of them are old-time sports photos, like these two baseball players.
Here's a wall of antique boxing photos.
And a photo of a horse, of course, of course! Even if that horse isn't the famous Mr. Ed.
A long shot of the dark wooden bar.
The lone chandelier that illuminates and hangs over the bar.
There's tables for dining opposite the bar.
Which is where I found this party enjoying drinks and the ambiance at Bill's. From left: Molly, Carrie, Tony and Ashely.
There's a piano player on duty every night at Bill's, let's go check him out.
It's Elliot Paul and he's quite the entertaining Piano Man. Billy Joel would be proud of this guy!
Here's Elliot in full swing.
And now he's got some of the crowd up on there feet dancing.
It looks more like Friday night than Monday in here.
But, alas it is Monday and I have to hit the road to get my beauty sleep for the last few nights. Here's a parting shot with everyone from the bar. Goodnight, everybody!
In 1924, Bill Hardy opened up Bill's Gay Nineties as a speakeasy and it became a roaring success, housing three floors of rotating entertainment. After prohibition ended, the shutters came off the window and you know longer needed to know the secret word to get in the door. And today the bar pretty much remains the same, which is nice in this era of cookie cutter sports bars that get thrown up and then go out of business just as soon. The bar is classic old school New York from the well worn bar itself to the blue-checked table-clothed tables and chairs opposite and in front. The walls are lined with vintage photos from the past and you could spend the evening perusing them and not see every thing in one night. It’s a true classic New York bar in here.
They have a full bar at Bill’s with friendly and expert bartenders who can handle any drink selection you throw at them. Bill’s has a lunch and dinner menu and the kitchen is open till 11:30pm. All entrees are served with a potato and vegetable and here’s a few selections from the menu: Pan Seared Maryland Crab Cakes; Broiled Filet of North Atlantic Salmon; Shrimp Scampi sautéed with Garlic and White Wine and Bill’s New York Strip Steak.
Bill’s is one of the last original piano bars in town and there’s three pianists on duty Monday through Saturday. The piano gets fired up around eight o’clock at night. Feel free to request a tune, and while you would think that “Free Bird” isn’t in their repertoire, request away, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Bill's Gay Nineties
57 E. 54th St (Near Madison Ave.)
Mucho Thanks as always to my Co-Pilot, Al Rizo for suggesting this place months ago!
Bonus Photos From Clacky’s Bunt Custer's Bar!
Our friend and commentator Tim “Clacky” Clack in Australia has opened his own bar in his backyard and sent in some photos from the opening party. Here’s part one of the photos from the celebrations from his bar, fondly known as “Bunt Custer’s.” Take it away Clacky!
Opening day at Bunt Custer's, Maryville, Newcastle.
The Cliff Richard "Wired for Sound" memorial corner...Is Cliff even dead?
Party ready to go!
Shan does first drinks. Margarita time!
This happy chap is Dr. Nay Field. Doctor, beer drinker and co-builder of the Bunt Custer's Bar.
Things got lively when Gerant rocked up in a dress and Nay put on a Mexican wrestling mask.
Hey it's a 365 salute all the way from Australia! (keep in mind Shots of tequila had begun buy this point.)
Thanks for the photos Clacky, stay tuned for Part II, tomorrow!