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Saturday
Jan012011

Saturday, January 1st, 2011—Bar 356

Day 356—Friday, December 31st, 2010
Neary’s and The Stoned Crow

So last week I was trying to figure out what to do about New Year’s Eve on the old bar crawl. I’ve always hated New Year’s Eve. To me it’s such a forced holiday and it’s filled with people who usually don’t drink much and for a good reason, they can’t hold their liquor and behave like compete June Taylor Asshats on Parade after about three and a half drinks. I usually buy a shitload of beer, lock my door and watch the Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel and just ignore the whole New Year's Eve hoopla. But this year I have to go out and go to a bar. I decided to go out early and then stop in and have a beer or two at the Stoned Crow and document the last night there with photos. That would be a bit depressing, but it’s something that has to be done. And then in the middle of wondering where to go, this invitation magically appeared in my email inbox from Karen and Jon, the publishers, artists and writers of Grade “A” Fancy:

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Beat the squares – enjoy New Year’s first and in a more exclusive party.
 
New Year’s Eve-ternoon 2010
 
Friday, December 31st
 
We’ll meet for lunch at 1:00 at Neary’s  358 East 57th Street SW corner of 1st Avenue.
Don’t forget that Neary’s (est. 1967) specifies “proper attire required” – and they mean it, man.  That generally means “look nice,” – jackets for the men are good but not essential.  No blue jeans or sneakers.  Anyways, it’s New Year’s Eve-ternoon, dontcha wanna look smashing?


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Well, now, that was easy, problem solved! I just have to dust off my suit and tie from last February’s Superbowl Sunday and it’s off to Neary’s we go.

Okay, lunch is at 1pm, but I'm here a little bit before noon to get the bar crawl photos done before everyone arrives.

Proper Attire is required at Neary's. And I'm properly dressed, so let's enter this fine establishment.

And look at this, it's so early, I've got the run of the bar. Now this is my kind of New Year's Eve!

And here's Tommy, the friendly bartender who happily pours me one of the last beers of 2010.

I don't know if this is the original cash register from that magical year of 1967 when they opened, but I'd like to think it is.

Some of the lit-up bottles behind the bar.

A long-shot of the highly-polished, dark wooden bar.

Here's the majestic dining room, all done up for the holiday season. Let's go see who that is folding napkins at the end of the room.

It's the lovely and beautiful Liz! Liz has been a waitress here for 44 years and I'm lucky enough that she agreed to pose for a photo with me.

There's lots of pictures hanging on the front wall opposite the bar.

Kathie Lee Gifford can't believe she said that and moments later I can't believe I took a photo of that. Kind of a Regis moment for me.

There's lots of Mary Higgins Clark book covers on the walls. She's a regular at the restaurant and Jimmy Neary, the owner of Neary's is a recurring character in her books.

Above the front window is this poignant and breath-taking scene of JFK praying to a sideways choking sign. I'm a little verklempt now, how about you?

Meanwhile, back at the bar, Tommy's holding the bar down.

And down at the end of the bar, Lewis and Margaret are enjoying a New Year's Eve drink. Lewis is a writer and you can read all about his work right here at his website: Lewis Hardee.

Uh, oh, it's almost 1pm, time to pay up and...

Enjoy the fine New Year's Eve luncheon arranged by Karen and Jon. Here we are, take one.

And take two with me getting a little goofy.

Here's some of the New Year's Eve specials on the menu. I opted for the Shepherd's Pie and it was delicious.

I took a quick few panoramic shots of lunch.

The food was wonderful and the conversation was lively and ran the gamut from fanzines to drugs to punk rock to painting Hitler moustaches on a picture of a certain past President and Vice President.

A splendid time was had by all and I thank Karen and Jon for inviting me and introducing me to their wonderful friends.

A glance out the window and it's time to go and say goodbye to the The Stoned Crow and 2010.

And a few hours later, here we are at the last night of the Stoned Crow. I'm not going to bother with captions for the photos. As a spiky-haired singer once sang in a sandpaper, gravel voice: Every picture tells a story.

"I couldn't quote you no Dickens, Shelley or Keats, 'cause it's all been said before. Make the best out of the bad, just laugh it off...HA! You didn't have to come here anyway." (From "Every Picture Tells a Story," written by Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.)

Goodbye, Stoned Crow and goodnight, everybody.

Review
It’s New Year’s Day, so once again I’m going to slack and not write a review, but here’s what Neary’s has to say about itself on their website, take it away, Neary’s!

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Neary's opened o≠n St. Patrick's Day 1967 and proudly remains o≠ne of the most well-known Irish restaurants in New York. The restaurant is often referred to as the "Irish 21." Jimmy Neary, New York's finest host, welcomes everyone in the door with his great Irish smile and charming personality. Each night Jimmy is joined by members of his family and his long-tenured staff to ensure that every customer feels like they are part of the family.

Neary's signature dishes include lamb chops, prime rib of beef, corned beef and cabbage and broiled 1/2 chicken. In addition, there is a fine selection of daily delivered fresh fish.

We look forward to taking care of you and sharing our special home with you.

The Neary Family

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Neary’s
358 E. 57th St. (Near 1st Ave.)
212-751-1434

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Bonus Happy New Year from Jaws!

Jaws just sent in this Happy New Year banner. Thanks, Jaws, Happy New Year to you and everyone out there!

Friday
Dec312010

Friday, December 31st, 2010—Bar 355

Day 355—Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Blarney Stone (on 9th Avenue)

Before I begin, I need to direct all of you to a piece of genius. Karen and Jon at Grade “A” Fancy have outdone themselves with a piece of film that sadly displays some of the sad closures that happened in New York City this year. I’d say more, but it speaks for itself, check it out here: 2010 R.I.P.

Okay, another night, another Blarney bar. I think this is the only Blarney bar I haven’t hit yet...there may be one near Wall Street..aw, at this point who the fuck cares? I’m picking this one, not only because I think it’ll be a good stop, on the bar crawl but because it’s all about location, baby! It’s just a few blocks from where I work and I’m getting out of work early, which is nice because I have to get up early to post this and then do my early New Year’s Eve bar crawl. Wow, that’s a lot of “early’s in one sentence.” Makes me think of Biddy Early’s! Let’s go, I think I’m losing my fucking mind here.

It's 8pm so there's a lot more people out and about than usual. A lot of hustle and bustle and I have to admit to being a fan of neither the hustle or the bustle. But in spite of that, what the hell, let's all do the Hustle! (Do it!)

I told you it was close and here we are.

Okay, it looks like a great spot in here and there's plenty of seats at the bar. Shall we?

Linda's the pretty bartender on duty and she's not only friendly...

She's quick with a beer. Peace, love and suds.

An overhead shot of the bar.

And a longshot from below.

Christmas may be over, but there's still a tree in the window here.

There's a long wooden railing and stools opposite the bar.

Sports pictures hang on the well worn walls of the bar.

At first glance you'd assume this is a Jets bar...

But the Giants sign in the back room by the pool table shows otherwise.

Linda and Gregory pose for the 365 camera in the back room.

A shot of the bar from the other end.

Peanuts!

Here's Luis, a regular at the bar. I had a great conversation with this man with topics ranging from music to books to politics to our current culture and everything in between. One of the best things about this bar crawl is meeting people and having interesting conversations and this was one of the best. Great to meet you, Luis!

Halfway into our conversation, Luis' brother Larry walked into the Blarney Stone. It turns out Larry works security at the Horseshoe Bar, which was the 129th bar on the crawl, along with the BBC. Check it out here.

A parting shot from Luis and I. Cheers and goodnight, everybody!

Review
Okay, as I said in the introduction, I have to get to my bar early today and get it over with before the contingents of meatheads start swarming all over this town. New Year’s Eve is NOT a good night if you’re a seasoned bar crawler. Too many amateurs that don’t know how to drink. The odds of getting vomited on go sky high on this night, so I’m hoping to finish early, come home get a bunch of beer and watch the Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. So I guess what I’m getting around to saying is, I’m going to slack and not write a review. I found this “citizen” review on NY Citysearch and it sums the place up perfectly and it even mentions Linda, check it out.
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(This review is for the Blarney Stone on 9th Ave. and 29th Street. There are several other bars in Manhattan with the same name.) I'm really reluctant to write about this place. If I thought more people would read this, I wouldn't. It's like a fragile glass sculpture. It could so easily be destroyed. As it is, this could be the last place of it's kind south of 125th Street? Wow! A DIVE BAR in the best sense of the word. Nothing faux or pretentious about this place.

Everybody at the bar was our instant friend. The thickly brougued bartendress bought us two pitchers of beer. When we walked in, I said, "this place would be perfect if it weren't for the music being too loud." In ten minutes, Linda, the bartendress came to ask us if there was anything she could get us. "Yeah," I said. "Lower volume." POW! She was at the controls. "Just raise your hand when it's at a good volume," she said. "Excuse me," I didn't, but should have, said. "Are we dead and is this heaven?" The neighborhood is foreboding with NOTHING, but one pizza place and lots of people sleeping on the sidewalk. I hope that's enough to scare off tourists. Once inside, the funkiness, friendliness, and everyone's-a-pal spirit, makes this our best new discovery of the year.
—Drink Club NYC is a roving group of NYC drinkers

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Happy New Year, everybody!

Blarney Stone (on 9th Avenue)
340 9th Ave  
212-502-4656

Thursday
Dec302010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010—Bar 354

Day 354—Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
Jim Brady’s Restaurant

Okay, I’m back in the bar-crawling saddle here in New York. Yesterday I sent in some shots of LaGuardia airport to the fine blog, EV Grieve and he published them here. That led to a bit of an email exchange which resulted in EV Grieve requesting that I check out Jim Brady’s bar and restaurant in the Financial District. I checked out the bar’s website and it looks perfect. And so now, it’s out to the snow we go. Ho, ho, ho.

Okay, once again through the magic of the internet you're spared a subway ride that included me hopping on an uptown 4 train by mistake which sent me to Grand Central Station, so I had to double back and get on a downtown train which took me to the financial district, which I don't know too well. After a half an hour of wandering around, asking directions, I finally found it. Jim Brady's! Let's go inside, I need a drink or four after that journey.

Okay, this looks well-worth the effort to get here, let's snag a seat at the bar.

Joe the friendly bartender serves up a beer. This guy is a quintessential bartender. He knows everyone's names, brings you a beer just as you need one and keeps the bar jumping. There's a lot of regulars here and they all said the same thing, "We come here because of Joe." Cheers to you, Joe!

A view from my perch at the bar.

Adam was seated next to me. He's a firefighter from Washington, DC and this is his first time in New York City. He was waiting for his friend Casie to show up at the bar. Welcome to New York Adam!

Ornate brass light fixtures hover over and illuminate the bar.

A painting of W.C. Fields and Mae West hang behind the bar.

Joe gave me this pamphlet of the St. Baldrick's cancer fundraiser that was founded at Jim Brady's. It's the largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. Check it out further here: St. Baldrick's.

You gotta love the vintage cash register behind the bar.

These guys are all regulars at Jim Brady's. From the left: Ivan, Marc, J.K. and Nash. Cheers, guys!

A shot of the drinks at the bar all lined up like pretty maids all in a row.

In June, 2009 Elvis Costello played a surprise gig here and Joe showed me a picture from it. You can read more about the night here: Elvis Costello at Jim Brady's.

The front of the restaurant features this cozy, square dining nook with red leather banquettes and tables.

One of the walls is a tribute to some of the regulars here who were killed in the World Trade Center on September 11th. Sadly a lot of the bars in this area lost regulars on that day. R.I.P.

Here's the main dining room which sits just opposite the bar.

This painting was done exclusively for the bar over 30 years ago and depicts not only "Diamond Jim" Brady, but all of the people in the painting are people who worked there at the time.

Here's "Diamond Jim" in the painting, getting his drink refilled.

And here's the two owners of Jim Brady's in the painting.

Meanwhile, back at the bar, Joe is in mid-conversation with some patrons. Let's go see who they are.

It's Lacey, Ivan (this guy works both ends of the bar!) and Savage. They informed me it was Lacey night, all night long. I wasn't about to argue.

Frank was enjoying some chicken fingers at the bar. He works upstairs, so you know he's a regular.

And look who showed up at the other end of the bar, Adam's friend Casie. The night has now come full circle.

And so it's time for parting shots. Goodnight, everybody!

Review
The bar/restaurant is named after James Buchanan Brady, a.k.a. “Diamond Jim” Brady. “Diamond JIm” was a wealthy man purported to have a voracious appetite for food and pleasure and was a real man about town in New York at the turn of the century. Jim Brady’s restaurant mirrors the man’s philosophy and has been in operation since 1976. The actual bar itself has plenty of history behind it, since it was imported from the 1960’s hotspot, The Stork Club. The patrons and bartenders are friendly and while this line is over used in bar reviews, it’s a genuine “Cheers” atmosphere in here. Everybody may not know your name when you come in, but they will before you leave. Some may not remember it the next day, but hey, what are you going to do?

There’s a full bar here with a good selection of bottled and draft beers and since “Diamond Jim” was known for his unending appetite, there’s plenty to choose from on the menu. The specialties of the kitchen are: Old Fashioned Shepherd’s Pie, Home Style Chicken Pot Pie and Sausages and Mash with onions and gravy. In addition there’s also burgers, steak sandwiches, seafood and four styles of pasta available.

If Diamond Jim were alive, you know he’d be a regular at this joint. Cheers and thanks to EV Grieve for a great suggestion!

Jim Brady’s Restaurant
75 Maiden Ln.
212-425-1300


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Bonus Photos from Tim Carey!
Last week when I was in town I met with Tim and Colleen Carey who joined me on the bar crawl way back in May of this year. We were joined by our friend Bob Hurst. The three of us used to goof off and avoid doing anything constructive work at Fleming Potter together in Peoria. It was a nice reunion and here’s a couple pictures that Tim sent me from the evening. (And remember, get a Butch’s pizza or ten for your New Year’s Eve party.)

Proof that you just can't take me anywhere. From left: Colleen, Yours Fooly and Bob.

Take two with Tim in Colleen's place and me continuing to be jackass. Great seeing you guys and thanks for sending the pictures, Tim!

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