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Entries in Greenwich Village (9)


Tuesday, December 21st, 2010—Bar 345

Day 345—Monday, December 20th, 2010

I’m near the end of this journey and I just got a Christmas donation from the 365 Canadian correspondent, Lex. She sent in a generous donation of fifty dollars. In case you weren’t following the blog, Lex was in town last September with her in-laws, Mary Ann and Morley and they joined the bar crawl when we went to Hurley’s. And Lex not only sent in a nice donation, she sent me pictures from when she was at when she and her family were on vacation in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Lex sent in some photos of a bar she got trashed in nightly visited a few times. The photos are down below in the bonus section following the review. Thanks for the donation and photos, Lex, have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Okay, on to the bar crawl.
I’ve been meaning to go to Julius’ bar for awhile now, and since there’s just 21 days, I’ve decided I better go tonight, before this thing is over. Julius' is important to Manhattan’s rich bar history because it’s the oldest bar in Greenwich Village and it’s also the oldest gay bar in the city. The bar has been in operation since 1864. According to their website, the bar started getting a gay crowd in the ‘50’s and in 1966, four activists staged a “sip in” at Julius’ to challenge the NYS Liquor Authority’s regulation that prohibited bars and restaurants from serving homosexuals. From what I’ve read, this place is not only New York’s oldest gay bar, it also sounds like a classic dive bar. Let’s go dive in to Julius’.

Here we are, it looks nice and dark inside, let's go check out Julius'.

It's late on a Monday night, so there's plenty of seats at the well-worn, long wooden bar. Let's settle in.

And Scott, the friendly and hospitable bartender quickly serves up an ice-cold beer.

Cheers from the 345th bar. Only 20 more to go!

A shot of the lit-up bottles behind the bar.

There's circular wooden tables opposite the bar, with a nice view of the street outside.

The vintage cash register is adorned with some Christmas ornaments and decorations.

Here's Greg with a dancing doll. We named the doll, Santa Julius.

Vintage photos line the dark, wooden walls. Walter Winchell tells you why to go to Julius'.

There's a brass dachsund foot rail beneath the bar to rest your dogs on.

David was seated at the end of the bar. When he found out my hometown is Peoria, Illinois, he told me he was stationed in nearby Champaign, Illinois for year when he was in the air force.

Vintage horse photos hang atop the festive, lit-up bar.

Here's the kitchen that stands opposite the bar where the legendary Julius burgers are made.

Karen was the chef on duty for the evening and we had a nice talk about the whole 365 journey.

They have a great jukebox here stocked with everything from Barbara Streisand to the Animals to Liza with a "Z", to my favorite, Joan Jett.

Single antique lamps hang overhead and illuminate the bar.

A long shot of the etched wooden bar.

Thomas was seated next to me and raised his glass for the 365 camera.

For five dollars you can buy your very own Julius shot glass, which I did, and then I had Scott pour some whiskey in it for my nightcap.

One final glance out the window and it's time to hit the road. Goodnight, everybody!

Julius’ is a true dive bar. A gay dive bar, but as far as dives go, this fits the bill. It’s dark and the long, well-worn wooden bar has been there since prohibition ended and is carved with initials and memories from days gone by. Dim antique lights illuminate the bar and there’s circular woodend tables and chairs opposite the bar. The walls are lined with black and white photos and old reviews of Julius’.

There’s a full bar at Julius’ and you won't have to go on payday to enjoy a few drinks in here. Everything’s inexpensive and there’s a generous happy hour from 4pm to 9pm with half-price beers and well drinks. Sunday is the day that they have an all day beer blast with half-priced beer all day long. There’s not a huge selection of food here, but they’re known for their hamburgers which are just five bucks. There’s also hot dogs, grilled cheese, french fries, onion rings and assorted sandwiches to be had from the kitchen which operates directly across from the bar.

If you’re looking for a slice of New York history, go have a drink at Julius’. It’s a gay scene, but you’ll enjoy it if you’re straight, slightly curved or even a hexagon. It’s a friendly place filled with nice people and it’s a true New York City landmark.

Further reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Edmund White in New York magazine, Julius’ Wikipedia entry.

159 W. 10th St. (@Waverly Pl.)


Bonus Lex Photos!
As noted above our Canadian correspondent Lex, sent in some photos from The Village Idiot tavern in Revelstoke, British Columbia and here they are, take it away, Lex!
Bartenders Adam and Kaylee serve up some mean local brews.
The local brew, before and after!
The menu? Hilarious! as funny as a good comedy show. The food? Well let's just say that we all look like we're about 7 months pregnant!

Bonus Reader Photo!
Last week Jaws sent in a photo of himself and challenged other 365 readers to do the same. They haven’t exactly been flying in, so I was pleased when I got an email from Guilherme Stecher all the way from Brazil. Here’s what he had to say:

Hey Marty,

Following Jaws idea, I'm sending a photo from a Brazillian fan. I don't do many comments, but I pass through your blog every day.

Cheers from Brazil, and have a Rock'n'Roll X-mas.

Guilherme Stecher.

Thanks, Guilherme! Merry Christmas to you and yours in Brazil. And here’s his photo:


Well, as well as Fat Al Liked that Joan Jett video, why not play another. Oh, Joan...

And what the fuck, why not announce my complete love for Joan Jett. You are the total rock star!


Monday, December 13th, 2010—Bar 337

Day 337—Sunday, December 12th, 2010
Gene's Restaurant

The donation bell has rung and it couldn’t come at a better time, seeing that I’m in the home stretch. Kari Von Wagner who’s a daily commentator here and has her own blog called, Leaf Girl sent in a more than generous donation of thirty dollars! The stated purpose on the PayPal receipt was, “To help get through those last 30!” Thank you so much for the donation, Kari and for all of your nice comments, it’s nice to have you as part of the 365 group!

It’s rainy and kind of rotten outside and I was trying to think of a place that’s not too far from where I live to go out for my Sunday dinner.
Then I remembered that at last night’s dinner, Karen told me about the bar at Gene’s Restaurant, which is a place I’ve passed many times, but I’ve never stopped in. She said that the bar there is very old school and very nice. Her and Jon picked last night’s bar and that was a winner, so let’s go check out the bar at Gene’s restaurant.

Wow, what a rainy and rotten night it is out here.

Luckily, Gene's is only five blocks away.

See, we're here already, let's go inside and get out of the rain.

And look at that, a seat at the bar, front and center.

And friendly bartender Frank pours the first beer of the evening. Frank's a veteran at Gene's, he's worked here for over 12 years.

A full shot of the dark, wooden bar.

Here's a view from the other end of the bar.

And seated at the bar is the owner, Danny. He was very supportive of the 365 idea and told me to feel free to take as many pictures as I liked.

Liv is a regular at the bar and restaurant and told me she's been coming here for years.

An original painting of the bar and restaurant done by artist, Armondo Dellasanta hangs on the wall up front.

As does an article in the NY Times about the restaurant.

The dining room is located at the back, but I'm walking into bars, not dining rooms, so let's go back there.

Aaah, I feel more at home here.

A shot of Frank in action behind the bar.

Another great old cash register.

It's Sunday night, time to order dinner.

The stage is set for the dinner.

I got the prime rib, which is the special on Sunday night.

Frank snapped a shot of me digging in. It comes with a side order of spaghetti and the whole meal was delicious.


After dinner I had another beer and had a nice conversation with Tom at the bar about New York and the whole bar crawl journey.

Glancing out the window I see it's stopped raining, a Christmas miracle!

And it's out the door to walk off dinner and head home. Goodnight, everybody!

Gene’s restaurant has been on the block in Greenwich Village for over 90 years. The bar is located in the front and it’s wooden, small and cozy. The patrons are almost all neighborhood regulars, but they welcome strangers with open arms. The dining room is in the back, complete with white table cloths and old school Italian food and atmosphere.

There’s a full bar available with a decent selection of bottled beers and cocktails. Espresso and cappuccino are available as well. The dinner menu is Italian featuring such dishes as: Linguine In White Clam Sauce; Clams In Green Sauce; Rigatoni Matriciana and Veal Cutlet Parmigiana. Sunday’s they have a prime rib special, which I can personally recommend. And if you still have room after your meal, there’s Italian cheesecake for desert.

Gene's Restaurant
73 W 11th St. (Between 5th and 6th Ave.)


Friday, November 19th, 2010—Bar 313

Day 313—Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Kenny's Castaways

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 framed photo of Joey Ramone who used to come here to see the New York Dolls.

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.

Kenny's Castaways
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!