Day 339—Monday, December 14th, 2010
Café Loup/Mars Bar (Originally headed for Spain Restaurant)
Today was one of those magical days. A last minute day off from work. Working full time and doing this bar crawl has left very little in the way of personal time and last night I asked my manager if I could have the night off so I could clear up all this shit and seeing that he’s the very best manager in the entire universe, he agreed. Well, somewhat, I’m kind of on-call in case some big rush job comes in. But usually they’d know about something like that before five o’clock and now it’s closing in on six o’clock. So if they call after six, they’re kind of fucked. Because that’s when I’m opening up my first beer. One of the many things I did today was take a box of coins to the bank and cash them in. It’s the change I’ve collected during this whole bar crawl. I love cashing in change because it’s like getting free money, at least to me. I thought maybe there was a little over a hundred bucks there, but guess what, it was over three hundred bucks! It’s like winning a mini-Lotto. So with this new-found wealth, I thought I’d treat myself to a dinner and I’ve decided to have dinner at the bar at a Spanish restaurant in my neighborhood called, Spain. I’d tell you more, but it just turned six o’clock. Time for a couple cold appetizers before we go. Cheers.
Okay, I've been going to this place since I moved into the neighborhood over 10 years ago. It's not like I'm in here every week, but I go at least a dozen times a year, so I thought it would be a classic night on the bar crawl in here. I usually come here with friends and we get a table, I've never sat at the bar, so I was looking forward to it. Well, I went in sat at the bar and ordered a Sangria. The bartender was an old bald guy and I had seen him in here before. When he brought my drink I gave him a 365 card and told him about the bar crawl and asked if I could take a picture. He didn't hesitate a second before he scowled and started yelling at me that I couldn't bring my advertising in there. I told him I wasn't selling advertising and that I just wanted to write nice things about the place and he told me to leave. I saw a waiter walk by that has waited on me many times and asked why the bartender was being so rude to me and I told him I've been coming here for years. The waiter scowled at me and said, "I've never seen your face before." And he's waited on me many times and I've always gotten good service in there and tipped well. The whole thing kind of flipped me out and I left. I was in a really fucking bad mood, and now I had to find another place to do the bar crawl. And now I'm really not in the mood at all to do this.
It's freezing out, so luckily this place is right next door. Let's check it out.
The hostess was nice and said there was plenty of room at the bar, but it was hard to get back in the bar-crawling mood after being so rudely treated at Spain.
Here's the bar. To tell you the truth, I kind of just feel like going home.
Dien the bartender was a nice guy and served up a bottle of Duvel beer.
Cheers. Okay, I'm still obsessing over those fuckers at Spain. It's one thing if I'm a stranger and a bar nicely tells me that they don't want me taking pictures and doing the 365 thing, it's happened before, but I've been in there a ton of times and they throw me out on my ear after yelling and scowling at me? Fuck, I'm really not in the mood for this now. Oh, the agony of defeat.
I was going to talk to this guy, but he's busy with his Kindle. Fuck it, nothing's working out tonight and my confidence is kind of shaken.
Not even an obligatory bar room mirror shot can perk me up. I feel like I'm letting you down. It's not the Cafe Loup's fault either, I blame those rude people at Spain. What to do when things are going sideways and nothing is fun on the old bar crawl?
Hop in a cab that's bound for...
Mars Bar! This should salvage the night! You can't have a bad time here.
Aaahh, my mood is elevated just walking into here. Everybody always asks me what my favorite bar is and I truthfully answer I don't have one, because I've been to so many great ones. But I always tell them my favorite night was Easter Sunday at the Mars Bar.
One of the cool things about Mars Bar is they champion artists and there's always original art on the walls, along with endless graffiti.
Hooray, my name's still on the cash register! Okay, I'm back in the bar-crawling mood, thanks to Mars Bar!
There's more original art up near the front window.
A view of the bar from where I've settled in.
Just like on Easter, the bartender didn't want her photo taken, but she remembered me and was very friendly and happily took my picture. This is my message to the developers that are going to tear the Mars Bar down.
Erin and Eric who were seated next to me joined in on the flip fest. Fuck you condo people!
I wasn't the only one taking photos of this iconic place.
Here's Jay, Bob and Cindy joining in on telling the building developers to go fuck themselves.
Even Santa loves the Mars Bar.
There's no place like the Mars Bar.
And one last fuck you to everybody who wants to rip this place off the block.
Here's a message I wrote back in April and it's still on the walls. "365 Bars love the Mars Bar!"
Review of Café Loup
I don’t feel qualified to review this place because I was in such a shitty frame of mind after being mind-fucked over at Spain. They were very hospitable and it wasn’t their fault I couldn’t get in a better state of mind. Here’s a review from New York magazine and I highly recommend it. In fact it’s my new go-to spot on the block. See ya Spain, wouldn’t want to be ya!
Chef/owner Lloyd Feit gives West Villagers exactly what they want: A menu that ranges from casual (a superb burger and fries) to cassoulet, an effortlessly suave and spacious dining room, and an always-reliable kitchen. Mr. Feit buys organic as much as possible, and long before the bistro/brasserie craze brought us self-conscious places like Balthazar and Pastis, Café Loup was doing its thing without fanfare or pretense. A no-brainer for lunch or dinner if you're in the neighborhood. — Steven A. Shaw
Sun., noon–3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
105 W. 13th St. (Near Sixth Ave.)
Review of Mars Bar
It’s sad to think the Mars Bar is closing. They claim it’ll be re-opened in two to three years, but even if it is, it’ll never be the same. The good news is the bartender told me that it may be open till summer, if so, I’m going back and buying pizza for everyone on Easter Sunday again. Here’s my review from back then, I still stand by it.
As the Bed Bath And Beyonds and Barnes and Noble “superstores” continue to ruin New York City, thank God for institutions like the Mars Bar. This concrete rectangle of graffiti and art-filled madness is a testament to old school New York artists, free thinking folks and people looking to drink and have a good time. The only Blackberry you’ll find in here is brandy and the only thing close to an iPad is an artist pad that’s passed around the bar where the locals add their original sketches.
You’ll find no TV’s at Mars Bar, but the jukebox is probably the best in the city if not the country. It’s packed with everything from mariachi to cha-cha to Chuck Berry to the Cramps to the Beach Boys and everything in between. And everyone takes turns putting on tunes at Mars Bar, so the music is always flowing along with the endless liquor. The selection isn’t huge here, so have a Budweiser and one of their massive whiskey shots and shut up and enjoy the eccentric and non-judgmental crowd.
There’s no food or kitchen here, but they have a huge pile of menus from neighborhood take-out joints. I suggest you order a pie from Two Boots for the crowd. I did and a good time was had by all! God bless the Mars Bar!
25 E. 1st St. (@Second Ave.)