Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An opportunity to offer Aces & Eights constructive ideas to improve your quality of life in the neighborhood

Tom Michaelsen, the general manager of Aces & Eights on Avenue A, checks in with another comment. Anyone have any constructive comments?

Aces & Eights LES (the LES differentiates us from our other location, FYI) has helped raise enough money to build two wells in the town of Devki, India through an organization called 1Well.

Aces & Eights LES helped raise over $1200 for UNH (United Neighborhood Houses), which is an umbrella organization that presides over the Settlement Houses of New York, a number of which are in the Lower East Side.

Yes, beer pong, that much maligned representation of jockdom and fratholiness you all despise (possibly because you didn’t make the Varsity team in high school? Don't worry, neither did I.) helped make that happen.

Now I know it isn't much. I know we could do more, but I ask, where were you? What were you doing for your community while this "frathole" was giving back?

It is fairly easy to insult me and this establishment. However, I'd prefer to have a conversation. That is why I wrote what I wrote and why I am writing this. I'd love to get ideas from the community as to how we could improve your quality of life. If anybody has anything constructive to say, I would love to hear it. If you just want to insult me and the business keep it to yourself.

I will be at Aces & Eights tonight. It's trivia night. The beer pong tables are converted and people sit and answer questions for prizes. It starts at 9pm. It's good fun. You are all welcome to join. I'll even buy you your first drink if you mention EV Grieve. My name is Tom. I am the one wearing the green t-shirt that says "Douchebag" on it. Seriously.


John Penley, slacktavisg leader/photogrpaher said...

I love beer pong and I hate real estate developers and landlords. I'll be in for my free drink later tonite. I'm homeless and I need a place to live. Can I live in your bar? I'll play beer pong 24-7.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I love how this guy is trying to position his bar as a charitable enterprise. If this place is building wells in India, do you think Super Dive is constructing orphanages in Haiti?

Anonymous said...

This isn't really a moneymaker I imagine but if you really do have so many TVs what about a movienight where you show a great NYC classic like Dog Day Afternoon or Panic in Needle Park or Taxi Driver? Crowdpleasers such as The Warriors or Escape from New York or Ghostbusters?

I've never been to your bar but is there room somewhere where local student filmmakers or other local filmmakers could show their work? It could be in the back and early for friends and supporters and not interfere with the crowds that probably come later.

Tom said...

We are not a charitable enterprise but I believe in giving back when I can.

As far as the filmmaker is concerned, I am a big fan of the arts. We have an upstairs area which has already been used to film a movie by a student filmmaker and raised money for a new production house startup run by 20-somethings.

I would be happy to discuss other opportunities for film and the arts. I am currently in talks with two artists to show their work on our walls upstairs.

Please contact me directly at tom@acesandeightsnyc.com.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

I'm certain that Tom's "upstairs" at Aces and Eights (LES) will soon enough be morphing into a regular reincarnation of the back room at Max's circa 1975, except with beer pong and Alex instead of Andy...

Tom said...

Ok. Ken. That was funny. I literally laughed out loud.

In reality, I think the space would be ideal for B&W photography. I think it would stand out well against the exposed brick.

Marnie said...


As a resident of this neighborhood and a patron of many of the local bars, let me say that I appreciate your efforts to communicate with the community directly affected by your place of business.

I understand that you are not responsible for the type of person who enjoys your bar, nor are you responsible (wholly) for the bartender's inability to cut off every single drinker at the moment he or she should simply stop and go home.

I would gladly take you up on your offer to come and meet you for a drink (Douchbag shirt notwithstanding) except that as a mother of 2, getting out on weeknights isn't always that easy for me.

Don't let that sway your opinion of me, though. Believe me when I tell you that I feel as at home in a bar with friends as I do parenting my children. And I'm neither afraid of nor unconditionally disgusted by a noisy dive or sports bar.

My concerns about Aces & Eights LES are really, to be honest, not something that I think you alone can address. I appreciate your contributions to charities bringing potable water in places like India. I wonder, however, if your charitable contributions might not win you more respect if they were spent here in the neighborhood.

This neighborhood has many public schools which do not receive adequate funding, and therefore rely on the contributions of parents and local businesses.

Another thing we, as parents, need to deal with on a regular basis is not only the noise from local bars (which frankly, my children have learned to sleep through since birth) but the aftermath. The people urinating in doorways, the vomit on sidewalks, the garbage, the stench in the summertime.

I think if you could find a way to direct your efforts towards making real changes to the daily life of local residents we would all be a lot more tolerant of the noise and the general image of the bar itself.

Thank you for listening to those whose lives are impacted by your livelihood.


Eden Bee said...

I was about to crack a joke about doing a KEG STAND but after that last comment it wouldn't seem very funny. Penley really does need a place to live-he's not joking!

Tom said...


Your comment was well written, heartfelt and 100% legitimate.

We have actually already partnered with United Neighborhood House Junior Board, which support local settlement houses like Third Street Music School, University Settlement Society and Henry Street Settlement.

The event was quite a success and I am fully open to working with them or any other charities which benefit the community again.

Community consciousness is something I take very seriously. I understand that drunkards make your life miserable and I will do what I can to stem the tide of urine and vomit from our neighbor's doorsteps.

Anonymous said...


I live around the corner from Aces & Eights, and when it first opened there was an issue with really loud HVAC equipment up on your roof. One of our residents was brave enough to march right in to your club and tell you about it. And you know what? The issue was taken care of, and the noise issue went away. I give you credit - that's not what we all expected to happen. thanks for being a good neighbor.

Anonymous said...

What Marnie said...

"This neighborhood has many public schools which do not receive adequate funding, and therefore rely on the contributions of parents and local businesses. "

Helping the neighborhood schools is one of the very best ways to win over hearts and minds (and, oddly, help business at the same time.) As you probably know, quite a few places (yeah, places with kids or friends with kids in the schools) have figured this out--DBA hosts events for the Earth School, Two Boots donates all the time, Juilep hosted various events, Vesulka's always helpful, and so on, and so on.

Usually, the head of the parents association is the right contact but it's absolutely worth contacting a principal if you feel strongly about making a commitment. Some businesses think they can help (and generate good feelings and business) by, say, donating a gift certificate to a school auction now and again. That doesn't hurt but it's much better all around to say "If you want to use my space, probably on off hours, let me know and we'll schedule way ahead. I'll cover, oh, the coffee and the parents can do the rest. If you want to hold an auction, or a benefit, or a student function, from, say, 10am to 3pm on a weekend that would work." You'll get your name on a huge poster--probably a very nice poster--that will be up in the 'hood for months and you will show the parents/kids/teachers that you give a shit about the community. Our neighborhood schools--East Village Community School, Children's Workshop, Neighborhood School, Earth School, NEST, Tompkins Square Middle School, just to name a few, need all the help, all of the community support, they can get. Every last penny in the school budget, and the parent's association budget, goes to the kids in the end and, hey, the kidz are where it's at.

Tom said...

Anonymous - Re: Kids

I have not yet made inroads with the local PTA but would be happy to do so. Beyond our work with UNH we have dont little to directly impact those in need on a local level. You are right that this should change.

I will make it a mission over the next few weeks to contact local PTA Presidents. Thank you for your suggestions.

If you have any specific people in mind for me to contact, please feel free to email me at: tom@acesandeightsnyc.com