Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The last bastion



Since learning the Mars Bar will likely close, I've been trolling for Mars Bar photos ... here's a rather sad one on Flickr via.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal checks in with a story today titled Beloved Bars Take Dive. Nothing really new in the piece ... Here's the lead-in, which nicely sums it up:

Even the regulars at Mars Bar were surprised that their beloved hangout — a graffiti-encased dive of an East Village bar that had survived the recent arrivals of a Whole Foods market, luxury condo buildings and trendy restaurants from the likes of Keith McNally and Daniel Boulud — had managed to hang on.

"It's the last place left and now they're taking it away," said Joel Magee, who managed a rotating schedule of artists hired to paint the scrappy bar's murals. "It was inevitable, really. We're all thinking about where we're gonna go, what we're going to do. There is talk about it coming back, but nobody really thinks it can."

12 comments:

Hank's Pound of Spaghetti said...

Sigh

WB said...

The fact that this piece follows one about someone being ticketed by cigar-smoking cops for walking a bicycle on the sidewalk pretty much says it all.

Goggla said...

Glad they mention Joe's Locksmith. I was in there once when a cop came running in from his car, a random key in his hand, and asked, "What does this go to?" Joe (I presume) barely glanced at it and rattled off the make and model of some kind of lock. Amazing.

jason said...

Really people? The only constant in NYC is change. Just because you weren't living here the last time there was a complete transformation doesn't mean this is the end of the world. Look, I don't like the EV being gentrified either, but have you BEEN to Mars Bar. Maybe if someone introduced them to clorox it would have had a few more patrons giving them reason to not go away.

Hank's Pound of Spaghetti said...

The Mars Bar is not closing due to lack of patrons. The entire building is being torn down to create a whopping three units of affordable housing, and there's seemingly nothing the owner can do about it. Read any of the umpteen articles that have been written about this. It's not like someone decided that it would be more lucrative to open a sorbet shop in its stead. There's no end to bland, bleach-clean places you can go. But those of us who like New York lose more every day.

Anonymous said...

Not to be an ass, but how vital was this place really? I'm a long time neighborhood guy, walked by it thousands of times but always too skeeved out to patronize. I understand that people become attached to dive bars, especially when they have managed to stick around long enough to accumulate epic levels of grime and funk, but how many are going to really miss this place? I would guess that people are attached to the *idea* of places like Mars Bar. If the soul and character of the east village is places like Mars Bar ("daycare for drunks")...that's not a whole lot to build a culture upon I'm afraid.

Again, don't mean to inflame and maybe its that I'm clueless about drinking traditions, camaraderie, bonhomie and culture and what not, but to me Mars Bar is just another hangout for people who like to booze. To me it seems that new york people tend to ascribe way too much significance to derelict watering holes like these. Maybe Mars Bar had its unique charms but there are a hundred other places in the immediate area where you can get the exact same alcohol and listen to the same tunes. It pains me far more to see vital businesses like laundromats and hardware stores going the way of the dodo.

Jeremiah Moss said...

last bastion is right. good find.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Anonymous 3:20pm: Stop in and take a look at the jukebox in there. You won't find most of those tunes anywhere else. How could you walk by the Mars Bar and NOT want to check it out? A bar isn't about the booze behind it, it's about the people in front of it.

Claribel said...

Marty would know. Love your blog, Marty!

Marty Wombacher said...

@Claribel: Thank you so much! I appreciate you stopping by!

BaHa said...

Another hangout for people who like to booze? Ever hear of a concept called the third place? Means a place where people meet, neither home nor work, to socialize. And I don't mean a coffee joint with a bunch of glazed-eyeds staring at their individual laptop screens.

Anonymous said...

I gotta give props to the locksmith guy. He once made me a copy of one of those "do not duplicate" keys.