I went to the Phoenix Friday night for the first time since their new makeover and though the changes aren’t dramatic, it feels like the cast of "Trading Spaces" has been hard at work. Frank, not Hildi.
They took out the Galaga arcade machine and the jukebox — genius move taking control of the music away from the patrons. They painted the front of the bar a sky blue and plastered the walls with all of the clichéd and junky signs the Catskills has to offer. New tables include two milk jugs with a board on top (?) and an old-fashioned sewing machine (??). Gone are the peanut/candy machines and the ledges that held the HX magazines and postcards for gay-related events and such. On the plus side they refinished the floor so it no longer smells like vomit and beer and the pool table is still there.
I wasn’t there long enough to use the loo so I don’t know if they painted over the shark in the bathroom. If they did, I’d be bitter.
The bottom line is that one of the area’s last remaining gay bars has been transformed into a lesbian brunch fantasy that probably should have been left in Cherry Grove or possibly in the dorm room of the Sarah Lawrence fantasy from whence it came. Gone are the blood red walls and dark orange ambient lighting. Here to stay are the finest eBay deals on authentic set pieces from Ted Danson’s personal collection from "Cheers." If ever there were a Jersey Turnpike Bennigans patiently awaiting its passport to the Isle of Lesbos, the new Phoenix is undoubtedly it.
Monday, September 12, 2011
The Phoenix, the gay bar on East 13th Street, is under new ownership. We discussed that here. One of the owners told us that they intended to clean the place up a bit while still catering the the local gay and lesbian community. Earlier in the month, the new owners closed the bar for a few days for some revamping. Phoenix regular Lux Living stopped by the new-look bar and filed this report.