Showing posts with label Ninth Avenue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ninth Avenue. Show all posts

Friday, December 11, 2009

Drinking near the Port Authority: All is well at Port 41 and the Holland, but here comes Heartland Brewery

You may have seen the signs (warnings?) that Heartland Brewery is opening an outpost at Port Authority. No need for anymore bland around here.

Anyway, noticed that signage on my way over to Port 41, on 41st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, the other afternoon.

(Photo of the bartenders via Midtown Lunch)

Things here remain the same... No, wait. Those sticky red booths have been replaced by new tables and chairs...Or maybe I just didn't notice last time...

In any event, always a jumpy little crowd during the day, from glum commuters to the blitzed office types who never returned from lunch to the construction workers taking advantage of the bucket-of-beer-special -- by themselves. Always the chance for a black eye, of course. Like that one guy. Like maybe don't engage that guy who keeps yelling "YOU ARE THE SHIT" in a conversation. You know, no matter what you say, the response is "YOU ARE THE SHIT."

Oh, and remember to call Prince -- because, as the sign in the men's room reads, this is real...

The folks behind Port 41 also own Dave's, on Ninth Avenue almost at 42nd Street... I'll save the discussion about grand ol' Dave's for another day...

Down the avenue, things also remain the same at the Holland... I worried that the overhaul that shuttered the place for three agonizingly long months (November 2008-February 2009) would strip the place of its character...Not the case...

It took a few months, but the Holland finally has that lived-in feel to it again...It helps that the same crowd has seemingly returned ... it's still the kind of place in which you can see your future.

At 508 Ninth Ave., just past 39th Street, the Door, a rather sketchy hookah joint, has closed.... (and what was this before?)

Maybe I never went here. I hope not.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

At the Holland Bar yesterday afternoon

Uh, still not open yet. And the gate was down.

On Tuesday, the Times ran a feature saying the Ninth Avenue dive might be open as soon as the next day! Seemed awfully optimistic, especially given the state of the place that I saw the previous week. At that time, two weeks even seemed like a stretch to for the bar to reopen.

In any event, the place will be open again...just don't know when for sure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Holland Bar may be open as soon as tomorrow! (Though you may not recognize much)

As we reported last week, the Holland Bar is set to reopen...very soon. The Times follows up today with confirmation the old joint on Ninth Avenue may be up and running by tomorrow. Golly. The Times talks with the bar's owner, Gary Kelly:

[L]ast summer the Holland became one of those typical New York institutions: the beloved local haunt forced to shut down. According to Mr. Kelly, who has owned the bar since 1998, the landlord refused to renew the lease in the hopes that he could make more money converting the building for residential use or selling it off. But such plans apparently did not work out, and the landlord offered Mr. Kelly his old space back starting Jan. 1, albeit at a 20 percent increase in the rent. Now the Holland is scheduled to reopen its taps as soon as Wednesday.

But will we recognize the place?

Although the location will be familiar to patrons, Mr. Kelly still had to start practically from scratch in recreating the place. Since the Holland closed its doors, the bar had been destroyed, the plumbing had been removed, the floor had been ripped out.

And much of the physical record of the bar’s history that had been pasted to its walls — the photographs of customers who had died years before, the posters for shows at the dear, departed CBGB — is gone, too.

Hmm, still, I'll take it. So the Holiday is back...The Emerald Inn won't have to close...and Frankie and Johnnie's will live...

For further reading:
Holland Bar (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY)
Brightening Light at the End of the Holland Tunnel (Lost City)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Credible-enough sources: The Holland Bar is reopening (soon, probably, too)

Walked by the now-closed Holland Bar on Ninth Avenue yesterday. Where did we leave off? Quick back-story: Jeremiah reported in November (on Election Day!) that the Holland was closing, possibly for good. Then came some follow-up news from Brooks at Lost City that the place was just getting a facelift...I happened by the place myself Nov. 14 and found the place suspiciously gutted.

So! Yesterday!

There is some activity going on inside...Not much to see. Some sawhorses. A few ladders. Power tools. A space heater. No furniture. No bar. Nothing. But!

The sign is still on the wall. And! The fellow at East West Grocery right next door emphatically told me the Hollard was reopening -- "in two weeks." Really? "Yes, it is reopening." After that, I stood out front and waited for the lone construction worker inside to emerge from behind the half-closed gate. The conversation went something like this:

Is the bar reopening?


Do you know when it will reopen?


Maybe in two weeks?

[Nervous laughter] "I don't know."

Looks like you still have a lot of work to do.

[Nervous laughter]

In any event, seems like a good sign that the, uh, Bar sign is still outside...and the neon Holland is still inside. Shall we all go back in two weeks?

Here's a little taste of the old Holland and Ernie the bartender from the Times, circa August 1987:

[I]nside the Holland Bar, they find small legends hanging like the smoke in the stale blue air.

Ronnie loved his unattainable Laura so much that he played "Tell Laura I Love Her" time after time after time -- $15 worth a night -- until, by resounding vote of the paying customers, the tune was banned from the jukebox forever.

Big Pete, 6 foot 6 inches and 400 pounds, downed 72 White Castles, on Aug. 24, 1983, according to a faded sign on the wall.

Larry the meatman used to set up shop and sell steaks at the bar until he forgot to tip Ernie once too often.

Ernie once talked a drag queen into dressing up as a clown and dancing on the street. It's not clear whether it was to attract business or drive it away.

Assembled on the bar stools the other day were a loquacious blond hooker; a cadre of postal workers from the post office across the street, a radio executive in a conservative suit; a Panamanian immigrant nursing his 15th cerveza, and Mario celebrating his release from jail with crisp white wine.

There was also a 53-year-old man who shoplifts to order -- just tell him what you need and get a 50 percent discount, "Bras, panties, whatever you want."

A few stools down, a tourist from Honolulu was back for his third day. "I just sort of stumbled in," he said.

[Holland Bar sign photo via Shanna Ravindra, New York magazine]

Oh, España en Llamas, I didn't get to say goodbye

On my way back from the Holland, I turned left on 36th Street off Ninth Avenue. I guess I didn't realize this place had closed. Hadn't been inside España en Llamas in a few years. I usually stuck with the Holland or the Bellevue in these parts. Too bad. I liked this place. Last time I was there, a drunken fellow tried to pick a fight with me for no reason. A few beers later, he had his arm around me. Friends, for no reason.

New York Press did a proper piece on the place back in May 2006. (No byline on it -- Joshua Bernstein's work? Updated: Yes, Josh wrote this...had confirmation.) This is about as accurate as you can be in describing the place:

At the western end, there's a signless storefront with a door falling off its hinge. It's beyond nondescript, a spot that could house a numbers hall or an ersatz squat. The storefront's smudged window, though, contains the key clue: a neon Budweiser sign nearly as old as neon.

That's the type of bar where you can disappear,” a stranger said one day, motioning to the sign.

At the time, my roommate was ambling behind said gentleman. Words piqued ears, and I was later relayed the story.

“No one will ever find you,” he said. “It's like falling off the face of the earth.”


In the darkened rear room, which is stocked with mountains of Budweiser cases, construction workers gather 'round a video-poker machine. A middle-aged couple sits beside them, tongue-kissing. Are they adulterers? Who knows. Who will find out?

Hmm. Damn. Hate to see places like this go. Oh, it did seem as if something was happening inside, like some construction, though I didn't spot any permits. Never struck me as the place that would close for renovations, though.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happening by the Holland

Since Jeremiah broke the news on Nov. 4 that the Holland may be gone for good, there has been plenty of chitchat among my circle of friends about the bar. Meanwhile, Brooks paid a visit to the getting-gutted bar and passed along some possibly good news that the Holland may reopen in the new year. By pure randomness, I happened to be by the ass-end of Port Authority Friday after work. I walked by the Holland on Ninth Avenue. It wasn't pretty.

Three workers were carrying crap out of the Holland basement and tossing it into the dumpster. Nothing was left inside the space where the bar was. And the workers didn't seem all that pleased that I was nosing around.