Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Friday, March 19, 2021
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
- Josie's (seen below yesterday), 520 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. (646) 590-0044
- Mona's, 224 Avenue B between 13th Street and 14th Street (212) 353-3780
- Sophie's (seen above last night), 507 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. (212) 228-5680
Monday, March 16, 2020
A look at a darkened Sophie's tonight on Fifth Street ... the bar closed last evening... along with most other city bars tonight after Mayor de Blasio signed an executive order to temporary close nightclubs, movie theaters and concert venues.
The order also limits restaurants, bars and cafes to take-out and delivery. We're working on a list of East Village establishments that will have food available for pick up or delivery.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
[Montage via Kyle de Vre]
Last Tuesday I wrote about a new photo book by Kyle de Vre, an East Village resident who has worked at Sophie's for the past four-and-a-half years.
The book, "See You Next Tuesday," features portraits of patrons seated in the bar. The launch is tonight at 9 at Sophie's, 507 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. Read my interview with Kyle here.
Sadly, Freddy Corea, pictured in middle of the top row, died back in July. He was a longtime regular at the bar and a familiar presence in the neighborhood. I never did hear anything further about his passing. In recent years he had been splitting time between his East Village apartment and his family's place in Puerto Rico.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Kyle de Vre is never without a camera. So it made sense that de Vre, an East Village resident who has worked at Sophie's for the past four-and-a-half years, would put his camera to use while behind the bar.
During his Tuesday afternoon bartending shifts, de Vre started taking portraits of patrons seated in the comfortably worn bar on Fifth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.
The results can be seen in a new photo book, appropriately titled "See You Next Tuesday," which he'll release in a limited edition next Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Sophie's.
As he writes about the project on his website: "All of the subjects positively impact the neighborhood in one way, shape or form. Community is important and these are the types of people that make this neighborhood special."
I asked de Vre a few questions about the book.
What compelled you to start taking photos of patrons from behind the bar?
I had brought my camera to Sophie's a few times over the first two-to-three years that I worked there. I mostly took street photography as well as photos when I travelled. I got a new camera early last year, which was great for taking portraits — something I had never really done before.
So I started taking it into the bar every Tuesday because I knew I would have subjects to shoot. There was just enough light in the bar that I could [take photos] without a tripod or flash on Tuesday afternoons.
At what point did the idea for a book come about?
A friend was on the phone and I just started taking photos of him from behind the bar. Although the images weren't the greatest, the idea and framing were there.
So the next week, [my friend] Kayla came into the bar to chat with someone. I asked her if I could take her photo from behind the bar — more so along the lines of a traditional portrait. I shot four images of her while she drank her gin and tonic. When I saw the photos, it just kind of clicked in my head — why not start taking photos of everyone I know who visits me on Tuesdays.
What is your favorite thing about - or any day — at Sophie's?
The Tuesday day shift was just my first shift at Sophie's. Every day at Sophie's is pretty much any old day at Sophie's — and that's why I like it.
The "See You Next Tuesday" book launch is Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. at Sophie's, 507 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. All photos by Kyle de Vre. Posted with permission.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
[Photo of Count Slima by Walter Wlodarczyk]
Joseph "Count Slima" Williams worked for the Two Boots family for 30-plus years, starting with helping build the original location at 37 Avenue A in 1987.
He has retired from Two Boots ... and now the pizzeria has named a pie in his honor.
Starting today, you can grab a slice of the Count Slima, featuring bacon, andouille meatballs and tasso ham on a thick Sicilian crust...
Man, mutant, legend...Get ready for a whole lotta Count Slima! This special new pie is named in honor of the legendary poet and East Village icon Joseph 'Count Slima' Williams and is the newest addition to our Daily Specials rotation. Grab it on Tuesday at any Two Boots or catch the man himself on the street in the East Village or probably (or definitely!) at the pool table at Sophies! Artwork by @mikerothart #twoboots #pizzapioneers #definitely #CountSlima #pizza #nycpizza #nycfood #art #pizzaart #pizzeria #eastvillage #sophieseastvillage #legend
A post shared by Two Boots Pizza (@twobootspizza) on
Even if you don't see Slima playing pool at Sophie's (on Fifth Street between Aveue A and Avenue B), you can still see his artwork that adorns some of the walls there.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
[Photo via TwoHawksNYC]
Hawk watchers were happy today to see two of Christo and Dora's three offspring successfully fledge today... (thankfully none of that drama like last year.)
One of the kids ended up atop 507 East Fifth St., the building that houses Sophie's just east of Avenue A...
The TwoHawksNYC blog has an account with photos of what happened today right here. And Goggla will have photos soon.
The baby hawks have been nesting 12th floors above Avenue A on the Ageloff Towers between East Third Street and East Fourth Street…
Previously on EV Grieve:
Red-tailed hawks nest on the Christodora House
The hawks of Tompkins Square Park have laid an egg at the Christodora House
More eggsciting hawk news from the Christodora House
Breaking (heh) news: The hawks of Tompkins Square Park are officially parents
Hawk (and egg) watch continues on Avenue A, now with the help of a live webcam
Christo and Dora are parents! (Again!)
Look at the 3-week-old hawklets high above Avenue A
Growing up so quickly above Avenue A
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Sophie's, the bar at 507 E. Fifth St. just east of Avenue A, is closed tonight while a film crew preps the exterior for a scene for the Netflix Marvel series "A.K.A. Jessica Jones."
Sophie's co-owner Richard Corton confirmed this evening's closure to us… in the scene being filmed, a bouncer will apparently 86 the show's lead, a former super hero played by Krysten Ritter, who falls or is pushed into some trash. Will have to wait for the series premiere to find out why.
Friday, February 1, 2013
One day last month, American Songwriter Magazine did a photo shoot at Sophie's with Jeff Bridges for an upcoming feature... a photographer for The New York Times was also there for a feature titled "Nine days on the road with Jeff Bridges."
Bridges was in character as Bad Blake from his Oscar-nominated turn in "Crazy Heart." Here are two of the photos that Peter van Agtmael took for the Sunday Times magazine at Sophie's...
Friday, January 25, 2013
Sophie's in the light snow... on East Fifth Street... where it all began. Photo by Dave on 7th.
And is this snowfall part of Khan? And how many "Wrath of Khan" headlines will this spawn? (Aside from this one...)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Longtime favorite Joe's Bar on East Sixth Street has remained closed since proprietor Joe Vajda died this past Thanksgiving. (Joe's opened in that space in 1973. Joe and two other partners previously had a place across the street.)
There were rumors that several people were looking to take over the space between Avenue A and Avenue B from Joe's domestic partner Dottie.
Richard Corton confirmed that he and his business partner Kirk Marcoe, who own Mona's and Sophie's, have signed a lease and sales contract with Dottie.
Which will all be good news for anyone tired of bars with drinks toting, say, heritage pork-infused artisanal ice cubes and shaved nutmeg. And good news for people who really like the neighborhood aspect of Joe's (and great neighborhood bars like Sophie's and Mona's), something in short supply around here these days. Corton isn't expecting to modify much about Joe's.
"Small changes. Clean up. Maybe, if we feel ambitious, we might redo the wallpaper with exactly the same wallpaper. We love that wallpaper but it is in really bad shape," Corton said via Facebook.
Meanwhile, Corton and Marcoe need to seek the approval of CB3 (they are on April's agenda) and obtain a Letter of No Objection from the DOB. If all goes well, then they plan to open this July.
One last detail.
"Per Dottie's request, we are gonna change the name," Corton said. "Joe's will become Josie's."
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The folks at Sophie's and Mona's passed along the sad news that Markand Thakar, a longtime regular at the bars, died this week. He was 82. We don't have a lot of details at the moment about a service or any possible celebrations of his life.
His artwork adorns the walls at both bars. He was a regular at the popular Tuesday night jazz sessions at Mona's. You've probably seen him there. And you'd remember having a conversation with him.
You can read about his life and work and view his art at his website, The Skunk Museum & Library. (We particularly like his oil paintings of bar scenes from the 1970s and 1980s.)
Part of his life, in his own words:
I've been asked, on numerous occasions, to explain the origins of my name and of my antecedents - and, just how did my parents, being of such different backgrounds, manage to meet? It has become obvious, that in this day of the American hyphenate, merely stating that I was born in New York City, on the 4th of July, in the fateful year, 1929 — and being the sixth child of a father born in India, and a mother born in Belgium, makes for an insufficient life history...
After the drafting, during WWII, of my three older brothers, I began working as a gofer at a haberdashery that furnished the uniforms for Columbia's Navy ninety-day-wonders, then worked as a soda jerk — during which time I dropped out of High School. On July 18, 1946, shortly after I turned seventeen, I enlisted in the Regular Army and served for about a year in the post-WWII occupation of Japan. As a result, I joined my three older brothers as WWII veterans (all of us having served during WWII's emergency years).
After my discharge, and over the years, I used up my GI Bill schooling allowance — during which time I worked at numerous jobs: soda jerk, bank page, RR dock worker, apprentice machinist, model maker — all the while, and from then on, I was more or less involved in the making of art. Then, from late 1953, before selling my business in 1974, I supported my wife, Betty Huber (a German Baptist, born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1926, who was in the process of obtaining a Ph.D.) and our three children as a licensed customhouse broker and registered foreign freight forwarder. My wife of over half a century (now deceased), after obtaining her PhD. carried much of the burden of supporting the family — from 1974 on.
We featured Thakar in a post this past Dec. 22.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
You may not know Markand Thakar, though it's likely that you will recognize his work. Several of his paintings adorn the walls of Sophie's on East Fifth Street as well as at Mona's on Avenue B.
Thakar, who was born and raised in New York, is 82. You can read about his life and work and view his art at his website, The Skunk Museum & Library.
The site is also full of his writings. Thomas D. Ward, who took the top and bottom photos on this page, offered this: "Those interested in a first-hand account of the New York art world from mid-century to the present will certainly find much to ponder."
You may also appreciate his vivid, street-level accounts of a native New Yorker in "Noo Yawk, New York." (You can access that work here.)
In addition to the website, he distributes his writing via pamphlets at the two bars the old-fashioned way ...
Depending on the day or time, you might even find him sitting at the bar at Sophie's or Mona's. (He's particularly fond of the Tuesday night jazz sessions at Mona's.) Why not say hello.
[Photos by Thomas D. Ward]
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Crews are on East Fifth Street today to film scenes for "Greetings from Tim Buckley." ("Gossip Girl" star Penn Badgley is Jeff Buckley in this film.)
The Jeff Buckley-Tim Buckley biopic is using Sophie's as a backdrop (both inside and outside the bar). Dave on 7th was on the scene this morning...
Sophie's is subbing for the Greenwich Village 1960s mainstay Night Owl Cafe, where Tim Buckley played his first NYC gig in 1966 (and the Lovin' Spoonful came to fame). Read more about the club here. This address on West Third Street has been home to Bleecker Bob's since 1983.
...and a new rival for the Pee Phone?
Friday, March 25, 2011
It's a springtime poem by the one-and-only Joseph "Count Slima" Williams — owner of the greatest laugh that you'll ever hear. (And you can purchase Slima's poems by inquiring at Sophie's.)
[Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk. More photos at Flickr]
Thursday, January 6, 2011
We heard the sad news last night that Joe Gonzalez, better known as Caveman, has passed away. He was 54.
Caveman has been a longtime regular at Sophie's, where he would often be seen bypassing glassware in favor of drinking straight out of the pitcher. He was also a regular on the local pool scene.
We don't know many more details now about Joe's death. He had been battling diabetes in recent years. He'll be missed.
[Top photo by Cary Conover, posted with permission]
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Las week, we passed along that sad news that Howard O'Brien, a longtime bartender at Sophie's, had died after an eight-month battle with cancer.
Patrick Hedlund has a lovely feature on Howard at DNAinfo:
When friends came to clean out the apartment of Howard O'Brien, the longtime neighborhood bartender who passed away last week, they found his Yale University master's degree diploma still rolled up in its original packaging.
Friends said that was typical for a man who, despite his extensive education and vast accomplishments, chose to spend nearly 25 years behind the bar at Sophie's on East 5th Street, one of the last true local haunts left in the East Village.
"Maybe he took it out to look at it once and then put it back in the tube. That's how nonchalant he was about something like that," said Bob Corton, 57, the founder and former owner of Sophie's, who grew up with O'Brien in Westchester and helped empty his East 3rd Street apartment last week.
"He possessed knowledge that most people don't even come across today."
Previously on EV Grieve:
Howard O'Brien, 1954-2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Several Sophie's regulars have passed along word that Howard O'Brien, a longtime bartender at the East Fifth Street bar, passed away early Saturday morning. Howard, who was 56, had been battling cancer. He had worked at Sophie's since 1986.
As one regular described him, he was "wonderfully reserved, incredibly erudite, peculiarly comic, full of bardic tradition and a straight talking, no nonsense scholar and gentleman in the right way." Indeed.
Meanwhile, there is a memorial service for Howard on Friday:
11 a.m. in the Lower Church of St. Francis of Assisi
135 W. 31st St. (between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue)
Friends will be meeting at Sophie's afterwords, roughly around 12:30.
[Photo by Thomas Donal Ward via Facebook]