Monday, 16 February 2009


I didn't quite go straight home after leaving the Half Pint. I made a couple of emergency stops.

The first was at a liquor store on 7th Avenue. It was on the way to the subway station at Christopher Street. It had a jaunty red neon sign. How could I resist?

Inside it looked just like the ones you see in films. Usually when a couple of armed, masked men burst through the door and ask for all the dosh. It wasn't quite like that. A couple of Japanese girls were running their eyes of the American wines. I was only interested in what was behind the counter. Bourbon. Just a small bottle. I'm not an alcy. The salesperson slipped the bottle inside a brown paper bag. How quaint. I considered drinking from it on the subway just for the pose value, but managed to restrain myself.

I'd only had that pie to eat since breakfast. Getting more food seemed a sensible idea. A gourmet deli lurked between 23rd St. subway station and the hotel. Quite upmarket. Dead upmarket. Towards the back was what I was looking for. The cold meats counter.

There was in impressive display of meats. So impressive I started to photograpgh it. "Are you trying to take a picture of me?" the server asked. "No, the meat", I replied. "That's not allowed." Land of the free, eh?

Just when I was on the home straight I was seduced by more bright lights. My favourite type of bright lights. Ones attached to a pub. I've started to believe what I tell the kids. That it's bad luck to walk past a pub that's open without having a beer.

My time in the States had been so filled with work that I'd had no time to do the ordinary boring things. Like go to a supermarket. Or visit a normal bar. Jake's seemed to fit the bill on the latter count.

I'll not pretend that it's a wonderful hidden gem. It's a pretty bog-standard bar. Maybe slightly flasher, by a tiny little bit. I didn't care. There was a stool at the bar with my name on it. They stocked something called Jake's Ale. I ordered one. And another. I won't bore you with tasting notes because I didn't take any. It was inoffensive enough, let's leave it at that.

There was a row of large tellies behind the bar. One was showing footie. What turned out to be Big Phil's last game in charge of Chelsea. How weird. I was sitting in Chelsea (the New York one) watching Chelsea (the southern bastard ones) play. I don't think anyone else noticed.

Jake's Saloon
23rd Street & 7th Ave.
206 West 23rd Street,
New York, NY 10011.
Tel: 212 - 337 3100


Anonymous said...

Good notes and I liked reading too about the "regular" bar. Both at home and when away, I sometimes drop into similar places. I had a worthy Labatt 50 draft recently in a local bar in Toronto and with the tv going and all it seemed, well, right. There is a time and a place...


Anonymous said...

Got told off once in Italy for taking a picture of a whole palette of three-kilo Nutella jars at a motorway services shop. Thankfully, I was with one of my italian frieds, who shot out a "sorry, we didn't know it was a strategic installation"...

I must admit I've re-used it at least onec, when told off for taking pictures at an Alko store in Oslo. Long face indeed from the manager.