Dec 9, 2008

The Holiday

Generally life comes and goes without any real surprises or unique experiences. Sometimes, if you are lucky enough, you find something or someone that truly makes you smile. Just a little something to get you through the harsh winter of the world.

Sometimes it comes with Hare Krishnas. A whole bunch of them.

Lemme back up. OK, so this past weekend I went to NYC to catch up with some friends. A dude who smells like a wet dog joined me, and we had a couple of hours to kill. So we went down to the East Village. I was gonna take him to Burp Castle (over there on the sidebar), but as soon as we walked in the stench of spilled beer, piss and testosterone overwhelmed us. I don't know what happened to that joint, but it's been overrun by frat boys the past couple of times I've been there. Used to be a real haven for beer geeks. Maybe it still is and I just went on a couple of bad days. I dunno.

Anyway, we went to the joint right next door (a place called Jimmy's No. 43...awesome!) for a couple of pints and a bite to eat. Then over to St. Mark's Place to meet up with my friends. But on the way over I told my buddy about a little bar that I've always wanted check out. The Holiday Cocktail Lounge. It looks like the diviest of the dive bars. Just an awful looking place. Even the name screamed "awful". The Holiday Cocktail Lounge.

My kind of joint.

So he convinced me to take 15 minutes and go in for a drink. You know what the kicker behind the decision was? Right as we were heading across the street, hemming and hawing about ducking inside, an entire parade of Hare Krishnas came dancing down the street. They had instruments and flowing garb and bald heads and, frankly, some pretty incredible dance moves. Those cats were pretty damned funky.

Seeing this as a sign from, well...the Gods, we manned up and headed into the joint. Inside we were greeted with a semi-circle bar, a couple from Tennessee, a string of Christmas lights and the oldest fucking bartender you have ever seen in your life. Seriously. Check him out...


That's Stephan (or Stefan). The oldest fucking bartender you have ever seen in your life. I didn't catch his name while were there, I found out his name after I Googled the joint. In fact, I barely understood a word he said. And apparently it was likewise. Seeing the array of bad beer and bad booze, I thought it would be prudent to order a couple of Jack and Cokes. Safe bet, right?

Except Stephan has a heavy hand. A very heavy hand. And he thought I said Jameson's instead of Jack. I stopped him after he poured one and told him I wanted Jack. He proceeded to yell at me in a mumbling, 400 year-old man kinda way. I have no idea what he said but he kept pointing at the "J" in Jameson like that was supposed to ease my pain. It really was one of those perfect moments in life.

My buddy took one for the team and told Stephan that he would drink the massively strong Jameson & Coke leaving the newly poured (also extremely strong) Jack & Coke for me. But you know what? Jameson & Coke is a pretty good drink! We would up having a couple of more later on in the evening, but none nearly as strong as the one Stephan poured.

One mistake I made? I used the bathroom. Wow! Might be the worst shitter on the East Coast. The cramped room had a toilet filled to the top with piss with a big, black dead fly floating in the middle. I opted for the urinal, but I didn't touch a goddamned thing in that room. I'm pretty sure the Black Plague was living in that room someplace. I've developed a little cough since Saturday, and I'm kinda scared.

I forgot to mention Stephan's other bartending skillz besides the big pour. He also likes to take his time with getting your order. A really long time. When we walked in he was sitting at the bar. He got up, looking a bit pissed that we interrupted his nap or something, and made his way behind the bar. When he got there he must have forgotten why he did because he immediately turned his back to us and started to stock the beer fridge with Budweiser. For 10 minutes. It would have been hilarious if we weren't so thirsty. Aww...it was hilarious! Who am I kidding?

A group of six walked in as we were finishing up our drink. It's Monday night as I type this and they still might be waiting for their first round.

I can say without any reservation that the Holiday Cocktail Lounge may be the most perfect dive bar in existence, and I can't wait to go back. I hope Stephan is still there. Hell, he will probably out live us all.

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Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. All the best cowboys have Chinese eyes.

29 comments:

Steph said...

Man, I wish I could have gone with you. I could have told you about the women's bathroom.

Kiefer and Emo said...

DAD!!! Oh... sorry.

Mik said...

That bartender reminds me of some character from the Star Trek series, with the big brain sized head.

I've been drinking Yukon Jack and diet Coke lately and that is pretty good.

That damn expat said...

How festive! Speaking of which, do you think the bartender will be dressed as Santa for Christmas?

Michelle J said...

HA I love this!!!

I have been in the mood lately for some sort of alcoholic beverages and i just may step into this place. Although, i may chicken out, not sure yet!!! The bartender is scary a little bit!!

Have a great day!!!

B.E. Earl said...

Steph - I'm sure it was an absolute gem. :)

K&E - Exactly.

Mik - Oooh, Yukon Jack. Haven't had that in a long time.

Expat - He would be the creepiest Santa ever.

Michelle - I'm sure you have some comparable places in Brooklyn.

hello haha narf said...

i always order two or three at a time in places with ancient or miserably slow bartenders. sometimes i get thirsty.

ya know i love ya, but i am going to have nightmares about that bathroom and it is all your fault. bad, bad earl!

Heff said...

You know you're in a great place when the help is irritated to get up and serve you, lol !

Heff said...

BTW - Very interested in seeing the custom trivia on the 10th and 17th !

B.E. Earl said...

Becky - I might have to go drinking with you one of these days. We sound like a pair...a pair of drunken idiots! ;)

Heff - Oh, he was NOT happy to see us walk in at 8 PM on a Saturday night. Not at all.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Hee hee. Gotta love the "old school" bartender! That's the way a drink should be served. Sounds like you had fun and will be returning? Although you may need to find another way to "relieve" yourself while drinking there. But since you're a guy and I don't think it would be too difficult. (or frowned upon, for that matter)

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Thank god you weren't hungry. I'm sure a "bar pizza" order would have thrown Stefan for all his might!

*TINK*

Happy Tuesday

- Jennifer

B.E. Earl said...

Candy - From the smell of the joint, I don't think it mattered where you pee.

Jenn - Even if they offered food at this joint (which they don't), you would want to stay far...far away.

Dr Zibbs said...

I love dumps like that.

Avitable said...

I'm way too high maintenance for a place like that.

Faiqa said...

LOL @ 400 year old bartender. He was probly muttering, "You'll drink what I *give* you, whippersnapper. And you'll like it." Old people are awesome.

B.E. Earl said...

Zibbs - they are good for the soul.

Avitable - What? You like clean places? Nah...gimme a dirty old pub any day of the week.

Faiqa - He could have been calling me a candy-ass for all I know. Totally un-intelligible.

hello haha narf said...

we should definitely have a drink or twenty together some night. although you might pee in the corner again and your wife would not be happy...

B.E. Earl said...

Becky - Oh, she would laugh her ass off. You should hear what SHE did last weekend. Holy crap! ;)

hello haha narf said...

yay, more story time!!! i'm eagerly waiting for details...

Slyde said...

So, how did the fly taste?

B.E. Earl said...

Becky - Nah! She would kill me if I spoke up. Or would she? Hmmm.

Slyde - Not bad. A little like chicken marinated in piss. Not bad.

Water Logged Canine said...

Sounds like a scene directly out of Twin Peaks. Wish I had been there. ;)

Water Logged Canine said...

Holy crap! I've been trying to place it and it just came to me. The old-man bartender looks like Yellow Bastard from Frank Miller's Sin City. Oh yes...he does!

Woof!

Bruce said...

From now on I will just vicariously live my bar-fly dreams through your blog.....that way, I don't have to deal with the CDC bathroom drama.

teeni said...

I do enjoy your reviews. I hope we get updates on Stephan. Maybe I should send my elderly neighbor there. ;)

B.E. Earl said...

WLC - He did look a little bit like that yellow freak. Good call!

Bruce - I'm honored. :)

Teeni - I think they would get along famously. Cranky bastards.

pure evyl said...

Sounds like my kind of joint.

sybil law said...

that bar is straight outta barfly. seriously.