Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ruby's Bar of Coney Island

VANISHING?

Ruby’s Old Time Bar was opened by Rubin “Ruby” Jacobs just a few decades ago, yet it looks like it’s been on the boardwalk forever. Maybe that’s because Ruby had been there all his life, first selling knishes on the sand then operating Coney’s last bathhouses, Stauch’s, Claret’s, and Bushman’s. Souvenir ticket stubs and photographs from the bathhouses line the walls of Ruby’s bar, along with hundreds of photos from Coney’s glorious past.

Ruby died in 2000 and now his legendary bar is about to join him, thanks to Joe Sitt, who sees himself as comic-book hero Thor, "protector of the cities."


painting in photo by robert leach

When you ask Coney people if they'll be there next year, they shrug and say, "Who knows?" A counterman at Gregory & Paul's responded by calling out, "Who knows, who knows, only the nose knows! Step right up for ice-cold beer here!"

At Ruby's, I asked Frank the bartender if he thought they’d have another season on the beach. He told me, “Sometimes I get a good feeling and sometimes I get a bad feeling. Maybe we’ll get another year, but I wouldn’t put my money on it. Why would someone pay millions of dollars for this property and then let us stay? I’m just taking it one day at a time. Like an alcoholic, or a drug addict.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to hang out and work at the Atlantis Bar and Grill on the corner of the boardwalk two or three doors down from Ruby's (Now it's a small Nathan's booth). I spent a great deal of time at Ruby's. I knew Sammy who used to bartend there and I knew Ruby (not as well as Sammy). The wall of Coney Island Culture there is amazing and has been there as long as I can remember which must be 30 years since I've know the place. There used to be an arcade between the Atlantis and Ruby's now there is an empty space next to Nathan's which was half of the Atlantis and there is a souvenir shop next to Ruby's. The memories I have of that corner of Brooklyn are some that I will treasure for the rest of my days.