Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Holland Bar

The Holland Bar has been on my list of classic dives to visit before they die. I am sad to report: It's too late. The Holland has been gutted, as the following tipster photo will attest. And somehow I don't think they're renovating.


photo & tip: Reed Korach

This just after Anthony Bourdain, mourning the loss of Siberia, praised the Holland, which he called: "A classic old-man bar." He also hailed the Distinguished Wakamba Lounge, a former after-work haunt of mine, and now I'm worried. What if Bourdain has reaper powers?

Josh Alan Friedman, author of Tales of Times Square, said of the Holland and other dives, "You need architecture that your grandfather once had dinner at. It’s important not to have everything torn down. It’s important to the human spirit."

The Holland was full of stories and memorabilia. TONY says the scripted sign above the bar dated back to 1937. And Shecky's gives a good description of the place: "Brick walls are coated with ragged sports pennants and Christmas lights. Oh, and don’t forget the ashes of a dead guy; regulars chipped in for cremation when one of their own passed in 1996."


Photo: Shanna Ravindra, NY Mag

Those are the ashes of Charlie O'Connor. You can read all about Mr. O'Connor here, and about how "the regulars voted to keep [his ashes] where they were--'until the Holland closes,' was the way they put it."

The Holland is now closed. So what will become of Charlie O'Connor's ashes?

13 comments:

EV Grieve said...

NO!

Wow. And the Bellevue closed on Ninth Avenue as well...The era of the lonely old man bars in NYC is coming to a close. Sadly.

Carol Gardens said...

Keep Bourdain away...really! When he did his Brooklyn show he visited the Red Hook vendors just before the city came down on them leading to the far-less-charming truck set-up. He also visited Moonshine, which got in trouble because of their casual backyard BBQ and dog-friendly policy. His attention seems to be a jinx for the quirky!

Anonymous said...

I used to go there a lot, my favorite bar in the city. On its last day the owner told everyone that they were renovating and would reopen at the beginning of '09. We'll see. In any case, a real loss.

Wilfrid said...

Very sad news indeed - it's irreplaceable. On a more positive note, the Wakamba continues to be very busy.

Anonymous said...

This is really it. The proverbial last nail in the coffin. Bellevue closed. Siberia Closed. Passerby closed. It's over. I have to move to fucking Brooklyn now.

Jeremiah Moss said...

anon 10:35--i hope you're right about the renovation plans. still, it won't be the same i'm sure. you just can't replace grime. but if that happens, hopefully the old Holland sign will stay. and charlie's ashes, of course.

Anonymous said...

Having lived in the neighborhood with all these wonderful dives, I knew my time was nearly up when I saw them all being closed. And sure enough, I too got my eviction notice. I have a lot of fond memories of crazy old drunk men from these establishments and no doubt all of them will be replaced with yet another thai restaurant or a sports bar...

Anonymous said...

I hear fairly specifically that they were putting in new floors and electricity. Further, that they got a three year lease.

Anonymous said...

Breaks my heart to hear that this joint closed.

Anonymous said...

I heard from an a regular two weeks ago that it was being renovated.Also,correct me if I'm wrong,but didn't the Bellevue become Why Not? before the location closed for good?

Rhea said...

It's coming back! The New York Times says so!

Anonymous said...

I went there yesterday (jan 30) and it was still closed!

Anonymous said...

The bar is back open, and Doc is there, but it ain't the Holland of old. The ersatz bar is slapped-together plywood, and in general the feeling is hollow. You still get a disposable plastic cup, though!