Monday, June 3, 2013

Blarney Cove


Blogger C.O. Moed passes on the upsetting news that the Blarney Cove on East 14th will be closing this month. She writes:

"They changed one of the TVs to the Mets game, we got Rolling Rocks in big ass glasses because the Pabst only came in tall boys, the guy at the end of the bar played every version of every baseball song on the jukebox for us, including a song about being a Mets fan which really should be listed as a mental disorder in the diagnostic book and we watched the Mets play the Marlins. I asked the bartender when they'd be closing. 'End of June,' she said. 'It's sad.'"

Mars Bar, the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, and now Blarney Cove. A king among dive bars, it's been here for decades--maybe over 50 years--and still regularly tops "Best Dive Bar" lists for the city. Wendy Mitchell, author of New York City's Best Dive Bars, wrote: "In a city of homogenized bars, The Blarney Cove stands apart as a true one-of-a-kind."

And New York Magazine described it, "Blarney Cove isn't a faux dive bar, it's the real thing... one of the last places in the ever-gentrifying East Village where you can still hoist a Bud with characters who have earned their reputations over decades of serious drinking."

But the Cove's stretch of 14th Street has been changing dramatically--E.V. Grieve notes those changes in his coverage of the upcoming closure.

photo: Ken Micallef

I don't go often enough to the Cove, but when I do, it's always good, always a scene, always a story. Last time I wrote about it here, I noted:

At the Blarney Cove, old men hook their canes to the lip at the edge of the bar before taking their seats. One of those old guys says “ha-ha” and “ha-ha-ha,” not laughing, just saying "ha." And if you're lucky, you might overhear a mature lady explaining to another gray-haired fella all about her dear mother’s “nice pair of tits.”

The Cove has a rough-and-tumble reputation, but it's a friendly place. The second time I ever sat at the bar, Matty the bartender asked me if I wanted “the usual.” Since I’d only been there once before, I figured he had me confused with someone else, but he knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it. After my second drink, he bought me one on the house.

More dives on VNY:
Holiday Cocktail Lounge (vanished)
P&G (vanished)
Hickey's (vanished)
Mars Bar (vanished)
Dick's (vanished)
JJ's Navy Yard (vanished)
Ruby's (almost vanished)
Holland Bar (vanished, then revived)
Jimmy's Corner
Subway Inn

Also: Check out the documentary "New York Dive."


Ed said...

Its basically an alcoholics' bar, but the strange thing is that I regret not drinking there more often.

We seem to be losing a couple of these places each year now, with no replacements. Has anyone done a count of how many there are left so we can estimate when the last survivor will close?

Laura said...

When I lived on 13th and A I walked past this bar every morning on the way to work - around 8:00am, and it was open: there were at least 8 guys in there.

Joe said...

I was just in town, wish I knew I would've stopped in. The International has changed, but Blue & Gold is hanging on.

Ken Mac said...

A very friendly place. What will we do when everything has vanished?

Marty Wombacher said...

@Ken Mac: You can move here to Peoria, I'll save you a spot at Mike's Tavern. P.S. This certainly sucks big time.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

This one really breaks my heart. The people in Blarney are the best and always had stories, entertainment, laughs...I always had a good time there, leaving ten times happier than when I went in. There are very few places left that feel like home and family and, for me, Blarney Cove was just that.

Uncle Waltie said...

"Wendy Mitchell, author of New York City's Best Dive Bars, wrote: "In a city of homogenized bars, The Blarney Cove stands apart as a true one-of-a-kind."

If a person were really concerned about keeping these places authentic, they wouldn't publish pieces like "New York City's Best Dive Bars". Just sayin'....

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Nooo. Damn these endless closures.
Sunny's in Red Hook is still struggling to reopen after catastrophic flood damage. Yes, some of the newer crowd can be precious, but also great people & music here, and Sunny and co. are the warmest. When the bar just opens and the sun is setting over the water, and maybe there's Billie Holiday playing & the place is half empty ... just the best time of day. If anyone can send donations their way please do so.

Bob said...

My dad would always tell me the story of how my grandfather beat the crap out of a junkie outside Blarney Cove back in the 70s, when they lived in Stuyvesant Town. He noticed the skell lurking around out front while he was drinking, and as he was leaving the bathroom he caught the guy grabbing money off the bar and dashing towards the exit. My grandfather was a 6'5 fireman who fought the Japanese in the Pacific, so needless to say that wasn't a very good day for the would-be thief. Good times.

esquared™ said...

Apropos of dive/neighborhood bars --

"I have watched the bars in New York become more and more homogeneous — if you’re an electrician or an investment banker or a punk albino, there’s a bar for you, full of all the other electricians or investment bankers or punk albinos, and absolutely no one else. The likelihood of such a wildly different bunch of people getting a conversation going in a bar today, let alone becoming family to one another, now seems next to nil."

laura r. said...

esquared, i hear that gay/ straight is the new combo. as for class differences, why do you think its disappearing?