Bitch of a wind blows on Jackson Avenue. Desolate sidewalk. Metal gates pulled over most store fronts except one. That store? Vacant stationary store. Dusty windows. Sign above entrance. “Jules. Serving You Since 1933.”
Can’t do this one straight, so follow:
Zoom in on a white neon sign flashing above a black Triumph motorcycle parked on sidewalk. Single word on neon sign blinks: “Bar.” Now zoom in on a red brick building. Plywood covers a window. You’re not sure if you’ve got the address right. Your heart pumps.
Suddenly, a cop car spins out from a dead end street. You’re so freaked you pull the bar’s door open and hope you’re somewhere good.
Railroad flat shaped room. Dark wooden walls. Dim lighting. Booths with red curtains. Couples chat. They look at you. You look at them. Everyone looks away on cue. Notable sound system. Music’s got a good beat. You walk in a straight line because that’s all you’ve got.
Bar area at far end of the room.
Think secret hideaway. Mismatched chandeliers hang above varnished bar counter top. Bartenders in long sleeve striped shirts and vests. When customers leave money a bartender rings a copper bell. Against bar above a juke box an antique American Flag.
The atmosphere is something you’d expect from a Martin Scorsese movie, but it’s real.
Very real, too.
All seats filled except one. You navigate length of bar. Tight squeeze. Maybe eighteen inches between bar seats and wall. You pass Friday nighters.
“Hey, how you doing?”
She ain’t talking and who really cares anyway.
So, you look at the photographs on the wall until the bartender notices you. Photos showing refrigeration and blocks of ice. You don’t get it, but know there’s a reason for it.
Bartender’s got you in his scope. Tall thin with a deep voice He pours you a glass of water with cucumber in a pewter shot glass. His voice is drop dead duplicate for Bela Lugosi. Absolute baritone like nothing you’ve ever heard. You compliment him on his voice. “I got born lucky,” he replies. Call the man with the magical voice Jamie. He dreams about being a baseball announcer. Meanwhile, everyone knows him as Jamie and he dreams about sitting in the radio’s announcer’s booth at Citifield. “I want to be the next Howie Rose,” says Jamie.
He presents the Dutch Kills Bar menu. Heavy plastic with a blue border. Greek diner motif for those who care.
Eight house cocktails ($13) with names that make you smile.
Bleecker Street Tonic. Cavendish Kiss. Cock N’ Bull Special. Diamondback. Manzana Malvada. Old Vermont. St. Charles Swizzle. The Voorhees.
You pick Old Vermont. Maple syrup on ‘roids. A mixture of gin, maple syrup, fresh juices of lemon and orange. Shaken and served straight up.
Your drinks finished. Edge comes off work week. You drop money on the bar. The bell rings. You push the drink menu forward and that’s when you see it:
Bottom of last page of drink menu:
Can’t make this stuff up. Pure Scorsese.
Info: Dutch Kills Bar
Address: 27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City
Hours: 5 pm ‘ till 2 am (or later)
Nearest Subway Stations:
E-M-R at Queens Plaza
E-M-G at Court Square
N-Q-& at Queensboro Plaza
Parking: After 7 p.m. it’s all yours along Jackson Avenue