For a thousand years, bartenders and writers have been locked in a secret battle for world supremacy, coming to blows over everything from bar tabs to book titles, shedding blood over issues as insignificant as the origin of the Harvey Wallbanger. So given the choice, which scribblers would the tenders most like a shot at?
Where he presides: International Bar, East Village
Favorite drink: Scotch
Dave Eggers — and I only read one of his books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius but I hated that one so much. It was not well written, the tone was so smug. That book annoyed me so intensely. I made it through just because it was the big thing that everyone was reading. Ten years from now it’ll be in every Salvation Army in America. It’ll be another Bonfire of the Vanities.
Where she presides: Doc Holliday’s, East Village
Favorite drink: Shots of chilled vodka
Edgar Allan Poe — cuz he was... just say for unmentionable reasons. Just say that Joanna has her reasons. Just say that Joanna is an angel and she will not say her reasons. [Walks away and comes back] Because he’s dark and dingy and dirty! [Who, this correspondent asks, would win that fight?] Me! I always win! I win everything!
Where she presides: Hi-Fi, East Village
Favorite drink: Jameson on the rocks
I don’t know. I mainly just read writers that I love. There’s a few Bukowski things I don’t know about. Even though I loved him, I was like — hmmm, not sure why you wrote that. He’d probably kick my ass, though. Actually, no, he’d probably be all drunk. Okay, so I’d go with Bukowski then.
Where he presides: Live Bait, Gramercy
Favorite drink: Guinness
Would this be a boxing match, or just a catch him in the street sort of thing? Sartre — if he walked into my bar, I believe I would do a flying jump kick on him right over the pint glasses. Do an elbow drop on him. He was such a nasty man. And he thought so highly of himself.
Where he presides: Lunasa, East Village
Favorite drink: Apple Bomb: half pint of cider with a sunken shot of Bacardi apple rum.
Maybe Woody Allen — yeah. He’s so small, I’d definitely kick his ass. [ed. When asked his favorite drink, Brian insisted that I try an Apple Bomb. So I did, must thank Brian again for his hospitality in serving such a reviving bracer to this near-heat-stroked correspondent. This correspondent also feels moved to declare the Apple Bomb the “Drink of Summer ’05.”]
Where he presides: The Eleventh Street Bar, East Village
Favorite drink: B&B
Alright, I’ve got one. But I can’t remember his name. [ed. Clearly, Kenny hails from the Emerald Isle]. Yes! Got it. Frank McCourt! Hey, fella, why can’t you ask me a more interesting question — like what musician I’d most like to be? Wait, you want to know what my favorite book as a kid was? Really? That’s easy. Angela’s Ashes, you poor hack.
Where he presides: Triple Crown, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Johnnie Walker on the rocks
I really don’t know. Would you like to make one up for me? It’s fine, really. [ed. What, me? Well, I guess I’d fight Maureen Dowd — yeah — that mousy little bitch with her stupid nicknames and facile pop culture references. Please — I could write one of her columns stoned, drunk and heartbroken. Wait… Right, she doesn’t get a lot of dates does she? Probably takes a lot of pills. Probably stays up nights looking at Bill Keller’s picture — calling one of the two friends she has left to talk about the latest wrinkle under her left eye. What she really needs is a good sock in the mouth. From me.]