Articles by

<Brian Diedrick>

01/30/08 12:00am

Our worst Valentine’s Day ever entails a bucket of oysters, a screening of Andrei Rublev and a whole lot of pain. But sometimes you have to suffer in order to enjoy the good times… right?

Where he presides: The Crocodile Lounge, East Village
Favorite drink: Budweiser
They’re always so great it’s hard to remember. Too many to choose. Actually, nothing really comes to mind. The worst thing I guess I ever did was in 6th grade I gave a girl the plastic heart from an Entenmann’s cake. The whole class made fun of me. It was pretty ghetto.
Where she presides:
Rodeo Bar, Murray Hill
Favorite drink: Sangria
This didn’t happen to me, but last year I had a woman and a man come in on Valentine’s Day as a blind date. They met at the bar and I guess the guy wasn’t very happy with the girl, so they had a few margaritas and the guy said he was going to the bathroom and he got up and left and never came back. He left her with the bill and everything — totally stiffed her. So she ended up staying and getting really drunk by herself until she fell over the bar. We had to put her in a cab home.

Where she presides:
Hank’s Saloon, Boerum Hill
Favorite drink: Decaf Pepsi
Let’s see. There was the time that I told the guy on Valentine’s Day that I didn’t want to see him anymore. He didn’t send me flowers or anything, so I was a little mad about that, but that wasn’t the reason I didn’t want to see him anymore. It was a little deeper than that.
Where he presides:
Half King, Chelsea
Favorite drink: Johnnie Walker Black on         the rocks
Oh man, well, there was this one year — my birthday is a couple of days before Valentine’s Day, and my roommate’s birthday was right around Valentine’s Day, so we decided we’d throw a big Valentine’s Day party — neither of us had girlfriends at the time — sort of as an anti-Valentine’s Day party. So we throw it and it turned out to be a complete sausage-fest. Just a bunch of guys sitting around with cans of Natty Light looking awkwardly at each other.
Where she presides:
Grassroots, East Village
Favorite drink: Vodka and soda
My worst Valentine’s Day was when I went out to dinner with my boyfriend and he asked me to pay half. This was years ago — it was when I was in college. He wasn’t broke, he was just cheap. He was a trust-fund baby. I wrote him a check. It was over $100, I bet.

01/16/08 12:00am

People who don’t tip their bartenders are plain evil. Bartenders should always be treated with respect and affection. They are there for you when you are sad. They are there for you when you are happy. They are there for you when you are in an indeterminately neutral mood. Tip them.

Where he presides: Bull McCabe’s, East Village
Favorite drink: Guinness
Every once in a while a regular will leave you tickets to a ballgame or something, which is nice. I’ve heard some stories about other things bartenders have gotten as tips, but not things you could print in a magazine. Somebody left me a bar of chocolate once.

Where he presides: Blind Pig, East Village
Favorite drink: Beer
A guy gave me front row tickets to a Yankees game once. He asked me a trivia question and said that if I got it right he’d give me tickets to a Yankees game. Four tickets — front row. I answered the question and he put them down on the bar just like that. [Do you remember the question?] Yeah, I do. There were nine players on the field when the Yankees beat the Dodgers in 1978.

Where he presides: Pencil Factory, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Jameson
Well, of course there are drugs — people just throw them down all the time, even if you don’t use them. You get buttons, music, tickets. I got a scarf made for me once. That was pretty good. Somebody knits you a scarf and that’s pretty hard to beat. [Matt, the other bartender working chimes in.] Then there’s the classic — the verbal tip. Somebody tells you how good a job you’re doing or how nice the bar is or something and then stiff you on the tip. And they think that saying something nice makes up for stiffing you. That’s a “verbal tip.”
Where she presides: Grassroots, East Village
Favorite drink: Finlandia and Tonic
No, it’s never happened. Foreign money, I guess. Just some foreign coins is the only thing I’ve gotten. I can’t think of anything else.

Where he presides: Lost & Found Bar, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Budweiser
One of the bartenders here got something that’s a little more than cash. This guy gave him a “You’re the Shittiest Bartender Ever” dollar. [He points to a dollar bill taped to the mirror behind the bar across which some disgruntled soul has written in bold white letters: “You’re The Shittiest Bartender Ever.”]

01/16/08 12:00am

We once stopped watching reruns of Star Trek: Next Generation clear through the month of March, which really was an incredible feat of willpower. We also kicked a really unpleasant spitting habit once, too. Anything’s possible.

Where she presides: Coppersmith’s, Hell’s Kitchen
Favorite drink: Jack and Coke
I don’t make them. Why? Because I don’t have the willpower to keep them. I mean, I try to cut down on drinking and swearing, but that never happens.
Where he presides: ReBar, Dumbo
Favorite drink: Trappist Beer
I actually have kept one New Year’s resolution, and that’s to stop smoking. But I have one that’s not going well. Told myself that whenever I saw someone in need I’d give them a dollar. That lasted about three days.
Where she presides: Motor City, LES
Favorite drink: Ginger Ale
Look, I deal in vice. It’s part and parcel of my profession. New Year’s resolutions are always to stop drinking this, or stop eating that. Should I really be resolving to do something that conflicts pretty directly with what I do? My answer is no… I’ve never kept a New Year’s resolution.
Where she presides: Manahatta, NoHo
Favorite drink: Patrón
I’d never been able to do it until this year, and I’m really pretty proud of myself. Last New Year’s Eve I vowed to go to the gym four times a week until 2008, and I’ve actually done it. Yeah, actually I’m in really good shape now. [Ed: We vowed to hit the gym once a month last year; it never happened. It shows. But way to go, Morgan!]

Where he presides: McKenna’s Pub, Marine Park, Brooklyn
Favorite drink: Cosmopolitan
[Ed: Takes a minute to think, and then…]  You know, I see these kids with their headphones on and I think — for years I haven’t been able to wear anything on my ears. Not since the accident. I got built-in noise in my head and that’s no way to live, man. No way to live. [Uh. Ok.]
Where she presides: The Pit Stop, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Heineken
Last year I resolved to make all As in my college classes. Somehow, I made it happen.  
Where he presides: The Palace, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Beer
Sure, sure buddy. I’ve kept a New Year’s resolution. In the late 80s I resolved to listen to 50 percent more metal. I keep that resolution every year. You hear the jukebox right now? [Ed: Black Sabbath] That’s my selection.
Where she presides: DJ Reynolds, Hell’s Kitchen
Favorite drink: Red wine
Never. I haven’t had a New Year’s resolution since I was 16 years old. You don’t need a new year to try to change things, I mean, don’t people make resolutions for the start of summer and in the fall too? I guess I try to be nicer to people — but it never works.
Where she presides: Rodeo Bar, Murray Hill
Favorite drink: Vodka Soda
I’ve only kept one New Year’s resolution, you want to hear it? It’s not to make anymore New Year’s resolutions! If you want to set goals, you can do it any other time of the year.

12/19/07 12:00am

It’s human nature to think of ourselves as having at least a little of the heroic in us, but so rarely do we get the chance to test our nerves in a real-life dangerous situation, it’s pretty impossible to say for sure what we’d do. Well, at least Wesley Autrey knows he would come through with flying colors — and now he has the  lifetime subscription to Playboy to prove it.
Where I hailed him:
Where he hails from:
Years as a cabbie:
Previous profession:
Textile exporter
That is a very good question. I have been thinking about that. Would I have the courage to do what that man did? And after thinking about it, if I am honest with myself, I have to say no, I wouldn’t. I don’t think I would be able to jump down onto the tracks with the train coming like that. I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of courage within me. It was an amazing thing he did.
Where I hailed him:
Where he hails from:
Years as a cabbie:
Previous profession:
You want to think that you would do the same thing. Who knows, though? I don’t think you can say until you find yourself in that sort of situation. Yeah — I’d do it [laughs].
Where I hailed him: 
Where he hails from:
Years as a cabbie:
“Longer than you’ve been alive”
Previous profession:
Yes. I would do it. The guy, he had diabetes and he got sick because his blood sugar got too low so he fainted and fell down into the tracks. I would have gone after him, too. No, I wouldn’t have been scared. I would have done it differently, though. I wouldn’t have jumped on top of him. I would have slung him over my back and carried him out of the way.

Where I hailed him:
Midtown East
Where he hails from:
Years as a cabbie:
Previous profession:
Factory worker
The man is really a saint. Would you do something like that? I know I certainly wouldn’t. The subway kind of scares me. I even get paranoid about just standing near the tracks.  And this guy jumps down on his own, right into the middle of the tracks… with a train coming right at him? Unbelievable. Maybe I could help someone in another way. I try to help people in my job. Well, the good people anyway!  If someone’s really late, I try my best to get them there on time. The other night I drove a girl all over town, because she was so drunk she didn’t know where she lived. I finally asked for her driver’s license and figured out where we were going. Then I made sure the doorman took care of her. That was a little risky, you know? A cab driver basically carrying a young woman up to her building… I couldn’t jump in front of a train though. Now that guy is brave!
Where I hailed him:
West Village
Where hails from:
Years as a cabbie:
Previous profession:
Who is this? The subway? I do not like the subway. No.
Where I hailed him:
Murray Hil
Where hails from:
Years as a cabbie:
Previous profession:
The subway man could have a free ride in this cab at any time. It would be my honor! The world is not so nice sometimes. People get unlucky, but sometimes they get lucky. The man that fell into the tracks was very lucky that someone so courageous would save him. Yes, a hero rides for free with me.

11/07/07 12:00am

Our favorite movie most people haven’t seen is Begley’s Dream, an epic late-70s action-adventure starring a young Rutger Hauer alongside Dyan Cannon as they embark on a post-Apocalyptic, cross-country race against time to save the “Chosen One” from Canadian barbarians. Trivia fun fact: The Chosen One is played by infant Kirk Cameron.

Where she presides:
The House, Gramercy
Favorite drink: Watermelon Mojito
I don’t know. I guess City of God? But everyone knows that one.  Here, ask the bus boy!  [Ed. The Bus Boy replies, “Hmmm… Masculin, Feminin? No, I’ll go with Withnail and I. It’s Bruce Robinson being derivative of Peter Greenaway.]
Where she presides:
Matchless, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Whiskey, one ice cube
You know what movie you can’t find that I think should be in every video store everywhere? Zazie Dans le Metro. It’s a French movie about a little girl — she gets lost in the subway. It’s a beautiful movie that you could probably watch and rewatch again and again, but it’s not on Netflix, it’s not in any video stores — it’s really hard to find.

Where she presides:
Belmont Lounge, Union Square
Favorite drink: Beer, Jameson
I guess most people probably have heard of it, but I’d have to say Run, Lola, Run. It’s 90 minutes of cinematic fun. Pop-art with a capital P!
Where he presides: Channel 4, Midtown
Favorite drink: Sambuca
Football Factory. It’s about soccer hooligans. It’s really big over in Europe, but no one has ever seen it over here.
Where she presides:
Galaxy Global Eatery, Irving Place
Favorite drink: Margarita
I’d have to say Fantastic Planet. It’s French animation from the 70s. The drawing is wonderful and the plot is kind of a Cold War allegory. You should check it out!
Where she presides:
Soft Spot, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Patron gimlet on the rocks
One of my favorite movies is Being There with Peter Sellars. I know that a ton of people have seen that movie, but I don’t think that many people of my generation have.

10/24/07 12:00am

Ok, we’ll play along. Our death row meal would be a nice toasted cheese sandwich and a cup of Sanka. We don’t really ask much of this mortal coil — a little comfort, a little fun, a little bourbon. Is that so wrong?
Where she presides:
Dewey’s Flatiron, Flatiron
Favorite drink: Beer, tequila
I’m a big fan of sushi, so I’d go with a spread from Go Wasabi — it’s the best sushi place in (Astoria).
Where he presides:
Turkey’s Nest, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Black coffee?
I’d like to have a tossed salad to start. Then a shrimp cocktail, a nice salmon steak, some garlic mashed potatoes, then a piece of apple pie — à la mode, of course — and then a couple of cups of black coffee. And then you could hang me in the morning.
Where he presides:
John Street Bar & Grill, Downtown
Favorite drink: Corona
Just a steak and a potato I guess. Probably a good shell steak, medium rare, and a baked potato. Then send me off to the chair. 

Where she presides:
Agave, West Village
Favorite drink: Organic agave nectar margarita
For the meal, I’d have the Kobe beef fajitas we make here. They’re really something special. To drink? I’d have that favorite margarita of mine, because that’d be something nice to have right before you die.
Where he presides:
Failte, Murray Hill
Favorite drink: Cider
Lambchops… and that’s it. Just plain and simple, that’s it. Straight up lamb chops. [A little mint jelly? asks our intrepid correspondent] Nope. They’ve got enough flavor as it is. That would be it. I’m a simple guy. [And who would you have cook them?] My mom! No one’s cooking tastes better than your mom’s.
Where he presides:
The Diamond, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Sinebrychoff Porter
I would probably have my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner. No white meat (just brown), cranberries, stuffing, turkey. There’s all this wacky interesting stuff that you get to have all the time living in New York, but Thanksgiving you only get to have once
a year. Also it’s coming up, so it’s on my mind
right now.

10/10/07 12:00am

Generally, we tell people our first concert was U2, in 1986 — because that’s not so bad right? But in truth, it was actually Tiffany, which really isn’t very cool. What can we say, we liked a girl, so we went. Twas ever thus.
Where she presides:
Subway, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Absolut Ruby Red and tonic
I saw Soul Asylum and Screaming Trees at my first concert. I’m from California — I saw them play at this theme park, at Six Flags. That was like the only place my mom would let me go unsupervised at that age. It was fun… it was cool.
Where he presides:
Macri Park, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Maker’s on the rocks
John Cougar Mellencamp. It was in Nashville in 1986. My parents were big Mellencamp fans. I went with them. It was at the Starwood Amphitheater — that was like the biggest place around then. I had a blast. To this day it’s still one of my favorite concerts. I used to actually play Little League baseball with his nephew. He [the nephew] was hilarious. I remember once he got kicked out of a game for telling the ump he “didn’t know his ass from his elbow.”

Where she presides:
Doc Holiday’s, East Village
Favorite drink: Jameson
[Before Alyssa will answer our intrepid correspondent’s question, she requests that he buy her a drink. Which, being a perfect gentleman in every way, he does.] Bon Jovi. It was in New Jersey — where else would you go to see a Bon Jovi concert? It was good times. My friend lost her anal virginity to John Denver. [This last part is, of course, a propos of nothing, really, but, well, it seems like the sort of thing you, gentle reader, might wish to know.]
Where she presides:
The Hog Pit, Meatpacking District
Favorite drink: Vodka soda
I saw Debbie Gibson when I was seven. I was obsessed! I begged my mom for tickets for months and months. Then, I think it was the New Kids. Then, I think, Steve Miller.
Where he presides:
Ara, Meatpacking District
Favorite drink: Tequila
I saw Depeche Mode in Seattle back in 1980-something… I wasn’t really into them; my friends dragged me along. A few years ago, the band actually came to my bar while they were in town. Nice guys.

09/26/07 12:00am

He’s a ninth-grade dropout turned backup dancer turned failed pop star. She’s a dimwit former Mouseketeer turned successful pop star turned failed pop star. Together, they bred. Twice! Now, he dabbles in professional wrestling stunts, while she experiments with naked house-cleaning and drug abuse. Who’ll get to raise the spawn? 

Where she presides:
Mark Bar, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Doesn’t drink
I would give it to Kevin Federline. I think, probably, if Britney knew what was going on, she would choose Kevin, too.
Where she presides:
Blind Pig, East Village
Favorite drink: Washington Apple (Crown Royal, Apple Pucker, cranberry juice)
I’m a diehard Britney fan. I’m going to stick with her to the end.
Where she presides:
Le Zie, Chelsea
Favorite drink: Watermelon lemonade
Definitely Britney… I don’t think she’s as bad as the press makes her out to be. Not that I’m a fan or anything. Just so you know!

Where he presides:
Crocodile Lounge, East Village
Favorite drink: Maker’s Mark
Ah, Jesus, that’s  really a tough one. Well, I’m going to have to say Kevin Federline, I guess. Because Britney Spears is just a waste of flesh. Which I guess would make the baby half a waste of flesh. Actually, you know what — neither of them should have custody. They should give me the baby and I’ll sell it on eBay.
Where he presides:
Iggy’s, LES
Favorite drink: Maker’s Mark
I don’t know much about those idiots. I live on the Lower East Side, man. No one cares about that here. Fuck ‘em. [But think of the children! exhorts our intrepid correspondent] Whatever. Natural selection.
Where she presides:
Flight 151, Chelsea
Favorite drink: Captain and soda
I think Federline should get custody. I read today she’s walking around naked with the kids and doing drugs? She’s emotionally unstable, not fit to be a mother. She’s had her chance right? Time to let him try to be the better grownup.

09/12/07 12:00am

Like us freelance writers, most city bartenders value their daytime freedom. The envy of our office-ensnared friends, we’re at liberty to catch Wednesday matinee screenings, seek out free concerts, or, say, pop into the Frick just because we can. You’ll be happy to know that bartenders actually take advantage of these opportunities… unlike this daytime vagrant who can’t miss The Price is Right, Days of Our Lives, or the Charlie Rose rerun we’ve already seen the night before.
Where she presides:
Jack O’Neill’s, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Vodka Seabreeze
I just went to the MoMA with my cousin the other day. When you first enter the museum, there’s a sculpture of a naked family. We were looking at it, and I realized it kind of looked like my cousin’s family. I said, “Look, it’s the [family name redacted]!” Things were pretty uncomfortable after that, but I still liked the sculpture. Next week, I’m headed to the Whitney to check out the psychedelic art exhibit. If you’d have asked me for the next issue, I’d have gone with that.
Where he presides:
Waterfront Ale House, Murray Hill
Favorite drink: Hard Cider
[To truly appreciate this entry, it helps to know that Guy is a gray-haired, salty-looking old bastard who at the beginning of the interview briefly peered down over the top of his glasses and fixed our intrepid correspondent with perhaps the most obliteratingly dismissive glance one man has ever given another. Then he went back to his newspaper, from which he only once looked up throughout the interview.] I went to the new space museum up on 73rd or 83rd. I hadn’t been there. They just reopened last year. [Anything there you liked?] Nah.

Where she presides:
Mark Bar, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Not a drinker
PS1. I try to go quite a bit. They try to feature artists who use technology as a medium. I like that. My favorite exhibit lately was a model of a jail cell with four video screens on each wall, showing what an inmate would see in his daily life. There was also a big clock in the background of the videos. I thought it was pretty powerful. 
Where he presides:
Kabin, East Village
Favorite drink: Mind Eraser
I actually went to the Whitney and saw the Summer of Love exhibit. They did like a Joshua Tree thing, showing the lights there. They also had a thing about the Fillmore East — which was actually right across the street from here — and all the bands and people who started there, like Janis Joplin and everyone, really.
Where she presides:
CoCo66, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Mojito
I was at MoMA for the Richard Serra exhibit. I’m not really sure which piece I liked best. [A regular chimes in: “Maybe the big hunk of metal? That one?”] 
Where she presides:
Van Gogh Radio Lounge, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Cosmopolitan
The Natural History Museum. I really loved the Tyrannosaurus Rex. He’s reared up on his feet, and he’s gigantic!

08/29/07 12:00am

When it comes to fashion, bartenders in this town hew closely to Mars Blackmon’s second theory of aerodynamics: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” Stands to reason, we suppose… If you were on your feet all night, fending off demanding dypsomaniacs like ourselves, you’d probably place a premium on your choice of footwear, too.
Where he presides:
Wish 26, Chelsea
Favorite drink: Glenmorangie
My cross trainers. They’re multi-purpose shoes. I can wear them to work, at the gym, running outside, hiking… You name it. I’ve got several pairs.
Where he presides:
La Piazetta, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Stoli Orange and tonic
All my vintage caps. They’re not fitted, just adjustable. No sports teams either. It’s a good collection.
Where she presides:
West 25th, Chelsea
Favorite drink: Vodka tonic, pineapple splash
My Converse: the white pair. But they’re not white anymore because I wear them everywhere.
Where she presides:
Grassroots Tavern, East Village
Favorite drink: Finlandia and Tonic
You’re asking the wrong person, kid. Do I look I’m into fashion? [Ed.  Neither are we, lady. We’re just doing our job here.] If you need an answer just say my old blue jeans.

Where he presides:
Macri Park, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Woodford Reserve, rocks
Well, actually I had a pair of boxers that my last couple girlfriends thought were, um, really cool for about two or three minutes apiece. [Ed. Details of boxer-pattern redacted.] I’ve also got a shirt that I wore for about ten years before my girlfriend put it into permanent retirement.
Where she presides:
The Subway, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Scotch
My Adidas Sambas… They’re the best shoe on Earth! I’ve been wearing them for about 13 years, ever since I played youth soccer. I wear them just about every day, too.
Where he presides:
Lunasa, East Village
Favorite drink: Captain Morgan’s
My retro Nikes: they’re a pretty cool pair of kicks. They’re not hightops… more like three-quarters. I’ve pretty much worn them out, but I don’t want a new pair. I guess I’ll just wear them till they fall apart.
Where he presides:
Fanny, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: La Fin Du Monde
My Blundstones… They’re Australian working boots. I’m in construction so I’ve got to have them. You can buy them in Australia for 50 bucks, but here they cost about $150. I picked up several pairs the last time I was there, and now I’m set for a couple years at least.