Sad goodbye to Mare Chiaro
Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:36 PM
A very large, high-ceilinged, rectangular room, roughly divided into two areas by a wooden partition, it boasted a solid old bar, illogically stretched across the narrow end of the room nearest the door. This meant that if there was any kind of crowd - and to be honest, there rarely was - it would be clustered around the short bar, leaving the rest of the space pretty much empty. It was a cigar-smokers bar, when that was permitted, with a sweet-smelling fug. Most of the male customers were no strangers to hair cream and pomades. The juke box played not only Frank Sinatra, but also all those Italian singers you've never heard of who had once hoped to be Frank Sinatra.
A large painting of the bar in its heyday, featuring the then owner, hung on the wall opposite the door, alongside a full-length portrait of a gentleman I believe was his father. The huge mirrors behind the bar were messed up with a few wise-guy stickers and some photos of customers. An odd assortment of furniture was scattered about the tiled floor.
So, I am walking past this institution on Saturday morning, when I notice that the windows are uncommonly full of posters. Looking up, my heart sank. It is no longer Mare Chiaro. It is "The Mulberry Tavern". Among other things, the posters propose Karaoke Nights and chicken in a basket. The penultimate insult was a large photograph of "Tony Soprano", signalling unmistakeably that what had once been a Little Italy bar had now become a "Little Italy" bar.
Inside the saloon, now crowded with tourists, looking beyond seven or eight flat-screen TVs showing a rodeo event, I found the ultimate insult. The portrait of the owner's father still hangs as before. But right across the bottom half, someone with the soul of a snake-oil salesman, had pasted the upcoming football schedule.
You don't know what you've got till it's gone.
***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.
If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.
Posted 13 December 2004 - 04:28 PM
"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.
"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."
Posted 13 December 2004 - 04:40 PM
I *loved* that bar. Damn.
"Finally something intelligent."