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Marions


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I know. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is fixed in stone. Nothing stays the same.

 

Marions was a wonderful place. A charming character. A tribute to tacky kitchiness that developed naturally. Or at least appeared to, unlike places like Blue Smoke or the Spotted Pig where some investors called up their designer and ordered their restaurant from Pottery Barn. ("I'd like an English pub please, Welsh perhaps, or perhaps Manchesterian, 1940s-ish WWII era deco, but let's throw in a little paris bistro feel, shall we? for the kids. And it must have a panini maker and a sushi station.") Founded by Marion, a model, socialite, glam gal, it celebrated its 50th Birthday a few years back. It's walls were lined by plates, signed with the unfamiliar names of guests from years ago. Other areas were covered with clippings of print ads featuring Marion, badly drawn pictures of JFK, strange family pictures of apparently random familys. There were plastic palm trees. christmas lights in July. And very large, good drinks.

 

Apparently, someone running Marions believed that what the East Village really needs is a lounge. You know. Like all the other lounges that have sprung up like the pox. The plates are gone and most of the walls are painted a burnt orangish. The palm trees and christmas ornaments have been replaced by stark, contemporary fixtures hanging from the ceiling. The seats are now plastice, green & orange (kind of like Microsoft's colors). I believe we were listening to Destiny's Child. MacMurphy has been given his lobotomy.

 

Along with the menus, we were given a mid-sized, brown envelope. On the outside is written something like: "By opening this envelope you agree that you are comfortable with adult themes, that the morals of your community do not object to mature blah blah blah." Inside was the "XXX" drink list. Things like the Twisted Nipple; The Purple Pussy; and Hairy Nuts. Oh god. If you want to lure the post-college upper east side lets get drunk fondle and puke crowd why not just put up some neon Coors Bullet signs in the window.

 

BURN IT.

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And nothing is fixed for Stone.

 

Listen, we need to start a lobby group, and the name has to be Save Our Bars (or SOB, appropriately enough). First it was Phebe's across the street - and there was no better place to get maudlin drunk while staring at broken linoleum - and now Marion's. When I first started coming to New York, these (along with the Bowery Bar) were the only places to drink on the Bowery (not counting the sidewalk, if you had a paper bag). Now I see "Oirish" bars springing up everywhere, alongside flashy lounges (or "discotheques", as they might as well be called.

 

It's the old dilemma. I understand businesses need to make money, and I certainly don't expect the Bowery to remain a dead end street forever. But the point is - I have never seen Marion's less than very busy. This sounds like just a horrible lapse of judgment.

 

The city hasn't been the same since the Holland Bar took the old beer mats off the wall. :D

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  • 7 months later...

The menu has been re-vamped as well as the decor. Marion's was useful as one of the only places right on the Bowery where it was possible to stop off for a cocktail and a simple bar snack like quesadillas or a burger. At least two big sports bars, with pool tables, have recently opened: one, Crime Scene, sends out for food; the other, down towards Delancey, seems to have a kitchen (can't remember the name).

 

Anyway, risking Marion's last night, I discovered only a fancy schmancy menu, bearing the chef's name no less. I tried the braised rabbit with prunes. Pretty awful. Tough - cooked too fast, I suspect, because the prunes remained chewy and sticky rather than properly rehydrated. Also vinegary and salty. Service was AWOL. My mistake.

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