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Thursday, March 31, 2005


John Wilkes Booth Had A Point?: The Horrors of the Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center is a large mall-like object located next to Columbus Circle, on 59th Street and Central Park West. (The SW corner of the park). The upper floor appears to be devoted to jazz, and since musical wanking does not appeal to me, I gave this area a miss. (Besides, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have let me in without a necktie).

The only other bar in this place is called the Stone Rose. This BTW was the name of a talentless but inexplicably popular Britband of the early 1990s: imagine a very, very buggy beta version of Oasis. The parallel is not gratuitous: the Stone Rose is a very, very buggy beta version of a lounge bar. Specifically, it is the very, very buggy beta version of the piano bar on the top floor of the London Hilton (a bar in NYC beaten out by a bar in la cita dolente! Oh, the humanity!)

My first impression was that this place was reminiscent of the style bars in Camps Bay, Capetown, with the difference that the Camps Bay bars have a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean, whilst this place has a stunning view of... a traffic circle. The drinks are overpriced ($8 for a small Heineken, which BTW the bar staff snatched away half-full when my back was turned), but that wouldn't be a problem if the clientele was good. The clientele was not good. We're talking rotund warpigs, 4s who think they're 9s, mutton dressed up as... mutton. (Another difference from Camps Bay: Camps Bay attracts genuine hotties; the Stone Rose set are lukewarmies, if that).

I sat down on a stool by the window and scanned the room. After a couple of minutes one of the bar staff came up and told me "Excuse me, we need this stool." I was so shocked that I let him take it.

You know, one thing that has surprised me about NYC is the general level of courtesy and politeness, which is far higher than London. NYC of course has a legendary reputation for rudeness and I wondered where it had happened to all this famous attitude. Now I know. The bar staff at the Stone Rose have apparently sucked all the rudeness out of Manhattan and are using it themselves. It's safe to say that pigs will fly over the frozen landscape of hell before I go back to the Stone Rose.

(Though this is actually not the worst bar I have ever been in. There was that one place in my hometown of Necktie (the Sewer of Scotland) filled with foul-smelling oldsters crazed on Tennants Eighty-Shilling (a beer that tastes exactly the same going down as it does coming back up). On the whole, I'd rather be in the Stone Rose).

But I would far rather be in the place I went to take the taste of the Stone Rose out of my mouth. It's called Snafu, and it's just off Lex somewhere in the high 40s (I think). This is what a bar should be: relaxed with vibe. It's vaguely out of place on that somewhat-nothing part of the East Side, but if you're in the neighbourhood, well worth a visit. (Apart from anything else, the girls are way better looking than at Stone Rose).

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