The Bar: Guertins
The Address 139 Grand Street
The Day and the TIme Saturday at 6:30
The price 4
Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No. I got gin. I got tonic. I got a glass. Should I expect such additional amenities? I don’t think so.
What was the type of gin It was Tanqueray. This is a nice drink for the price.
What was the gin and tonic like: It was strong, but not too strong. Not a bad gin and tonic. My friend Sal was sitting next to me and said “Watch this” as it was being poured. The bartender gave me a couple inches of gin and then stopped. Sal said, “Last time we were here, the bartender didn’t stop there, the booze went almost to the top of the glass. You’re lucky.”
The Joint When I first started this tour, my friends Saloon Owner Salvatore and Chanteuse Cheryl said I had to go to Guertin’s. It is a great old bar, but I shouldn’t go alone. As Sal said to me, “A lot of the bad bars in the area closed, so all those bad people go to Guertin’s.” That as nice of them to say, but I went to Pleasant Cafe by myself, this would have been fine, but company is always swell to have. They pointed out the great old touches of the joint, like the stain glass above the bar that seems to have patch work penis type shapes in them. (Always a conducive sight to heavy drinking) Sal was upset that they had taken out some of the other old time touches, and put in a space devouring pool table. The bar is long and solid, its a nice place to lean against with a drink. With all these new improved detriments, the place has a great old saloon charm. I liked being there.
“You should check out the bathroom” Sal said to me. This is never something I want to be told at a dive bar (or most other places for that matter) But who I am to say no? I went in and instead of urinals there was that old style communal trough, the kind made of porcelain. Sal had a story about the bathroom here. A long time ago he was here having a few drinks with a friend who waitressed at another bar. This was the first time the friend was in Guertin’s. He told her he was going to use the men’s room, and that it was something to see. She said she wanted to see it then. She went in, looked around and began to lay down in the trough. She stretched out in it, she made poses in. Afterwards, Sal was amazed, he said he couldn’t believe she laid down in the urinal. The girl was aghast, that was a urinal she asked. She thought it was a bathtub.
General Impressions: There was loud people at the bar, one woman in particular was so loud I lost the conversation I was having with Cheryl and Sal. Two guys started raising voices at each other, but that soon subsided. As we were there, a handful of folk became more as the evening progressed. This was before Halloween so people were supposed to come in costume. A couple came in as a gangster and a moll. I am fascinated with costume parties at bars. That this is the place you want to dress up as a zombie in, or a naughty meter maid. This is the safe place for you to embrace your inner Gilligan or Skipper.
It was fun being there. It felt like a bar. It was loud like a bar. Too bad about the pool table though, it did eat up the floor. There was a sense of danger, of possible violence. But I have seen worse on this tour. Actually, the only bar fight I have ever witnessed was at a TGIFridays, so what’s really wrong with a bar with true style?
Have I said recently that I am loving being on this tour? I never even heard of this bar before I started my gin and tonic quest, let alone gone to look for and enter it. There are people who call it home, some I might not want to hang out with, but it has enough personality to make people call it their bar, their place. Isn’t that worth celebrating and discovering? It was also great to celebrate my 50th bar with friends. They asked if I had been to George’s the bar attached to Coney Island Hot Dog. I told them I had not. Can you guess what will be the 51st bar on the tour?
Amount of Time in the Joint 30 minutes
Will I come back I don’t think so, but I could be arm twisted into a late afternoon drink with someone interested. The place was kind of cool. Glad to have gone, but I can imagine never returning there. I am sure they will miss my company desperately.