So over the last few weeks, there’s been an interesting development. A strange looking faux-thatched roof has gone up on 51st between Broadway and 8th over the old Blue Chili/Siam Inn space (apologies for the overexposed photo, but I assure you that there is actually thatchy-stuff up there):
Anyway, then someone in the neighborhood said it was related to the old late lamented McHale’s, which didn’t make sense to me. When McHale’s was destroyed to make way for another generic Midtown highrise, it was kind of hard to imagine Jimmy McHale starting over elsewhere. He’d inherited the bar, and ran it like home, with the best B.L.T. in town and the best ass-kicking bartenders you could ever hope to come across.
I remember being kind of crushed when I saw one of the McHale’s chicks selling drinks at intermission at a Broadway show. It was a demeaning step down for the young ladies who ran McHale’s like a tight ship (I particularly liked the bartender who always wore the Posada t-shirt). I mumbled to her sotto voce “McHale’s, right?” and she solemnly nodded. Brutal.
It wasn’t a place that could be replicated. It was a place that was exactly what it was.
Then I saw over at Jeremiah’s that others were hearing the same rumor I had heard, and then I read that the rumor had been debunked, and that it was really going to be a fake “new McHale’s” run by the Playwright folks. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Playwright just fine. But I hate this idea. What’s the point? The people who care will complain that it pales in comparison to the real McHale’s (and certainly our collective memory of it) and the people who didn’t know McHale’s won’t care about what it’s called. At least it’s only a block away from McHale’s neon sign, which is resident at Emmett O’Lunney’s.
So here, in all it’s glory, is the new joint:
Hate it, right?