Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Concerning Bar Identity

Question- in a time of economic disarray, if the local bar moves does it retain any of it's prior identity? From the New York Times:
But if drinking and dining have always been a moveable feast in New York, is charisma cartable? Can the character of everything from venerable pubs to palatial eateries migrate with their names and owners? This portability issue has gained new urgency in a season of economic disarray, when property owners are less willing to extend the leases of even the most beloved old-timers. New York is so provincial, three blocks is a huge distance.
In New York, the cultural ramifications of a move are huge and the cross currents of the biggest building boom and economic crises in decades does not bode well for the local haunt or the over comfortable regular. Changing scene in Brooklyn has arguably eclipsed Manhattan. You find yourself routinely at a loss for all the new local spots mushrooming and at the same time lamenting that you now "hate the crowd" at most of the spots you've been anchored to for years. Here, the cultural turnover of a neighborhood has to be approaching the speed of light. It's not simply the old guard versus the transplants, it's the transplants versus the transplants too. I always assume that what makes a bar so great to be in is the place itself. A place built by the wear and tear of the clientele over the years. In New York, this often means a holdover from another era, heightening one's sense of legacy. In truth it is the balance of a predictable and familiar clientele with a storied room and bar. The local question is, will the "local" be part of the vernacular in the coming years in an atmosphere of rapid economic turnover and an increasingly transitory populace?

Hat tip: phronesisaical
Image: Rosemary's Tavern/NYMag

No comments: