(Note: Last week I mentioned how my sister Angela, of www.applelopez.com, came to Connecticut. New York City is less than 2 hours away and we spent the day just walking around our old home. In the 1990s and early 2000 my sister and I lived in New York and it will always hold a special place in our hearts. )
In the late 1990s I was first introduced to the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” in the East Village of New York City. The 1990s was still a time when the East Village was rough around the edges because it was not gentrified. It had a seedy coolness about it.
Along side of the druggies, you would see artists, ravers, families, bankers, marketers, college students of all walks of life and ethnicities. It was such a refreshing mixing bowl.
The Holiday Cocktail Lounge was so unique because it did not care about it’s appearances. There was a juke box in the corner and age old booths and bar seats.
When I use to go there the owner, Stefan Lutak, was the bartender, the busser, cashier and everything. He was grouchy, but he served the cheapest and best drinks. The Johnny Walker Black on the rocks was just $2.50 when other places were selling it at that time for at least $7.00. You felt you were in a real New York institution.
I introduced Michael, my husband, to the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” during our first date in 2001. He said he knew I was “the one” because I took him to a dive instead of one of the trendier Soho or Meat Packing District establishment.
Michael also got a chance to get serviced by the original owner Stefan. We already moved out of New York City when Stefan died in 2009. Michael and I both feel so blessed that we got a chance to be in the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” when it was just a bear bones place. Michael also felt so fortunate that he got to live in the East Village when it still was interesting.
In the year 2000 and beyond the East Village became more mainstream and gentrified. Many of the divey bars closed its doors and it was replaced with trendy and hip watering holes.
During our visit to New York we were eagerly going to the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” for a drink and to reminisce over the olden days. We were so sad when we saw a sign outside saying it was closed for good. The closing of this New York institution marks the true end of an era.
“Holiday Cocktail Lounge” you were one of a kind! We miss you!