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Wednesday
Feb292012

My Last Supper At Bill's Gay Nineties

I haven’t been to Bill’s Gay Nineties on TWM yet and decided I should go soon. Rumors started swirling last year that Bill’s is going to be bought out by restauranteur John DeLucie, whom I and many others fear would wreck the joint if he takes it over. On February 10th, Lost City reported that they’ve heard it’s a done deal. I’ve heard the same thing from various people and decided I better get in there before this happens. I’ve never eaten in Bill’s and I’m meeting my friends, The Duncester and Shawn Chittle there tonight for what could very well be a last supper at Bill’s Gay Nineties. The Duncester was inspired by my Mad Men tour and said he’s wearing a suit tonight. Not to be outdone, Shawn and I decided to dress up as well. Hey, if this is a last supper, may as well go out in style and with a smile!

Here we are, Bill's Gay Nineties, it's always like a trip back in time walking in here.

And it's through the swinging saloon doors we go, into Bill's.

And as usual the bar is packed, but I see a small opening so I'm going to grab it.

And here's Tom the bartender. Tom confirmed the sad news that the nights for Bill's in this location are numbered. The last day it's open is March 24th. It seems that the landlord isn't going to renew the lease and someone else is going to take over. The landlord hasn't revealed who this someone else is, but all bets are on John DeLucie, even though it's been denied in the press. My question is why would the landlord deny Bill's lease when they pack them in nightly...

I mean check it out and this is a Tuesday night! The good news is that Tom told me that they're moving the whole operation somewhere nearby. Stay tuned for details! In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my last night at Bill's.

And here's a blast from my 365 past, it's Marc who was bartending the night I came in for the 365 bar crawl! Great to see him again!

I love the vintage boxing photos on the wall's in here.

And the framed original Broadway playbills are classic as well.

Okay, Shawn and the Duncester should be here any minute, so time to move to our table in the back.

And here we are, The Three Amigos! From the left: The Duncester, Yours Fooly and Shawn Chittle. Shawn broke out a tuxedo for the evening, he doesn't fuck around!

Chittle...Shawn Chittle, shaken, not stirred!

And here's Bill's piano man, Elliot Paul with the Duncester.

Here's our charming and lovely waitress Maureen, who's worked at Bill's for years.

And the food arrives! The Duncester got the cheeseburger and fries.

Shawn got the filet...

And I got the crab cakes. The food was delicious, our compliments to the chef!

And Elliot starts the first song of the evening. He has an impressive song list that ranges from The Rolling Stones, to Billy Joel to Frank Sinatra and everyone in between. A great and talented piano man!

And at the end of the evening, we were lucky to be joined at our table by Bill's proprietress Barbara Bart. Barbara's run this place since her father passed away in 1979. She told us that there will be a new Bill's in the future, not far from this location. Look for updates here and on Bill's website. The good news is that Barbara owns all the memorabilia and antiques in Bill's and they and the staff will be transported to the new location. I can't wait for opening night!

And as the empty's stack up, time to call it a night at Bill's. Thanks To Barbara, Tom, Marc, Elliot, Rich, Shawn and The Duncester for a great last night at Bill's. I look forward to many more at the new location!

Bill's Gay Nineties

Further Reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Village Voice and Eater NY.

Well it's all right, everything'll work out fine,
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!

---------------------------------------------

Bonus Photos by Shawn Chittle!

Shawn sent in some photos he took last night and here they are. Great shots, Shawn! Thanks for sending them and for hanging out last night!

Bonus Linkage!

My friend Gidget is tweaking her blog and yesterday posted a story about how she met and became friends with legendary radio personality, Rodney Bingenheimer. I’ve bugged her for a long time to write this and she did a great job, check it out here:
Gidget Bates Crap She Spews.

And don’t forget to tune in to “The Secret Weapon” on Woody Radio. DJ Gidget hosts the show and “Boris” picks the tunes, it’s a great show and you’ll hear music that you’ve probably never heard and will want to hear over and over!

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Reader Comments (32)

A Good News/Bad News post if there ever was one ! ........ a great place is being shut down :( -- but they get to start over at a nearby spot ! ...... that is great ! I'll be in NYC that closing weekend - but I doubt I'll be able to fit inside the bar -- unless I make it my first stop on Saturday the 24th ?

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

You WOULD have to post a picture of that magnificent fillet the day before I get two teeth drilled and filled and another one PULLED! I'M GOING TO TO BE LIVING ON SOUP AND YOGURT FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS! Grrrr.......

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Heartbreaking. Is nothing sacred? Next thing you know they'll kick the catholic church out of St. Patrick's Cathedral to make way for a another location of Eataly.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I had never been there but I feel as if another heart of New York is vanishing. How much can be left, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge? Nothing else really...

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMykola Mick Dementiuk

@GENE: It sure is good news/bad news, it's a damn shame the landlord is too stupid to renew the lease when the place packs them in nightly, but I'm glad they're going to keep the Bill's tradition alive elsewhere. And yes, I would make it your first stop on the 24th!

@Jaws: Sorry to hear about the tooth loss! I'll put a picture up of some yogurt tomorrow! Good luck with the choppers!

@Jason: When it comes to landlords in this city, nothing is sacred! I like your St. Pat's analogy, perfect!

@Mykola Mick Dementiuk: Very true!

February 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Looking good gentleman! You guys do spiffed up well. Sad about the closing, but good for Barbara for keeping it going somewhere else. Wish her the best of luck!

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkari

SUITS!
and a tux.. very James Bond
Love it. I wore suits once..

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Very happy it's moving to another location. Hopefully the mystique transfers with it. I'll head over there before it closes in the next couple weeks. Thanks for the post and update!

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpike

@Kari: Thanks! And I echo the best of luck to Barbara and to the whole crew at Bill's! I look forward to the new opening!

@Melanie: Yes, we had to dress for the occasion and Shawn went all out with the tux!

@Spike: No problem, check it out while you can and check their website for news about the new opening.

February 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Marty, You dapper Mother Fucker, you Guyz classed up the place. You & the Duncester have some fine Art ties.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny the Freelancer

Wow, I haven’t been to Bill’s in years.

“My question is why would the landlord deny Bill's lease when they pack them in nightly...”
Greed, Marty…pure unadulterated greed.

“Chittle...Shawn Chittle, shaken, not stirred!”
Gin or Vodka?

“And at the end of the evening, we were lucky to be joined at our table by Bill's proprietress Barbara Bart. Barbara's run this place since her father passed away in 1979. She told us that there will be a new Bill's in the future, not far from this location. Look for updates here and on Bill's website. The good news is that Barbara owns all the memorabilia and antiques in Bill's and they and the staff will be transported to the new location. I can't wait for opening night!”
That is very good news indeed!

Between The Duncester, Marty, Shawn Chittle in suits and the jockey (who incidentally at one time was black): I’m reminded of:

♫ Wo, are we movin' too slow?
Have you seen us,
Uncle Remus . . .
We look pretty sharp in these clothes (yes, we do)
Unless we get sprayed with a hose
It ain't bad in the day
If they squirt it your way
'Cept in the winter, when it's froze
An' it's hard if it hits
On yer nose
On yer nose

Just keep yer nose
To the grindstone, they say
Will that redeem us,
Uncle Remus . . .
I can't wait till my Fro is full-grown
I'll just throw 'way my Doo-Rag at home
I'll take a drive to BEVERLY HILLS
Just before dawn
An' knock the little jockeys
Off the rich people's lawn
An' before they get up
I'll be gone, I'll be gone
Before they get up
I'll be knocking the jockeys off the lawn
Down in the dew ♫

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

R.I.P.

Davy Jones

:(

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

I know restauranteuring is a cutthroat business, but it does seem counter intuitive. If you pack a location long enough, your lease is going to go sky high. Good luck to Bill's and their staff.
(That's why whenever I open a storefront/bar/restaurant business, I buy the whole building. I also convert my houses into hotels from all my money from passing Go.)
Speedy recovery Jaws.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@Danny the Freelancer: Thanks! It's my one and only tie!

@Martin: Regarding the landlord, I think he's going to find out that karma is a real and dangerous thing to fuck with! There's ghosts in there and I have a feeling they're not going to be happy with the change! Shawn's martini was vodka and smooth as silk! Great lyrics!

@GENE: I just heard! R.I.P. Davy Jones!

@csp: I'm a business idiot myself, but it just doesn't make sense not to renew a lease of a successful and well-liked business. But what do I know, I never won at Monopoly unless I cheated!

February 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

It was a dry vodka martini with olives - my first in 5 years and the smoothest martini I've ever had. Thanks so much to Marty and Co and Bill's for a bittersweet night...

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawn Chittle

@TWM: No worries. Creating a monopoly is by definition cheating, so actually, you're doing it right. Better get more ties.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@Shawn: Thanks so much for coming out and you outdid yourself with the tuxedo! Perfect! And yes, bittersweet is the word, indeed!

@csp: I'm going tie shopping now, hopefully the 99 cent store has a good selection!

February 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Sad that so many cool places close down! You guys sure looked like some fancy boys! Food looked great with a warm decor! Any places left for a first time Milwaukee fuck?

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterProfessor Dungpie

@Professor Dungpie: A fanciful night for sure! I'll let you know when Barbara opens up the new Bill's and you can plan your trip around that, hopefully it's going to be soon!

February 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

So happy to hear that Bill's has already found a new home. TO BARBARA!

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Biff: The details are still somewhat up in the air, but I'll let you know what I hear and keep your eyeballs on their website. And yes, TO BARBARA! And everyone else at Bill's!

February 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Too bad it is closing/relocating, it looks like a cool place.

The piano guy Elliot looks disturbingly like Jackie Martling from the old Howard Stern Show.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveW

If I could whistle, I would - looking good gentleman! I love that you did a Mad Men style farewell. Cheers!
(Also - have to love a TW song at the end...I do love my George any way I can get him!)

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBritta

@DaveW: I'm sad it's closing, but hopeful for the reincarnation!

@Britta: Thanks! And glad you liked the song selection!

March 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Hey, Marty's wearing a suit and tie! Wonders never cease!

March 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

@Chris: True! And ceases never wonder! Good to hear from you!

March 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

“My question is why would the landlord deny Bill's lease when they pack them in nightly...”
-because the landlord is a starfucker and he thinks john delucie is going to be packing the ceeelbrities in on a Tuesday night in Midtown? Good luck douchebag. Bill's is a joint. The best joint in Manhattan as a matter of fact.

March 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Gillis

@Jeff Gillis: I agree wholeheartedly! Bill's is a true joint and the landlord may find out that when he fills the place up with Kim Kardashians that they all expect to be comped.

March 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Sad post, but a lovely one. You guys looked very sharp! I'm sorry I've never been there. Why does it just seem endless, the closing of these beautiful old places?
(I'm in my own city nightmare right now - the (extremely attached) house next to me is likely to be torn down by a contractor. I may end up under a pile of rubble but am trying to be brave.) Bloomberg town ...

March 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

@onemorefoldedsunset: It's the curse of the times I guess. Hang tough and don't let the Bloomberg town tear you down.

March 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Oof, I meant to comment my previous comment on this post.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteresquared

@esquared: No worries, I appreciate you posting links on any post!

March 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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