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Motor City Bar

There’s a bar in the Lower East Side that I used to go to a lot called, Motor City Bar. I haven’t been there in quite a while and after seeing that Roger & Me screening on Tuesday, I thought this would be an appropriate week to go and check it out for this week’s happy hour.

Here comes the F train...

And baboom, here we are. There's no sign outside, you just have to know where to go.

Although the door handles do give you a little bit of a clue as to where you are.

And here we are. This place gets packed at night, but it's still the afternoon, so there's plenty of seats to be had.

The bartender was a little shy and didn't want her photo taken, so Lee jumped off his bar stool so I could get a people shot. Lee's a real character and a nice guy. He's a regular at Motor City and has lived in the East Village for over thirty years. Okay, let's take a tour of the bar.

Here's some lit up bottles behind the bar with an "M" made out of wrenches hovering overhead.

Check out the tire table!

An entire wall is covered with this cool black and white painting of a car in action.

Beneath it are actual car seats to put you in a real Motor City mood.

Bare bulbs hang over the bar and illuminate it.

I love the lit up Ford sign on the brick wall in the back room. This has been hanging there since they opened Motor City back in 1996.

And it wouldn't be a true Motor City bar without a giant license plate from the original Motor City: Detroit, Michigan.

This sign made me think of my Canadian friend, Lex. Hi Lex! She may be making an appearance here in June. Stay tuned!

There's a red leather banquette to lounge on in the back room.

And there's a pinball machine back here too.

Here's a painting of a woman racer on the wall, go speed racer, go!

And now the party can really begin, The Duncester and Shawn have shown up. Check out the  mug shot Steve McQueen shirt on Duncester. "Legends Never Die," too cool!

esquared joined us as well, but rather than being in the photo, he took this behind the scenes picture of me shooting the above photo. I'm dizzy after typing that!

He also got a shot of this woman practicing a David Lee Roth move. Nice shot, esquared, thanks for sending it along for this post!

And after several rounds and fun conversation, it's out the door to head on home. Thanks to esquared, The Duncester and Shawn for coming to this week's happy hour!

Motor City Bar
127 Ludlow St. (Between Rivington and Delancey)
Happy Hour Specials: Two for one well drinks and beers from 4PM to 7PM

Further Reading: New York Magazine, Village Voice and Time Out New York.

Philadelphia, PA,
Baltimore in DC now,
Don't forget The Motor City.

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


Bonus Comic Book Cover Sent In By Jaws!

Jaws the Cabbie sent in this comic book cover to illustrate his comment. Thanks, Jaws!

References (1)

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  • Response
    The barkeep was somewhat timid and didn't need her photograph taken, so Lee hopped off his bar stool so I could get an individuals shot. Lee's a genuine character and a decent gentleman.

Reader Comments (23)

"Please be quiet" sign outside establishments,,,,people living upstairs, I suppose. Perfect shirt for Duncester, as McQueen was a true hell raiser and that mugshot taken in Alaska in 72,,,,he was feeling no pain. I like that second to last picture,,,shot looking out the window, reminded me of West Side Story.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

always love the happy hour on friday, it gets me thirsty! lol! what a cool bar, who'd have thunk the east village would have a bar dedicated to the motor city? duncesters t-shirt is too cool! love the cast of characters that show up on this blog! that behind the scenes shot is a classic!

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D.

Oh wow, I love the car seats in the bar!

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

The woman stretching her leg could also maybe vying to be in the ballerina project, maybe.

And to the left of that pinball machine is a table arcade video game, which features old school video games such as Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Galaga, etc.. Could've spent $10 worth of quarters there easily, but had to save some for my laundry.

And here's another Canadian thing I spotted in the bathroom at Motor City bar.

Great hanging out with youse. Left my umbrella, that's what happens when one has had one too many martinis.


April 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteresquared

@Al: I would hate to live above a bar ever since the no smoking policy began, I don't think too many people heed those signs! Glad you liked that doorway shot!

@Bobby D: Glad you're enjoying the happy hours, it makes me...happy!

@Meleah: The car seats are a cool touch indeed!

@esquared: Great seeing you last night, one of these times you're going to have to reveal yourself on TWM! Thanks for the two photos and that Canadian toilet paper is a great shot too! My friend Lex will appreciate that one! And it's funny, I thought about bringing an umbrella, but decided against it because I always leave them at the bar. Oh well, it's a good excuse to go back!

April 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Leonore Goldberg and her Girl Commandos! I thought I was the last person alive who remembered Motor City Comix and one of R Crumbs better creations. Motor City Bar looks like exactly the place where you'd might still be able to find Dr. Atomic and his biker sidekick Billy hanging out and enjoying a pint or two...(remember him?) Check your e-mail...

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

too cool baby..
my kind of bar and Lee is just awesome..
i love when the cast of characters in a bar make it a little less "five characters in search of an exit"

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

"Don't forget the Motor City" is a line in a song that was ruined for me by two rather famous Englishmen who may or may not have slept with each other.
Furthermore, they sometimes had bad outfit days.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@Jaws: I'll go look soon, thanks!

@Gidget: It's a very cool bar and I remember when it first opened. Lee is a cool guy and it was a pleasure to meet him, one of the things I like about this blog is meeting new characters!

@csp: I hated their version and according to Snopes that rumor is partly true.

April 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

Dr. Atomic.......brings me back to the place where 100' tall shrooms grow:)

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Hunt

@GENE: Great quote! According to this, it was Frank Sinatra that said that. (Number two on the list.)

@Mike Hunt: I remember that place too!

April 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Frank ... it figures ... I should have known that ! A second Sinatra mention on TWM in 2 days !

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

I'm quite certain that if I tried that David Lee Roth move, I'd break something.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@GENE: Two Sinatra mentions in two days, you are correct, sir! Franks for noticing that!

@Biff: I think she was pretty well lubricated at that point to make such a move and not feel a thing till the morning!

April 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Marty, Motor City is one of my Favorite all time Rock & Roll Bars. I'm really surprised it''s still there. That neighborhood is High Rent. I had a lot of Hot dates in the back in those car seats . Vrooom Vroom

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny the Freelancer

Nice choice of video - a classic. Looks like a great bar. I don't even drive, but I like all the auto shops around where I live - disappearing though. My brother could rebuild any car & had a crazy assortment of s/h classic cars - old sports cars, or thirties numbers with running boards & red leather seats.. Really fun to go out driving in them when I was a kid.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOnemorefoldedsunset

@Danny the Freelancer: Me too! I started going there when it opened in 1996 and I'm glad they're still there! Hopefully they have a long lease with a decent landlord.

@Onemorefoldedsunset: Glad you liked the video! You should check it out, one hint though, I like it best early afternoon and evening, gets a little too packed at night for me.

April 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

What a great bar!
I love the decor, especially the 'M' made from combination wrenches.
I also like the car seats and the Mustang mural!
Another great stop on your travels!

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Well The Door say it " X Marks the Spot ". Cool Dark Bar ! Pinball Very Cool, I grew up playing pinball in NYC Chinatown & Played at Broadway Arcade before there was Video. My oldest Brother worked at Broadway Arcade fixing Pinball machines, then came the video & he fixed them as well. There was a time at my Mothers house that we had 2 working Pinball machines that my brother got very cheap since they needed allot of work. They where Fireball & Centaur, but my brother made us pay to play, said he needed money for maintenance & set them up that you can get extra game & ball easy, if you knew what to do & play, since we had to pay.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

Hi Marty, that bar is a new one on me, looks great! Considering the Motor City theme of the day, this Martha and the Vandelllas video hits that spot right on:


April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen K. in NJ

I Found Video of Centaur
& Fireball, If anyone interested, Very Cool Pinball they are Classic !

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

@"Boris:" You'd love Motor City, Daddio, a great car and rock and roll joint.

@JHwang: I'm a pinball guy too, never got into video games, those are great clips, thanks for posting them.

@Ken K. in NJ: Thanks for that Martha and the Vandellas link, I've never seen that video and it's perfect for this post! Nice!

April 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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