The Mars Bar has been cleaning itself up.
For years, the famously grizzled and grungy dive at the corner of 1st Street and Second Avenue in the East Village had a blood-red facade. Not exactly a sign, per se. That would be too formal, too button-down. Just a bucket of scarlet paint thrown at the area above the door and windows, with the words "Mars Bar" scrawled over it. (See below.)
I don't know when, but some time recently the gin mill decided to repaint. The new red-letters-on-white-background is distinctly more friendly and open than the previous look, and I'm not sure it's an entirely accurate image for the bar. The new sign says "Hey You! How 'Bout a Drink?" whereas the old one sort of screamed "Don't Even Think About It!" But who am I to deny the joint a new sense of sunny optimism? Maybe they're happy about Obama, too.