04 June 2009

Smith's Bar & Grill Cleans Up for the Guests

I must have been napping, so I don't know when formerly grungy Times Square relic Smith's Bar and Grill cleaned up its act. But I was walking by the Eighth Avenue joint the other night and it just didn't look right.

I peered in. What was it? Then it hit me. The lunch counter was gone. There used to be this old-style, none-too-fancy, hot-food counter to the left just as your walked in. You could get a lot of unappetizing hot grub at a cheap price. It was so Eisenhower Era. There was a sign over it that said "Hand Carved Hot Sandwiches." (See far below.) Now it was gone. In it's place where some polished wood tables and stools. (See above.) Very antiseptic. Very Bennigan's.

I noticed other things. There was a clean new awning leading up to the entrance. New awnings always scream "gentrification!" The words "Smith's" was etched, all classy-like, in all of the windows and doors. The grime and menace of the place had been scrubbed away. The 55-year-old tavern is making nice with Bloomberg's New York. What a shame.

All that remains of the old Smith's is the fantastic neon sign. Thank God for that.


EV Grieve said...

Yeah, I'm not sure when this happened either, Brooks. I walked in not too long ago and thought I accidentally entered another place with a similar name on the Avenue.... Had a crowd I appreciated, though... Bit of that menacing undercurrent. A few fellows who had been on a 2-3 day bender. Arguing about something really stupid, like a TV show.

Anonymous said...

I liked the place. Yeah, reminded of lost bars in every town I've been in...maybe it's cleaned up a bit, but it was the first bar I'd been in that seemed to have the old purpose, long gone, of leaving patrons to their business, and where a poor boy could get drunk without interference.