27 January 2006

Barrymore's Nevermore

Looks like Barrymore's, the shabby, but loveable old theatre distict hangout, is going to follow McHale's to the Midtown graveyard. The Times reported Jan. 22 that it will close by the end of the month. It was never the unique place nearby McHale's was, and isn't as deserving of unbridled remorse and regret. Nonetheless, such small-scale, modest (in price and size) dens of theatricality are becoming harder and harder to come by around Broadway, unless you want to trek over to Ninth Avenue (not a bad idea, but there's nothing quite so romantic and exiting a restaurant and then walking right across the street to your show). So, it's the loss of yet another affordable beer, another non-chain joint, another remnant of the former, more charming, low-slung Times Square. All for a new Marriott or new Disney hotel, so the scuttlebut goes. Hasn't the city's populace always considered the first Times Square Marriott—The Marquis—loathsome, hulking and despicable? The Death Star, they called it (maybe still do). So, why build another?

The fate of Barrymore's neighbors—Sam's, Puleo's and Frankie and Johnny's—has not been declared, but seems all but sealed. Gosh, I hope that new Marriott has a really good expensive steak joint in it, maybe one named after a coach that never worked with a New York team. That'd be great.

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