User's Guide

Why Do the Shadiest Bars Have the Cheesiest Names?

Photo: The one and only Al’s Mr. Wedge

According to a press release, a judge has upheld the State Liquor Authority’s summary suspension of a liquor license belonging to a Yorktown bar and grill called Miracles (among other things, an unlicensed bouncer with a history of felonies was caught dealing cocaine). This isn’t big news, but the bar’s name — Miracles! — gets us to thinking: There seems to be some sort of rule that says that the more cheesy and ridiculous a bar’s name, the greater are its chances of being fined or shut down by the SLA. With the one exception of Al’s Mr. Wedge in the Bronx, we have yet to find a New York bar with a name as inexplicable as Pufferbellies (scene of a recent shooting in Cape Cod), but after choosing the very worst (or best?) names among the New York state bars that have received disciplinary action from the SLA in the past couple of years, we’ve come up with the following rules.

1. If you open a bar called Club So-and-So, you’re going to be hit with a fine or a cancellation at some point: Club 37, Club 90, Club JFK, Club Alexis, Club Hush, Club Attractions, Club Escape, etc.

2. If your name has a whiff of secrecy, whatever secret you’re keeping will probably be outed: Secrets Pub, Indi’s Little Secrets, Intrigue, Club Hush, Club Illusion, Liars, Hush, Cahoots, Shady Al’s.

3. Also avoid names that imply people spilling the beans: Talk of the Town, Café Bar Chatterbox.

4. Avoid anything tropical: Tropical Nights, Toucan’s Tropical Bar, Cancun Bar, Fiesta Cancun, Acapulco, Stingray’s, the Flood Zone, Mike McCarthy’s Going South.

5. Avoid fake Irish names such as Sporty McGee’s, Snuffy Magee’s, Snuffy’s Pub, or McGillicuddy’s Tap House.

6. Avoid names that cheekily/cheesily play on drinking terms, such as Wormburners, Coasters, Toddies, Tequila’s, Shooters, Chasers, or the Chase.

7. Avoid names that imply your customers or the owner are big shots, e.g. Big Shotz, Spenders, Players Club, Ballers Nightclub, Big Daddy’s, Big G’s, One Stop Big Bob, and El Padrino II (The Godfather II).

8. Avoid seemingly naming the place after your cat: Bub’s, Mr. Shoes, Miss Kitty’s II, Froggy’s on the Bay, Mr. Babbington’s Café, Chez Toto, the Cat’s Meow.

9. Avoid naming the place after family members such as Mom’s or Aunt Effie’s (where there were sales of crack cocaine).

10. Avoid names that imply bliss: Serenity, Club Joy, Euphoria, Rancho Jubilee, Utopia, Club Escape, Club Oasis, Haven, It’s All Good.

11. Avoid names you probably won’t be able to live up to: Seduction, Club Attractions, Knockouts.

12. Avoid names that smack of a hangover or any sort of drinking repercussions: Hay Caramba, Disfunction Junction, Jailhouse Inn.

Why Do the Shadiest Bars Have the Cheesiest Names?