Off the Beaten Path

It Turns Out There’s a Soldier Bar in Gramercy

Photo: GQ

Foodies may know the Lexington Avenue Armory as the grandiose home of Choice Eats, but it turns out there’s also a bar inside. In a print-only GQ article about broken military homes, William Finnegan visits the Garryowen, a hangout for the fabled 69th Infantry Regiment (or “Fighting 69th”) of the National Guard that began as an Irish regiment in 1849 and has since served in 23 campaigns, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The Garryowen is a place where “veterans keep one another company, offer one another comfort. I sometimes saw wives and girlfriends in the Garryowen, but it is basically a refuge for soldiers young and old — infantrymen, who are still exclusively male.”

As such, bartender Nico Carrasquillo gets an earful: “Some guys are moaning, ‘My wife wants a divorce.’ Others guys say, ‘Man, I wish my wife would give me a divorce.’” But it turns out the bar is also a place where romance blooms. Finnegan quotes a woman who runs a corporate fitness program, who considered military service a “red flag” until she apparently met (or courted) her husband at the Garryowen. Another, a marketing executive who met her boyfriend at a bar around the corner, says: “I used to think of soldiers as macho, but they’re quite emotional … I mean, this city’s full of bankers, men who are thinking about nothing but money. Who wants them?”

So there you have it, ladies — it’s uncertain just how open the Garryowen is to civvies, but if you’re a sucker for a man in uniform …

It Turns Out There’s a Soldier Bar in Gramercy