Mars Bar, a Place for Danzig and Romancing

Photo: Youngna Park

So, The Wall Street Journal did a piece about Mars Bar. It’s the last real dive bar in the East Village and artists paint the walls differently each month, blah blah blah. We’ve told you about the guy who did the pantsless jig on the bar and the guy with the pet rat, but what hasn’t been mentioned till now is Mars Bar’s swingin’ singles scene! Okay, by “swinging” we might just mean fisticuffs, and the “scene” that comes to mind is the one in On the Bowery where Ray finally meets a woman among all the flophouse drunks and ends up fighting with her on the street. Still, if you didn’t know anything about Mars Bar till you read about it in the Journal, know that the bathroom stench is laced with a special brand of pheromones. We asked around for some tales of barroom romance and sure enough, we got ‘em.


I went to Mars Bar by myself and this older woman was in there and she asked me if I was MILF hunting and I was like shya! and I made out with her and she was like what do you do and I was like I’m a teacher and I was like what do you do and she was like I’m a fucked-up secret primo $100 an eighth weed delivery person and I was like nyah! and she was like shya! and I was like make out with me again and made out with her again and then I was like what kind of fucked-up secret primo $100 an eighth weed is that and she was like Blueberry! and I was like let’s go back to my place and smoke that shit and then I just pulled down her panties right on the street and put them in my pocket and then we went back to my place and smoked that shit. After we hooked up, she was going to sleep over but didn’t because her neck was hurting and she got a cab home but she forgot her bag of fucked-up secret primo $100 an eighth blueberry weed here and now it’s mine the end.

Don’t worry, ladies, you too will have success if you walk into Mars Bar:

One time there was the tango-loving Central American cowboy who lived on a boat on the Gowanus Canal and owned one of the last checker cabs in NYC, who insisted I come over to his boat for dance lessons and kept grabbing me to twirl me around all night. Another time, I met a septugenarian Scottish drunk who not only was convinced there was a real shot at us being an item, but was convinced I was coming back the next night for a romantic date at Mars Bar. At least that’s what I got from his slurring yells at me.

And finally, something we witnessed ourselves: Our friend walks into the place, sits down next to this woman who’s drinking alone, and she almost immediately tells him she’s AIDS-free and they should go back to her place. He ignores her, tries to make small talk, and she tells him that she’s in her 50s and makes pizzas at a chain store for a living. Soon enough she’s grabbing his face and trying to lick his ear. He tries to politely shrug her off and she asks, “Why are you being such an asshole?” Then she goes to the jukebox and plays “Ruby Tuesday” no less than three times in twenty minutes. “Who keeps playing that?” someone yells.

Our friend asks the bartender whether he should buy her a drink, and the bartender says probably not, because if she has one or two more drinks, she’s going to start punching him, and the bartender will have to drag her out to the sidewalk as usual. At this point, she’s playfully wrapping her scarf around his head in a sort of tourniquet, but soon enough, she indeed starts punching him in the chest for no reason and saying, “I give you an inch and you take a mile.” On her way out, she tries one last time to get our friend to go home with her. He declines, and he spends the next half-hour insisting to us, “That was the most scared I’ve ever been in my life.”

Have a story of your own? Add it to the heart-shaped scrapbook via the comments.

Diving Into Downtown Culture [WSJ]

Mars Bar, a Place for Danzig and Romancing