When I got the news about this early this afternoon my emotions were not so much mixed and instead were thoughts of outrage, sadness and a realization that the city that I love to explore at numerous events is changing far too much for my liking. This being said I am sad to inform anyone who is reading this site that our much visited pub, Smith’s Bar will be closing up its doors for good this coming Thursday, 10/30/2014. The words are striking me hard as I type them in.
I have to apologize for learning about today being “National Cheeseburger Day” so late, but for those readers in the city that never sleeps you still have plenty of time to indulge and enjoy this day to the fullest.
Now I will admit that I love me a good cheeseburger and for the most part have found plenty of good ones around the city and beyond while on my PiercingMetal music adventuring or just out with friends. That being said I figured that the best way to honor this special day is to reflect upon several of my favorite spots for a good cheeseburger. If you are following me on Foodspotting.com you will likely recognize some of the photographs.
I’m starting off with one of the stuffed burgers from The 13th Step. This is one of my favorite pregaming spots when I go to Webster Hall for any of their concerts. When I say stuffed burger, I mean that they literally stuff the toppings inside the meat. This was a jalapeno pepper and cheddar cheeseburger. It had some bite for sure and as you can see is served with tots. You can also opt for sweet potato fries which they do wonderfully.
So I had just finished rocking out with the great Night Ranger over at the B.B. King Blues Club and since it was rather early, my friend suggested a couple of more beers over at Smith’s Bar. Considering that I would have train company for the always long ride home to Bay Ridge thanks to his being there I said sure, so once I finished up with some of the media duties that come with being a music scribe, I headed back to Smith’s. Yes, I did say back as I had done a little pregaming there prior to the gig. Anyway, while my friend and I discussed current and not so current events, there was a band performing on the larger restaurant space side of Smith’s and they were really delivering some solid stuff. I grabbed my trusty Panasonic Lumix from my camera bag and snagged a few videos that I will share with you now.
I was sad to catch only the tail end of Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit” since they were absolutely killing it up there. This is such a wonderful tune and done quite well.
If I had to think back to when I first went to Smith’s Bar, I will say that it was after a job interview from Hell and I was meeting a then friend for a cold beverage and to catch up. I was not anywhere close to having PiercingMetal.com yet, and as I reflect upon that day, I was not really writing for the website that got me started either. Anyway, I digress. At the time of this meetup, Smith’s was really a different looking place. They had a bunch of tables on the side and one of those hot meat counters that we used to see a lot in places like Blarney Stone. I loved those since you could get some corned beef, turkey or roast beef for a reasonable sum and a few cold beers and then go off to whatever it was you were doing.
I liked the bar and remembered it when I started doing my music scribe thing and began to use it as my own launching point for diner and beverage before going off to B.B. King Blues Club and the Nokia Theatre. Slowly but surely the word started to spread thanks to the growing Social Nets and many other Metal peeps began to use this space as well for their own pre-gaming. On the other side of Smith’s was a larger restaurant side and while you could get food on either of the sides, there were more tables and room over on the opposite side for larger groups. It was your typical NYC bar and had a certain sleazy charm to it. The crowd was a regular person crowd and when I was there with a Metal compliment of friends I never had an issue. The shot below shows off the new restaurant space look and I will explain that in the next paragraph.
Of course in time things do change and Smith’s eventually got a makeover that made the place look a lot nicer and I guess more appealing at the end of the day. They dumped the meat counter for standing tables and cleared a few of the other parts in the main bar that had become part of my memory and things I liked to see. Granted it was roomier now and while I didn’t snap any shots of that for this narrative I will say that they definitely classed it up a bit. Welcome tourists I reckon we should say. They often had music in the restaurant space and the players would be against the front window over there. Now there was a small stage that was a much better option in my opinion. They don’t seem to move the tables back at all when bands are playing and that can be a little annoying in my humble opinion. They changed the menu around and yeah prices went up a little bit too but it was still a good launching point for the Metal and Hard Rock gigs for sure. Now with tools like Twitter one is able to say where they are going before a show and reach numerous friends/fans. I have used it for this purpose a lot.
At the time of this writing I can safely say that this is probably the most visited bar in my personal record. One of these days I will snare one of their shirts because I like the look of them. You can see where Smith’s is exactly by clicking their website link below but please know its right on the corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. Mark it on your agenda items if you are going to B.B’s or Nokia.
Official Website: http://smithsbar.com/