Repeal Day in New York City

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My day started at 1PM today, at a lunch at Pete’s Tavern, one of the oldest the oldest continually-operating bars in New York City. I had a great meal and met some of the people at Dewar’s that have been working so hard to spread the same message that I’ve been touting for some time now myself, people without whom some of you would never have heard of Repeal Day or contemplated its importance.

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Anyway, I had just enough time for a quick turn-around back at the hotel and a chance to make myself… let’s go with “more visually appealing”. Then it was off to the W hotel bar to get together with the brand managers for Dewar’s and head out to some of the bars in their account portfolio that were celebrating Repeal Day. It was a lightning-fast tour of the Crocodile Lounge and Puck Fair, both of which gave me a more well-rounded picture of life in New York.

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Then it was down to Greenwich Village to the basement of our speakeasy-style club where the main event was about to take place. We arrived early enough that I could take in the careful preparations and visual details they put into the space.

The Dewar's burlesque show on Repeal Day

Within no time things were happening and the place was filling up with hooligans at an alarming rate. Most were in period costume, from guys in fedoras (myself included) to foxy flapper girls, and best of all the guy giving straight-razor shaves in an old barber chair.

The swarming masses on Repeal Day

And there was Dewar’s scotch. Lots and lots of Dewar’s scotch. Everywhere you turned there was some sort of bar pushing scotch and Jamaican ginger beer (a combination that I’d never considered, but enjoyed) out by the dozens.

Gambling on on Repeal Day

Card tables, roulette wheels, craps tables, and even a guy robbing people blind of their chips at a three-card Monty table in the corner. There were arm-wrestling tables (I came in even, one win and one tragic loss, now both my arms are sore) and a live burlesque show.

Arm wrestling on Repeal Day

Whew. At any rate, the scotch was starting to go to my head, so I said my goodbyes and stepped out into the snowy night to go on a little pilgrimage.

This is New York, after all, and I came to see some of the bars I’ve read so much about over the years. Stay tuned for more stories…

4 Replies to “Repeal Day in New York City”

  • Molly says:

    I am every so curious which bar this main event took place in …

    (Christ, I miss New York.)

  • Count Silvio says:

    I love old style parties like that! I would love to see more photos of the party if you have them. Is this kind of party organised every year? If I ever visit New York might as well make sure I don’t miss the repeal day.

  • Man, that sounds fun. I didn’t drink on Repeal Day because I was driving to in Louisville, KY on business. Luckily, I got to tour a distillery so I feel better.

    Also, I thought that McSorley’s was the “the oldest continually-operating bar in New York City” — running since 1854.

    Read the paragraph on their homepage.

  • Hmmm, right you are, Lonnie! I’ll have to ask about that the next time I’m there…

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