|Sign in bar window|
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The name of the bar doesn’t come from the portrait of an anonymous young blonde girl prominently displayed on the bar back wall nor the 2006 novel by Dennis Block of a series of fictional letters from the famous and historically real Norman Bethune residing with Mao on the long march in China to his supposed daughter in Canada but a song from the Aeroplane Over the Sea album by the early nineties Neutral Milk Hotel indie band with lead vocalist, Jeff Mangum.
|Around the corner from the bar|
The owner is Michael Lewis Johnson who is an actor, musician and writer as well as the bartender and genial host to all us lost souls who patronize his little known establishment. Every Saturday afternoon between 4pm and 7pm, he performs in the bar’s Gypsy Jazz show with his band, the Red Rhythm. To settle down, I like a retro ambience and the bar has it in spades – fifties Formica tables, the retro lunch counter, an old working jukebox and those vinyl chairs which were popular in my youth but vanished in the seventies. Sometimes he’ll have a glass of Cobblestone stout beer from the local microbrewery, Mill Street, with you and tell a funny story or interesting anecdote. The food is inexpensive and the menu always has the C. D.’s famous pickled eggs. It’s always interesting to talk to the eclectic clientele who tend to be struggling artists or cultural observers like me and a world away from the gentrified Yorkville where the nouveau riche prefer to hang out.
The video below features Michael entertaining in his Gypsy Jazz show.