Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Along 8th avenue there are new souless skyscrapers that feel like malls and there are three story brick buildings that drip with local history. The latter are being torn down with a speed that only money or hate could generate.

McHale's, a 50 year old watering hole, is the latest casualty. When I was in my twenties, bumming around Manhattan looking for either a writing job or experiences to write about, I'd pass by the neon sign and peek in the brown windows. It was a perfect bohemian scene. I could imagine Tom Waits singing to himself slumped at the bar. Or Phil Silvers shooting dice in the corner during a Broadway intermission. I never felt old enough or tough enough to step inside.

A few months ago we were on the hunt for the perfect burger by the office. Ron offered McHale's with a burger so big (he was quoting) "you need a crane to lift it". We were there.

The place looks like your grandfather's rumpus room. Smells like it too. It's all table lamps and wood paneling. Our group was four guys and Rebecca who kept asking us if we were seriously going to eat here. The waitress called her 'sweetie'. The bathroom was downright Dickensian. I could not have liked this place more.

I wanted to start a petition to save it but the loss has nothing to do with the business. Turns out the landlord is tearing the building down to build, guess what? A soulless skyscraper. I wouldn't want McHale's in that place. They're doing what they can to get landmark status but at the very least, you locals, and anyone visiting NY before January 1 (Bill, I'm looking at you), should stop by 46th and 8th, get a beer and a giant burger. I'm going for lunch again today.

UPDATE: There is a petition to save the grand old place and it's right in the bar. Stop by, eat and sign it. I'm looking for some kind of online action and when I find it, it will be posted here.


dave said...

Thats a damn shame. You should eat there every day until its closed. Instead of a hunger-strike, it'll be a glutton strike.

Oh, and if you happen to stop by this week, tell Sal and Jimmy Smitz, I said 'Hi.'

"New York is a hell hole! You know how I feel about hell holes!" -Homer Simpson

Brian Kunath said...

Despite my rigorous diet plans, I will join you for a giganta burger before the end of the year.

Stew Peit said...

Fuck it. I hope they tear-up every cemetery too. There was a great old building where your current house is, but they had to rip that shit down. Think of me as God's little gift of sunshine.

Walker said...

I never been there. I should stop in. Do they have music or just the atmosphere(ala Tom Waits)?

Eitan said...

I'm sold. I love a good burger. Cheers for the tip. And brill site. Eitan.

Anonymous said...

The only ones rejoicing this news are the thousands & thousands of cows in upstate NY who are now breathing a little easier.

It's a God damn shame....

(King of the Closed Artery)

Anonymous said...

It really is a shame, I used to handle that place for my company.
The owner Jimmy is a throw back old time bar owner and a gentleman to say the least. That place will be missed.

Ruby K said...


Was by there today, the wait staff says the final day is January 30, 2006. I found your blog searching for Save McHale's, by the way. I've been going there for five years, it's a freaking shame.