Monthly Archives: March 2009

How to Do It Jeremy Rosen Letters Special Feature

Dear Blackbirds Bar

Dear Blackbirds Bar,
I wanted to like you, I really did. Even though you had yet to acquire that patina of age and that feeling of really being a cool neighbourhood bar, you had promise. So many kinds of beer, so much good food. A dart board. Hell, the sports fans even seemed to appreciate me yelling out “Go local sports team” whenever they got excited about a football basket.

I spent the better part of four months of Sundays in your establishment. It was the only regularly-scheduled item on my agenda every week. Whatever kind of craziness my week brought me, I was in Blackbirds on Sunday eating hot wings between 1:30 and 2:00 PM. Did I mention your hot wings are the best in Astoria?

But about a month ago things went bad. So let’s imagine this, shall we? I enter your establishment at around 1:30 PM. I’m dressed in black pants, a camouflage jacket, and a hoodie. The hoodie has flames on it, by the way. Strangely this time around the bar seems full, but the tables are empty, which is the reverse of how it normally goes. Okay, so I take off my coat and sit down at a table. I forgot to mention, I’ve got a big, fat copy of the New York Post on me.

So I sit down with this copy of the New York Post, crack it open and begin reading. One of your friendly waiters comes over to me and asks what I want. I tell him “I’ll have a Peroni, and an order of very hot wings well done.”

This is really where my day turned to absolute shit. Look, I know there are starving people in Zimbabwe and I understand that the overrun of certain areas of Pakistan by elements of the Taliban is a problem; however, on Sunday at a sports bar I expect wings.
I hope you’ll understand that that’s why what your waiter (who was very nice) said to me next was so baffling.

“We don’t have the regular menu today because we’re serving brunch.”

I gave him a blank look and he, to his credit, looked a tad sheepish.

“You see, all the stuff for brunch takes over the kitchen, so we can’t cook the regular menu.”

My look now was a little less blank, but I’ll give your waiter (who I mentioned was really nice, didn’t I) a little less credit for his next statement.

“Would you like to take a look at our brunch menu?”

No. No I don’t want to take a look at your brunch menu. I’m a guy in a camo jacket with a copy of the New York Post. Do you see me with anyone else? Brunch is for couples. It’s something guys do when they’re with girls because the girls like it and maybe the food’s okay.
Or it’s something you do when one of your “bros” is in from out of town and you want to go check out the cute waitresses and feel okay getting trashed at 11AM. It’s not something a lone guy who looks like an escapee from the Montana Militia is going to do.

No, Jeremy is here for wings. Which, as I was putting my coat on and leaving, your waiter (who’s still friendly, regardless) said he would communicate to you. On my way out (without spending a dime), I noticed an omelet station.

An omelet station. In a sports bar. There were a couple of hot plates and a dude in a silly hat. Really. Here are a couple of better ideas for a station in your bar:

1. a gimlet station
It sounds about the same and makes more sense for a bar to have. “I’ll have a gin gimlet, hold the emasculating bullshit.”

2. a wing station
See, you have a guy out there cooking the wings you can’t make in your kitchen now, apparently. Everyone wins. “I’ll have a dozen very hot wings. Then I’m going to read about the destabilization of the Zimbabwean dollar because of Robert Mugabe’s regime.”

You know, even though I’m some fancy music industry dude, I don’t make a lot of money. But, I was willing to part with $20 – $30 every Sunday for you guys. Because seriously, those wings are killer.

You know what I do now instead of going to your bar? I spend an extra $15 to take a train up to the Peekskill Brewery in Westchester. There, I can get a lovely view of the Hudson River, I can choose from four times as many beers as you have, and I can get some really good hot wings.

No, they’re not as good as yours, but at least Peekskill has figured out how to serve brunch and bar food at the same time. What, your grill can’t handle a burger and truffle oil grilled cheese sandwiches with added estrogen at the same time?

Look, I know it’s not football season and you’re not going to do the wings special cheap anymore. I don’t even care about football. I don’t even know what downs are. I just want hot wings on Sunday and I want them six blocks from my house.

So fire up that deep fryer and get your act together. ‘cause brunch is really bumming me out. And I’m starting to tell my friends.

Yours truly,

Jeremy Rosen