I wouldn’t want to guess, but I’d suggest that it’s safe to say that there have been tens of thousands of bars that have served drinks to thirsty Manhattanites over the decades. Many hallowed, age-old neighborhood institutions up and down our avenues, tucked away on dimly lit side-streets and peppered all around our island have been phased out in our contemporary era of merciless, uber-gentrification, but many new watering holes have opened to take their place. Evidently, drinking — unlike, say, reading a book or listening to a record — has never gone out of style.
When I put up yesterday’s challenge to name the tavern, public house or weathered dive depicted on the sleeve of Joe Jackson’s 1982 single, “Real Men,” I fully realized it was a crazy long shot. I didn’t really expect anyone to fully recognize it. I ventured a few guesses of where it might have been, and threw open the discussion to hear what others might speculate. And based on my own recollections, projections and deductions, I even RULED OUT a place or two.
Wouldn’t ya know, then, that the very first place I crossed off the contender list turned out to be the place?
As I mentioned in that post, I shot a note off to Gary Green, the photographer responsible for that portrait of a brooding Joe Jackson, hunkered down in an endearingly grotty booth with a beer and a ciggie (obviously photographed prior to the very same Draconian smoking bans that literally drove the British ex-pat out of New York and off to the more permissive environs of Berlin, of all places). While he was an established rock photographer in the `70’s and `80’s (having shot the likes of Blondie, Tom Waits, the Ramones and more around clubs like CBGB, Max’s Kansas City and The Mudd Club), Mr. Green is now an Assistant Professor of Art and Photography at Colby College up in Maine (for a broader picture of Green’s time in NYC’s rock trenches, I found this great profile on him). Here’s what he had to say….
That was taken in the P&G Pub/Cafe, which was my neighborhood bar when I lived on the Upper West Side in those days. I made quite a few photographs of Joe there that afternoon. Anyway, it was on Amsterdam and 73rd.
Yep, that’s right. The very first bar I’d speculated about and summarily crossed off the list (haunted by those wall murals) turned out to be the right place.
I’ve spoken about the P & G here a couple of times. Back when we were dating, my wife and I made regular stops at the P & G (she was an Upper West Sider at the time). I’ve also pointed out somewhat laboriously over the years that the iconic P & G neon made a cameo in the video for “Policy of Truth” by Depeche Mode. For a great glimpse inside the old P & G (although the booth in question does not appear), check out this post by Greenwich Village Daily Photo.
And here’s a shot of me outside the former site of the P & G after their signature neon signage came down circa February of 2009.
Lastly, here’s a fittingly boozy track to cap off this photo quiz by Mr. Jackson himself. Cheers.