While scouring the `net again today looking for scraps of information for another post, I came upon a curious item for sale on Amazon, of all places…. a commemorative fridge magnet from the Korova Milk Bar at 200 Avenue A.
Named somewhat laboriously after the favorite hang-out of Alex and his merry gang of Droogs in “A Clockwork Orange,” the Korova Milk Bar wasn’t in operation for that long. While the cinematic theme may have indeed appealed to self-styled punky nogoodnicks keen on living out some sort of dystopian fantasy, the actual execution of said theme was both heavy-handed and, sorry, a bit schlocky.
I mean, yes….I get it. I am a devout fan of both Burgess’ book and Kubrick’s film, but there was something so tired, so obvious, so cloyingly contrived and not-quite-clever-enough about this iteration of the Korova Milk Bar (as I’m dead certain there are droves of others copping the same concept) that it never really gelled. The place closed up shop in 2006. I doubt too many tears were shed.
In any case, the thing that struck me about this wasn’t so much the idea of a Korova Milk Bar fridge magnet, but rather the copy they bookended it with. The full pitch reads as follows:
Korova Milk Bar East Village Magnet Circa 2001 No Tell Motel Alcatraz CBGB King Tuts Wah Wah Hut The Bank The Pyramid Lower East Side Alphabet City Limelight
Alright, fair enough — the Korova Milk Bar was indeed sort of a contemporary element to places like the No Tell Motel (just across the way …. more about that place soon) and maybe Alcatraz on St. Mark’s Place (although I want to say that Alcatraz closed well prior to Korova Milk Bar’s opening), but to cite CBGB, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, The Bank, The Pyramid and the Limelight in the same breath as the Korova Milk Bar seems a bit disingenuous.
Sure, it was yet another downtown watering hole, but Korova Milk Bar didn’t have a fraction of the character or impact of those other places. That probably sounds a bit precious, but it’s a bit like equating Avril Lavigne with Foetus or Richard Hell, as far as I’m concerned.
That all said, I suppose I shouldn’t be too harsh and damning about the Korova Milk Bar. As much of a wananbe as it may have been, it wasn’t a third as annoying as Superdive, the hotly contest bar the space would soon become after Korova’s closing.