Sunday was a fun-filled day between the NYC Half Marathon and St. Patrick’s Day. I met Mike downtown at the finish line near the South Street Seaport, and we walked for about 15 minutes after the race. We ended up at a tiny spot called Fresh Salt for brunch and then decided to grab a beer at a nearby Irish pub called Ryan Maguire’s, but between the runners, spectators, and St. Patrick’s Day revelers, we couldn’t even walk through the bar. We left quickly and wandered to a less-than-desirable watering hole next door called the Iron Horse. That’s when the real fun began.
The dark bar with two female bartenders tapping beer and pouring cocktails wasn’t crowded when we entered. We saw a sign that read, “Free hot dog or hamburger with the purchase of any beverage, except a Rolling Rock.” We skipped the Rolling Rocks and the dogs and burgers — I ordered a Bud Light and hubby had a Blue Moon instead. A few more runners trickled in, and the place started to get busier, but still not packed. We were thrilled to have seats at the bar and be able to relax a bit.
I was drinking beer #2 and Mike was on beer #3 (he needed it after running 13.1 miles in 30-degree weather) when suddenly, the music changed and a loud slapping sound on the wooden bar interrupted our conversation. We looked to the right, and one of the bartenders was on top of the bar –– dancing or something that was supposed to resemble dancing.
She was stomping her feet and strutting back and forth while performing her unchoreographed routine. I looked at my husband and asked, “Is this supposed to be like Riverdance?” She continued to tread heavily in time to the blaring music while sporting her black biker-like boots. Her number was part tap dance and part Irish jig. I’ve seen lots of dancing, but I had never seen anything like this before.
I thought perhaps it was some special show for St. Patrick’s Day, along with the $1 Red Bulls from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and the free hot dog/hamburger specials. The music did have an Irish ring to it.
Then, a minute or so later, the dancing girl took a leap and landed on a swing, positioned in the middle of the bar. The piece of wood was secured with a chain and looked out of place, considering it was suspended over the bar top. This swing could’ve easily been a suspended “decoration,” but it was obviously functional and not only for decór purposes.
Next, Miss Bartender began swinging back and forth repeatedly as we watched in awe. Was this really happening –– on a Sunday? The girl seated next to me at the bar was forced to hold her plate of french fries in her hands as she glanced up in disbelief too. We pulled our pints aside so she could continue cavorting on the bar top. Was this a regular Sunday performance? It seemed as if only minutes after the clock struck noon and the Red Bull sign came down, the swinging rampage ensued.
Then I thought, perhaps the bartender had too many Red Bulls? Perhaps she was Irish and felt extra jolly for the holiday? She didn’t appear to be Irish with her cocoa-colored skin and jet black hair. I might also mention that she was wearing cut-off daisy dukes and a skintight shirt, and had an enormous navel piercing that resembled a brooch on her stomach, as well as a large black tattoo on the small of her back. We saw it all –– well, almost.
After she had swung for approximately four counts of eight, she jumped off the swing with as much vim and vigor as she used to get on the thing. She kept dancing (or stomping like she was killing a colony of roaches) and this time took a dive head first toward the swing and hit the wood with her hips. By this point, her back was arched, and she was flying through the air like a trapeze artist. Was she a trapeze artist disguised as a bartender? We continued to observe in disbelief as this continued several more times before the music ended. I got a workout just watching her.
After her little number, she jumped down off the bar and started making drinks within seconds. She was a touch out of breath and slightly overheated, but she didn’t miss a beat. I was impressed by her shenanigans.
Had I not been drinking at noon on a Sunday (which I rarely, if ever do), I doubt I would’ve had the same reaction. I wasn’t as shocked as I should’ve been. I mean, it’s not every day that I see a woman dive from a bar and start swinging through the air like a three-ring circus. But then again, this is New York City. It’s completely acceptable for anyone to put their ass on the bar at noon on a Sunday.
We finished our beers and headed toward the door. It was a relief to be back out on the streets of New York and feel some level of normalcy. As we made our way toward the subway, all my husband could say was, “I will never go back to that bar again.” I think he’s lived on the Upper West Side too long.
Oddly enough, I was somewhat entertained and may return at a later date with friends –– but only if I can dance on that bar. Due to my extreme fear of heights, the swing is out of the question.
32 Cliff St