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Crawling Irish New York: the Scratcher

I woke this morning to the sad news posted here by Brian and David and there is little I can add from far off Manhattan. Maybe I will be moved to pontificate later, but for now I will continue on with life as planned.

Last night was not a session bar night. I only have one more night in New York before becoming buried in R&D work again and The Scratcher is a must visit. It is my Manhattan local of eight years standing. Until a few years ago it was also the site of the Wednesday session so I can at least claim a figleaf on its inclusion in the five day crawl.

The bar has always been more a trendy den of iniquity than a trad place. The staff are Irish and Scottish; the clientele are an eclectic mix of models, actresses, musicians, filmmakers and young professionals during the pre-midnight hours. As the clock ticks into the morning hours the american percentage falls precipitously until in the wee hours, by the sound of the surrounding accents, one could as well be in a London or Dublin pub as New York.

The secretive outer aspect of the Scratcher.
Photo: D.Amon, all rights reserved

The staff are good people and include a number of musicians who work here when not gigging or touring. The owner is a big supporter of music and this is one of the ways he helps the New York music scene.

Brendan O’Shea, like several other staff bartenders has been here since the late nineties. It is a nice feeling to come back to a place year after year and have a nod and a smile as you walk in the door.

Brendan at work… or perhaps play?
Photo: D.Amon, all rights reserved

Some of the staff I would call friend as well. If you drop into my New York local I ask that you tip really well. If you misbehave Natalie will tell on you and I will personally ban you from Samizdata!

Natalie at work covering the family bills.
Photo: D.Amon, all rights reserved

If you are looking for intellectual chatter, come after midnight or early on a weekday night and you are bound to find someone to go on at length about just about anything. If you come by during the weekend night madness, pick up a model and end up bonking your mutual brains out in the interchangeable sex loos, just remember where you heard about this marvelous little place. There is something for everyone here.

2 comments to Crawling Irish New York: the Scratcher

  • Johnathan

    Dale, these are awesome pictures. Keep posting away to cheer us Londoners up.


  • Yes. Life goes on. The way some people are talking here, and everywhere, you’d think London had been hit by an atom bomb. It was about 40 people dead. That’s obviously 40 too many, but even so, steady on. If a real mega-disaster strikes London, we may find that we’re all all out of words to describe it.

    For example, I was a bit shocked to see New York’s former mayor Rudolf Guiliani on our TV screen, being very kind and supportive about it all of course, but the interviewer was making it sound as if what London suffered today was on a par with what New York suffered on 9/11. I think not.