It was taken over by The Porterhouse Brewing Company who completely changed the ambiance of the place leaving me crestfallen the last time I was there.
I was admonished by a reader who said they should be praised for restoring the original beams and and using wood from old water tanks to build their tables. Though that may be true, what they also did was take the warmth and coziness away. She slapped my wrist but good when I complained about what I called ‘the original menu’ stating how menus didn’t even exist in the 1770s. Okay, I made a mistake, but her mistake was not seeing how history just now seems absent. That said…I didn’t go back for well over a year till yesterday when I ran in to use their ladies room. Oddly enough, with the exception of the low lighting which could be dangerous if you’ve had one two many cocktails, it felt the same. When I finished applying gloss in the dark, I stuck my head into the bar, that at noon, was already jumping.
Every bar stool was taken along with many of the tables occupied by quite a few attractive women. The barmaid, a pretty one herself, asked if I wanted to sit. “Okay,” I said, not planning to, but there was something familiar in the air…wasn’t sure what it was…but it made me remember how much I had liked Fraunces.
Historically it had been very important to me since this is where General George Washington, on December 4th, 1783, said good-bye to his troops, a room one can still visit on an upper floor. I loved taking the express downtown just to peek into that famous room before having lunch in the now much altered dining room. I’d drag my friends for New England clam chowder and chicken pot pie where they’d get a history lesson while eating. It was, by far, one of my favorite restaurants and the loss of it, with the feel of a fast food chain, has been felt.
Back at the bar, I sat between two Irish girls drinking pints of dark beer…Mary and Colleen who, until I showed up, didn’t know one another. They were both, oddly enough, waiting for their boyfriends, Tom and Liam.
Always on the prowl for an essay, I asked Colleen where she was from. “Dooblin,” she said, “we coom ta see the sates.” She was all of eighteen cute as a can be with strawberry blonde hair, skin the color of cream and boobs, as my friend Rich likes to say, like calling cards.
Cleavage must be big in Dooblin.
Mary was from Cork but now lives in Galway where she goes to school. “I loove it here,” she said, “it’s me tird time in Monhot-ten. Lee-um had nat beeen. Now he looves it as woll.” On cue this burly guy with arms like Popeye came bounding in. “Dere’s me Maddy,” he said, grabbing her around her ample waist.
All I can say is, I guess it’s okay to be a few pounds overweight in Ireland since these girls made three of me. I was in awe of the natural affection they all shared…kissing, hugging…acting as if they knew one another all their lives.
I’m not a beer drinker but became one so not to be rude. Toom, Colleen’s fella, finally came, and the four of them were now inseparable. It was so loud I couldn’t understand how they could hear what one other was saying since I hadn’t a clue.
When I politely excused myself they waved their pints in farewell, foam spilling, as I took a wobbly leave. Who knew a couple of pints could be so potent.
I popped upstairs to the museum to pay my respects to George before heading home. I still miss the colonial feeling Fraunces, that for me, no longer has. But as the girl who wrote in defending the new proprietors said, it’s been rented from its owners, The Sons of the Revolution, by so many that I’m hoping someone with the same old fashioned taste as me takes it over.
This is New York after all where change is always imminent and anything is possible.
Just two reasons why I loove it here.