Howie's Famous Bar

    by Jack Rothstein

          Howie’s famous bar… famous for serving kids under age…infamous to the parents who eventually put it out of business…located on Queens Boulevard between 41st and 42nd street next to Lowery Liquor and a block away from White Castle forever there…Howie lost his license because he served underage kids…

          I fondly remember being served my premier drink in a bar one brisk autumn evening a month shy of my 16th birthday…an older kid David Stern was his name may he rest in peace…coached me about how to get served at Howie’s…sit at the bar as though you belong there…the bartender will approach you and ask you if you are 18…look him straight in the eye and just say yes…then he will take your order… I was coached to place a few bucks on the bar…looking good…he asked me what will I have tonight…I mustered up all my confidence and said…a seven and seven… the favorite drink of kids in those days… I was shitting a brick believe me I was…and then… to my surprise…he whipped one right up placed it down in front of me and said…enjoy…I managed to get two down and feeling buzzed ambled out of the bar towards home with a huge grin on my face…I never went back to Howie’s…it wasn’t long for the place to change hands...

          I would never consider a seven and seven today…good Scotch drunk neat in the late afternoon sipped as a southern squire would…a couple of jiggers nursed over a couple of hours sets me up on a sweet cloud relaxed and ready for a scrumptious meal washed down with a light beer… ah… Howie’s…gone forever… still alive in a tight compartment in the recesses of my memory…

Jack Rothstein, a native New Yorker, spent his formative years in Sunnyside Queens. He attended PS 199, JHS 125 and graduated from Long Island City High School in 1968. He earned a BS degree from NYU.   Jack spends his retirement in the Philippines with his lovely wife and 5 year old daughter.