Sunday, February 25, 2007

Scrap Bar

I have mentioned the Scrap Bar in quite a few previous posts, and figured I should designate a little more time to it. Scrap Bar was a small bar on McDougal Street between Bleecker and West Third Street. Its name came from the fact that the entire bar was decorated with pieces of scrap metal. It was in a basement and the stairs leading down to it were also decorated with various pieces of scrap metal. Today I think it's some frat bar, as everything on that block is, called the Wreck Room. You can see pics from that era at the Scrap Bar website. It was definitely the metal years and the pictures prove it.

Scrap Bar was a huge rock star hangout. MTV did one of its first rockumentaries on Guns n Roses and used the bar as a location. Should you ever see it, the bartenders working in the background were my friends Fiona and Jerry. I don't know whether that doc started the mass influx of wannabe rockstars and actual rockstars to this little hole in the wall bar or if it had already happened, but Scrap Bar became pretty famous. If a band was playing in NYC, you could almost certainly be guaranteed that they would make an appearance at the Scrap Bar afterwards.

As I have mentioned before, it was a big biker hangout -- the Angels were our security. Add to the mix a bunch of heroin addict musicians, a bunch of celebrities, a bunch of groupies, and then the occasional tourist, and you get an interesting and volatile combo. There were a lot of fights there. Not every single night, but enough that I remember them.

There were a lot of interesting characters there, as well as some shady ones. A lot of people did a lot of drugs. Heroin was incredibly popular then and a lot of people were addicts. Because of the drug fueled energy there was a lot of violence and death. One of the bartender's boyfriends killed himself, a guy named John threw himself off a roof, our friend Reuben who was the door person at the Limelight and a real scenester did the same after finding out he was HIV positive. My friend Mikey, who was one of our barbacks, was always high and getting into horrible accidents which he would miraculously survive. He once fell down the stairs AND out of a window and was fine the next day. Sadly his luck ended when he fell off a roof -- there was always speculation about whether it was an accident or suicide. I also watched a lot of people spiral out of control --heroin is really an evil drug and will make the smartest coolest person turn into a smarmy dirty beggar -- an evolution that is pretty painful to watch.

As I have noted, a lot of rock stars and celebrities came through the place. Guns n Roses hung out a lot. Slash supposedly got a BJ from Savannah (the porn star) while sitting at the bar -- it got written up in some rag and he freaked out and said it wasn't true. I was there that night and I heard people talking about it all night so I guess it was, although I didn't see the action happening myself. I did a lot of shots with Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. He was really into trading clothes. He would see something he liked of yours and offer to trade you his jacket or vest or belt for it. My friend Mick had Chris Robinson's jacket for years. The Metallica dudes were in there a lot, Sebastian Bach, the guys from Alice in Chains, Eddie Van Halen, and just about everyone else you can think of. I got to see a lot of bands for free and get a lot of backstage passes just by working at that bar.

I think working there was my first real brush with fame and decadence, as well as real violence and sadness. An interesting dichotomy.


Blogger GerrardM said...

Hi Rachel
It's Gerry the English Scrap Bar Bartender,hope your'e well.
AAHH !!! the good ole days

9:25 PM  
Blogger Rachael Mason said...

Holy crap. Gerry! Wow. There is a post in here somewhere about us crashing the GnR show at Giants Stadium. Good times indeeed.
Hope you are well too (should you ever read this.)

5:06 AM  
Blogger Kugel said...

It's not the Wreck Room anymore: it became Alibi Lounge a few years ago.

Perhaps more imprortantly, in the 1950s and 60s it was The Gaslight, a legendary folk club where Bob Dylan used to play.

2:32 PM  
Blogger GerrardM said...

I lost this blog now i've found it again,i am in touch with a few peeps from scrap days on Facebook"Gerrard Moloney" Harrow,London

2:49 PM  
Blogger John "RAMBO" Favorite said...

I was one of the original doormen at the Scrap Bar since its inception. I have some tremendously fun stories to share after I finish reading this and other blogs. I experienced some mind-blowing shit working there. Some REAL shit. And I hung out with a lot of bad-ass talented humans. (I practically lived there).I'm trying to gather stories and photos, so if you'd like to share, I can be reached at Peace to all you animals from the past...

10:32 PM  
Blogger Chip Lorimer said...

Hi! I'm a former patron of the scrap bar (loved that place!) I just come across some of the Scrap Bar comics in my collection, and I've put them up on eBay! I miss the old days!

12:32 PM  
Blogger myshkin said...

Mikey, R.I.P. <3

4:01 PM  
Blogger Sandro Carella said...

whatever happened to mikey carbone, his friend micky got straight and started riding motorcycle again, last I saw him 1990. can't believe people remember all this. -sc

7:40 AM  
Blogger Sophia Wright said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Angela Navejas said...

Nice Info! There are so many junk metal dealers who buys the scrap metal by the weight and paid you accordingly.

Scrap Metal Buyers in NY | Scrap Catalytic Converter

5:22 AM  

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