Barred

Barred: Sophie’s

When: Saturday, 10:07pm

Even with Saturday night kicking into gear in the East Village, the crowd at Sophie’s, perpetually post-college, was shockingly civilized. As if by magic a four-seater opened up as soon as my party of three entered the once-familiar threshold.

Maybe it was the work of the older gent (one of two) with a cane, not a staff, but who came to be called Dust Bowl Gandalf nonetheless for his crumple-peaked Depression-era hat and white whiskers.

One thing I don’t understand is how the jukebox–The Smiths, Stone Roses–remains in the ‘80s yet the bar’s average age always hovers around 26, now just with more beards and man buns. If it were up to me, the Violent Femmes song playing would be updated to “Gone Dadbod Gone.” As if on cue, a young, mildly schlubby dude in a flannel appeared as the tune came on, looked around for something or someone, and left. Bye. Gone.

Sophie’s is where in 1998, five months into being a New Yorker, I told Henry Thomas, Elliott from E.T., to meet me. And he did. Later, he would stop returning my calls and invited others to Sophie’s casually and familiarly as if it was his regular haunt and hadn’t just been introduced to it by me. Such is the way of grown child stars.

If I weren’t with my friend Jane on this particular night, the same friend who happened to be with me at Sophie’s that fated evening 16-and-a-half years ago (along with her boyfriend at the time who now co-owns Abraço three blocks away) I might not believe any of it transpired.

Was I carded? Yes, at the door. Before I arrived, the third member of my party was waiting outside and chatting with the doorman who told her people were always embarrassed about their age but were never older than he was. He didn’t look that old.

Age appropriate? Not for women on a weekend night, no. The last time I stopped into Sophie’s was nearly four years ago when I was feeling sorry for myself on my 39th birthday because a last-minute call for company at HiFi only turned up two friends. (Actually that still doesn’t sit right with me and is inducing the annual anxiety that makes me leave town if possible when the date arrives.) On the earlier side, sun still out, it was locals scene, including a few middle-aged couples.

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