• Barred

    Barred: The Ready Penny Take 2

    When: Friday, 8:15 

     I’ve been threatening to crash the Jackson Heights Dads monthly meetup ever since I first found out about the event where neighborhood men with children can let off steam and bond. It rotates from Legends, Espresso 77, to Ready Penny. But it wasn’t until two of the five member Jackson Heights Ladies Cotillion (JHLC) a loose social club that has organically formed to primarily drink wine and watch Feud, also decided it was a good idea.

    There was a foil tray of wings. There was a porkpie hat. There was also a bun/ponytail hybrid. The bulk of the dads were seemingly under 37 but there was one who looked like a short David Cross in a baseball cap. I did take creep shots and a non-middle-aged me would post them but now I’m mature and have good judgment.

    The bartender, an Irish woman definitely over 40, took a shining to the JHLC, mostly I suspect because we brought our glasses back to the bar rather than leaving them strewn on tables, and gave us a free round of drinks. She also referred to the dads as “ladies” to insult them, which was funny instead of being offensive to real ladies.

    LIke clockwork, by 11pm the dads had all but dispersed.

    Age appropriate? There was a woman at least 50 by herself at the bar, yes.

  • Barred

    Barred: The Ready Penny

    When: Friday, 2:42pm

    I imagine that on any given day, a parade of disconnected subjects may form the basis of bar stool stories. On this particular afternoon, hot topics at The Ready Penny involved stuffed cabbage and dental procedures, and these topics persisted the duration of two slowly sipped pints of Stella.

    “That Stella is so strong first thing in the day,” was declared at one point in no reference to me. “Knocks your socks off.” Thankfully, I wasn’t wearing socks.

    I only interjected myself into conversation once when no one else appeared to be familiar with Jeepers Creepers. Reinforcements were needed, even an introvert could see that.

    Elephants also roam the bar Elephants also roam the bar

    One of the only four customers on the late side of lunch brought stuffed cabbage in to share and snack on, as one does at the only remaining dive bar in Jackson Heights. By chance, another regular who apparently had his teeth recently fixed (“It’s going to take some getting used to” was the sentiment expressed while he was in the bathroom) was making stuffed cabbage for dinner.

    His recipe? I missed what made up the “meat mixture,” though I’m guessing pork and beef, plus white rice from a Chinese restaurant, fried onion and garlic, tomato sauce using canned crushed tomatoes blended with light brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. Everything gets seasoned with parsley, salt and pepper. Don’t forget the Parmigiano-Reggiano, which must be freshly grated and not shaken from a cellulose-filled container.

    The smoke points of grapeseed oil were compared to olive oil. It was decided that seasoned breadcrumbs should never be bought and always made at home.
    A good 30 minutes later, the single-minded gentleman with improved chompers announced that he had to run to the store. “I forgot an ingredient for my stuffed cabbage.”

    An obsession with stuffed cabbage is not required to fit in. We brought in stuffed parathas and samosa chaat, no biggie.

    Was I carded? No, not even a question. I can’t imagine anyone even approaching underage attempting to sneak in.

    Age appropriate? 40 feels downright youthful, which is the hallmark of a good dive bar. And though no women other than the not-old Irish bartender were in evidence–public, weekday drinking is mostly the province of men–I wouldn’t say they are unwelcome as long as they can handle overhearing “a corker” describe how “maiden juice” is good for dental work and pubic hair great for flossing.

    The lack of female-friendly bars in the neighborhood is not just my lament, it has become an intermittent topic on neighborhood message board Jackson Heights Life and I’ve recently started chiming in because I’m now a homeowner and be the change and all that. My favorite quote to date: “I’ve been waiting for a place where a woman of a certain age can go to spend time with her neighbors!!”

    For now, this is it.