Bar Next DoorPosted: April 24, 2012
After having gotten lost inside Macy’s and having been accosted by a large, unruly dog on my walk down 6th Ave., I almost passed the place when I turned on my heels at a sound that registered as jazz, to see a plaque that said “Next Door.” I hurried inside and balked at the sight of the cave-like room, until the polite waitress seated me in a corner. Then, I pondered if I could touch the ceiling and why the table was sticky.
The clearance must have been 6’10” at most. I know this to be a fact because a guy who said he was between 6’7” and 6’8” nearly scuffed the ceiling with his hair. I gradually settled into this dark, cozy room and tried to look like a normal person, having vichyssoise with a side of bread. Unfortunately, I couldn’t suppress my smirk at the sight of two of my favorite boys playing music. The group was led by Benny Benack III, who is usually a trumpeter, sometimes a singer, and always a ham.
“I’ve had too much ham today,” said Mark, refusing pizza that Benny offered him. Mark Whitfield Jr. (drums) also declined chocolate mudd cake. He does like cranberry ginger ale, dolphins, Duke Pearson’s ballad “You Know I Care” and purple.
Benny is a self-proclaimed legendary ping pong champ, avid golfer, former high school junior varsity baseball player, fantastically imaginative yarn spinner and the ultimate middle school sleepover talent. And that’s just in his own words, from an unsolicited interview. I think we can safely add narcissistic to his list of traits.
Raviv Markovitz (bass), the only one without a generational suffix in his name, rounded out the trio. I hadn’t met Raviv before this but I quickly gathered that his name backwards is Ztivokram Vivar and that he roots for the Red Sox and likes watching Sports Center. Also, according to other sources, he is the sweetest guy ever and can rattle off a long list of chick flicks to watch, if you’re in the mood.
You may be wondering why this matters. Why does it matter that Coltrane loved to eat sweet potato pie? Or that Miles Davis wore Brooks Brothers suits? When these twenty-somethings just barely of drinking age step into their roles as the next jazz legends, you can say that you heard it here first.
There is a bathroom each for women and men at the Bar Next Door, down an unlit and narrow hallway (see the first photo). A very fat person would not be able to squeeze through to get to the bathroom, nor a would a very tall person be able to fit under the ceiling. Being a short and petite person, I was able to make it to the women’s bathroom at the end of the hall. It was similarly dimly lit and grungy, but not without flourishes, like a nice round mirror and an advertisement for tarot readings by Janet.
Benny did tell us how to say, “Where’s the restroom,” in what he claimed passed for native speech in France. Not because I was incredulous, but because I’m a good journalist, I cross-checked the information with Lucas from France. I learned that it should be “Où sont les wc,” not “Où est le wc,” but will give Benny the benefit of the doubt and include his French below, followed by that of Lucas. Perhaps his translation is some local variation on Canadian French.