Now in its 15th year, Art Bar is a neighborhood institution, a comfortable place for
residents and tourists alike. The Art Bar combines a little culture with a comfortable
drinking and socializing atmosphere.
When visiting, be sure to make your way past the bar, into the Back Room, where you
will find oversized comfortable couches, love seats, a working fireplace and gallery
exhibits from local artists. Our kitchen is open late - 2:00 am weekdays and to 3:00 am on
By Jason Chase
Did I ever mention that I was an actor well to be fair to my loyal readers and myself and I guess I still am. Its true and I am
pretty good if I don’t say so myself, after all I studied with some of the best acting teachers in the business at a great little
school called HB Studios in the West Village. There are so many actors in New York City its amazing, an extremely
competitive field and unfortunately only a small percentage ever realize any true success. So what does it take to make it in
this industry, which by the way is one of the most highly recognized professions known the world over.
Think about it your in a restaurant or bar or public place and lets say you’re a famous banker,
Chances are strangers are not running up to you and asking you for your autograph based on that killer merger you put
together with Starbucks and Barnes and Noble. But if you were just in the new movie with Will Smith in a small part even
chances are someone is bound to recognize you.
They will come up to you; wow aren’t you that guy in Will Smiths movie. Holding your hand up hailing a taxi in that great
scene? It can be exhilarating to be recognized And respected by the public, all because you were in a movie. What is the
fascination that Americans have with celebrity’s well I think that these are people who become larger than life when they are
on the big screen or on stage and believe me if you make it to this level it means that somewhere along the line you made
incredible sacrifices to your life financially physically and mentally not forgetting to mention spiritually.
Just name a superstar that you love and I will tell you a story that includes living with roommates
In an apartment that is way to small someplace in an unsavory area of Manhattan.
Working in the service industry barely making ends meet and doing it all to get that part in the new play off off, off,
Broadway hoping that an agent comes to the play and signs you to a contract where you will begin to make movies for a big
studio. All of my favorites paid their dues
And the story’s that are told about them are fodder for a movie waiting to be made.
Madonna was rumored to have eaten out of garbage pails when she was first starting in
the industry Robert Deniro lived in a coldwater flat on 14th Street after both parents
moved to Paris to paint full time leaving him alone to fend for himself. Are these story’s
true? Who cares they are the rumors that legends are made of, you love them that much
more after hearing about their incredible struggles and rise to fame and fortune to spite the
Bruce Willis was bartender in Manhattan before he was discovered and moved on to playing his star-
making role in Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd and the list goes on and on. Ah the sweet smell of
Fame – deodorant of the gods. Well I mention these story’s about actors because as I mentioned I
studied with a few of the greats Katherine Sergava famous for her role in the broad way musical
Oklahoma whom I owe a great deal to god rest her soul, she taught me many things about acting and
about life and I will miss her and then there was Bill Hickey famous for his role as the godfather in John
Huston’s Prizzi’s honor staring jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner.
Bill was great guy who loved to have a drink after class sometimes with a few lucky students me being
one of them and I was introduced to Bill Hickey by Katherine Sergava who taught me the Stanislavski
technique of realism when portraying the character. This little school on a cobblestone street in the west
village has seen many of the great actors of our time pass through the halls to study under Herbert
Bergoff or Uta Hagen, F Murray Abraham, Anne Bancroft, Robert DeNiro, Jill Clayburgh, Sarah
Jessica Parker, Billy Crystal, Drea DeMatteo just to name a few. and I loved it more than I can tell you
in words on this written page. Being located at 120 Bank Street New York, NY 10014 212-675-2370.
At nineteen I was bright eyed and star struck and after class would wander around the West Village and its mix of big warehouse like buildings and cobble stone roads and
Brownstone buildings were fascinating to me being new to Manhattan and it started an ongoing love affair that I am still involved in, well one night after class I strolled over
to 8th avenue which is a hop skip and a jump from Bank Street where I found a bar that I still go to whenever I am in the West Village. The Bar was perfect with a giant
painting of The Last Supper with celebrities in place
Of the Apostles and Jim Morrison in Place of Christ the backroom area which is now a lounge with working fireplaces and lush comfortable couches and love seats, the
brick walls that are adorned with new artists paintings every few months are usually of a dark nature and well crafted. After 10 years I have continued to visit this bar and
will continue to as long as I am in New York, Andy the owner is a very nice guy and has seen and met so many people over the years still recognizes me when I visit. This
is a bar that serves the traditional bar foods that one would expect including fried calamari my favorite!! The bartenders are always gorgeous and the music is exceptional
with a full selection of The Cure, Radio Head, and music that most artists I know gravitate to. Alexis the bartender I chatted with on a recent visit was happy to let me
sample a few of her specialty cocktails and each one was better than the next.
I recommend to anyone who wants a great atmosphere good food and drinks exceptional art and hip down to earth crowd stop into the Art bar to have some fun, ask for
Alexis and tell her that The New York Optimist magazine Sent you and maybe the first drink will be on her but don’t me or her to that, and maybe beforehand you can stop
by HB Studios to take part in an acting class
I believe you can pay $5.00 to audit the classes and if you do try to sit in on Michael Beckett’s scene study class you wont be disappointed.
The Art Bar is located at:
|52 EIGHT AVE, New York,
Between Horatio & Jane
on the East Side of
Eighth Avenue (two
blocks south of 14th
|For reservations or questions,
please call 212-727-0244.
For private parties, please call
For catering information,
please visit Merchants
|The New York Optimist
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