I recently returned from a short trip to Venice, Italy. Years ago I spent a year there as an art history student, renting a room in the Dorsoduro area. Nowadays I still find myself staying in that area. I don’t recall this bar from from student days – it has become very popular with locals as well as tourists, and rightly so, as it is not a rip off and has a laid back atmosphere. It’s called Corner Pub and does breakfast but is more of an evening hangout serving local craft beer and Aperitivi. The woman in red, a Venetian regular, caught my eye:
On my first visit to New Orleans in 2014 I took the photograph below of a bartender at Kingfish on Chartres Street in the French Quarter. I particularly like the juxtaposition of the barman and the TV monitor, which was screening an old black and white movie. The film is frozen into a still, capturing a close-up of a pair of hands holding a business card. With its calligraphic proclamation you are wonderful, for me it’s also enigmatic: who is Mr. George P. Cooper and why is his name crossed out? I find the hand-written text also resonant of a modern day self-help affirmation:
I revisited New Orleans in 2018. Here’s a detail of The Sazerac Bar at the newly restored Roosevelt Hotel, featuring original 1930s art deco murals by Paul Ninas:
At the Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station New York, 2015 – one of the regular staff taking a break. He has a very distinctive face and he wasn’t there the last time we visited. I hope he’s well!
The bar at London’s Resistance Gallery, home to the London School of Lucha Libre wrestling. (I was actually there doing a shibari Japanese rope bondage life drawing class, one of these images can be seen on the Paintings & Drawings section of this website.)
And finally a photo taken not in a bar but in a late night Iranian grocery store in London’s Archway. There was something bar-like about the display of bottles but I was drawn to the portrait of the woman in the elaborate gilded frame. I don’t know who the woman is in the painting but there was something familiar about her; the late Amy Winehouse in her zaftig days perhaps. Or maybe my younger self, with more make up and a decent blow dry. I also like the combination of the Persian Hogarth-like cartoons alongside the English officious signage:
Also published on Medium.