The Holiday Cocktail Lounge

1holidayloungeLeon Trotsky lived in the building next door (#77) circa 1917. I am not sure what one of the fathers of the Russian Communist Revolution would think of $4 beers. (he probably would reluctantly approve, after all he knew what rents are like in the EV) And who can resist a real working man’s dive bar, which also happened to start out as a Prohibition-era speakeasy? Coincidentally owner/bartender and local character, Stefan Lutak (pictured uptop) was born in Ukraine in 1920. During World War II, he fought with the Soviet Army in Stalingrad and as he recalled to the NY Press, “The winter was terrible. The ice came from your mouth. We were sleeping in the snow, nothing to eat. Two, three, four days, a whole week with empty stomach.” Stefan came to New York in 1949 and opened the bar in 1965. It was soon a hit with the bohemians in the hood, or as Stefan called them: “bullshitters and faggots.” Allen Ginsberg and W.H. Auden were  regulars. Regrettably, Stefan  passed away this year. Maybe he and Trotsky can share a beer and bitch about the world economy, wherever they are now.

Cash Only

Hours: 6pm-2am

75 St. Marks Pl., nr. First Ave., NY 10003   212-777-9637

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Filed under dive, East Village, history, Russian

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