Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 5:54PM
Jackie's Fifth Amendment, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street, is one of the oldest bars in the neighborhood, which becomes apparent as soon as you walk through the door. The ceiling? Stucco. The bar? Cushioned. The walls? Wood paneled. On the jukebox? The Eagles. Beer on tap? None.
But Jackie's isn't the type of place you go to sip a martini with your date. You go to Jackie's when you feel like chatting with blue collar folks who have lived in the neighborhood their entire lives, to drink a cold Bud at all hours of the day, to talk with the bartender about what the neighborhood was like "before the gentrification." In other words, don't even think about showing up with a stroller in tow.
It's been a bar for as long as anyone can remember, probably since right after Prohibition ended. No one recalls what it was called back in the day, but by the 1970s it was called His and Her's.
The owner's daughter, Jackie, took over in the 1980s, and was a beloved neighborhood fixture until passing away in 2005 (When the neighborhood used to be full of down-on-their-luck folks who lived in nearby SROs, she could always be counted on cooking up a Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham for them, free of charge, and her motto was "Take care of my customers"). Her husband, Harold, now owns the bar with his friend Sammy.
Linda, who can be found behind the bar on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and most Fridays from 10 AM - 6 PM (even though they open every day at 8), has been bartending in the neighborhood for a long time, having logged hours at Minsky's (where Cheeburger Cheeburger is today), The Roost (formerly on Seventh Ave and Eighth Street), and at bars out on Staten Island.
(Notice how there are no last names involved? Now you know why it's called Jackie's Fifth Amendment).
HPS: How long have you been bartending here for?
Linda: I've been here since the mid-90s.
HPS: What's your favorite thing about this bar?
Linda: The old time feeling. What you see is what you get here.
HPS: I imagine some of the clientele has been coming here for ages.
Linda: The ones that are still alive. We lost a lot of them over the years, but we've got a bunch of new people in, too. It's a very diverse group. But some of the old timers have died, some have been forced out of the neighborhood because of gentrification.
HPS: Is there a Happy Hour here?
Linda: It's happy all the time! They try to keep the prices not too high.
HPS: Have you ever gotten any really strange drink orders here?
Linda: Oh, I thought you were going to ask about strange customers! We don't really get strange drink orders here. It's pretty basic.
HPS: If you could have a drink with one person from history, who would it be?
Linda: I think Fidel Castro.
|The back room|
HPS: Are there any drinks you make that you pride yourself on?
Linda: Bloody Marys. I don't measure anything, I just know what to put in there. I also make excellent pina coladas, a spoon can stand up straight in it. I've got that down to a science. I make them at the other bar I work in. They might be getting a blender in here that actually works, though, I hear.
HPS: What drinks do you find yourself serving the most of here?
Linda: Our six-packs. We do the little 8-ounce Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller High Life, six for nine dollars, and that's really popular.
HPS: Are there any bottles back there that you've never touched?
Linda: Well, it's not really a fair question to ask because I'm just here in the daytime, and daytime there's not much call for the fancy stuff. It's beers and shots, the usual, during the day.
Jackie's Fifth Amendment, 404 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-788-9123.