Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No. 32. Smith's Union Bar (1935) gains new life as
throngs of hip 20 and 30somethings replace horny sailors

Walter Lord's Day of Infamy recounted the typical nightlife leading up to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor: "Most swarmed down Hotel Street – a hodgepodge of tattoo joints, shooting galleries, pinball machines, barber shops, massage parlors, photo booths, trinket counters – everything an enterprising citizenry could devise for a serviceman's leisure ... Jukeboxes blared from Bill Lederer's bar, the Two Jacks, the Mint, the New Emma Cafe." And it probably also blared from Smith's Union Bar, a local watering hole that has remained a dive since its inception in 1935. Its exterior and antiquated gold foil lettering stand in sharp contrast to the "street modern" look of its more recent neighbors, and recalls an older, seedier time, a time that still echoes in the First Friday bar scene — certainly a testament to the enduring infamy of Hotel Street.

No comments: