Robert Lund - Man About Town
"I get all my news from the Waste down!" 

Motor City Bar

New York Waste, Nov. 2001

Photos by Lucky Lawler - Oct. 19, 2001

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I do get "around town" an awful lot these days, but the entire New York City club scene is like a vortex spiraling me down to Motor City Bar afterwards for my Guinness nightcap. On the west side of Ludlow St. just below Rivington St., you won't see a sign marking this homey dive -- just a row of orange lights above store windows, and the blue light of a 4-foot sign lighting up the street. There's a unique feel to the atmosphere of this "dive" which attracts like-twisted minds to congregate for drinks, music, and conversation. The crowd shifts and changes from evening on till 4 AM, but the last few hours are my favorite, since most patrons are so well bombed by that time.

The bar is owned and operated by two chicks named Teresa and Charlotte, and celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. Its interior is a tribute to Detroit -- walls adorned with signs from around that town, car parts, and service station artifacts. Chrome emblems line the bar rail, the beer spouts are pistons, a bottle rack is made of a rear bumper, you get the picture. For the meditative, there's a round back-lit sign in the corner which reads "DETROIT -- WHERE LIFE IS WORTH LIVING". Many a glazed eye has pondered that one. You can relax at the bar, or in comfy bucket seats by tables, or on benches around the walls. If you're feeling hyperactive, there's pinball and Pacman to absorb that late-night energy. The bar is tended on different nights by one of Teresa, Jodi, Zemeira, Gabriella, G-spot, or Harry -- whoever's on duty, they'll welcome you as though to their own home.

Motor City is a quintessential Lower East Side hangout, and people seem to feel more free to be their own fucked-up selves to the fullest here. Check your pretense at the door, please. Lots of folks come for the music. Hardcore, punk rock, rockabilly, doo-wop -- y'never know what you'll get, but it'll be great. On "Manic Mondays" Pat and Jack play solid punk rock, plus classic hot tunes from as far back as the 1950's in their quest to explore and demonstrate the roots of our present sounds. Another special rock night is Thursday, but on any night of the week you'll find a DJ with acute musical sense playing stuff that moves you. I can attest to the fact that when I made a guest DJ appearance earlier this year with my son JP, it was much more rewarding to play music for a crowd that pays attention to the music and shouts approval when they liked a tune, than at other bars where folks just raise their voices to talk over the DJ's music. And though the music really rocks, it's never so loud that you have to shout to carry on those deep conversations that erupt in the wee hours. At times a veritable potpourri of madness - not for the faint of mind.

Most importantly, it's one of the best locations at which to pick up a free copy of the NY Waste! Drop in, say howdy, groove to the tunes, read the Waste aloud to enthralled drunks, whatever strikes your fleeting fancy!