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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Bar



Photo: Mahogany Bar - "The Bar Is Closed". January 17, 2009. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.

This post was composed for the 13th Edition of the Cabinet of Curiosities hosted at Walking The Berkshires

Faithful readers may remember a photo similar to the one above in a post over a year ago entitled "Women's China Painting in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries" where I discussed the Julius Brauer Studios porcelain bowl circa 1910. While I ventured into a thorough discussion of what I call my "china syndrome," I have never talked of what lurked beneath said item: The Bar.  While she may seem staid and reserved, nay a bit conservative, beware of what lurks inside.

The Bar is a 1920s solid mahogany bar that I purchased on Ebay in June of 2007 and had shipped from the seller in New Hampshire. She was sitting in an antiques store looking very neglected and unwanted. Since I knew the shipping would be as much as, if not more than, the bar itself, I got on the phone with the seller and made sure everything was on the up and up. A deal was struck to have the seller drop her off at the nearby UPS Store where I had already paid for shipping. I simply called up the UPS Store owner, sent him the listing on Ebay and he came up with an estimate as to how long and how much.

When the bar arrived less than a week later, she defintely had seen better days - like a showgirl now relegated to the Burlesque circuit. She still had her original knobs which are in a marigold pattern in brass from the 1920s which have helped me to determine a 1920s date. I also knew that I needed to embark on a major refinishing project during the summer of 2007.

So each day I would make progress by first stripping off years of ugly yellowed varnish, staining the wood in a red mahogany color, then slowly adding coats of finish with alternate periods of sanding. It took about three weeks to complete which was good since the invites for a cocktail party had already gone out the door!

There are many features of The Bar that I love - let's peak inside, shall we?



Photo: Mahogany Bar - "The Bar Is Partially Open". January 17, 2009. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.

Her top flips open to reveal two chrome surfaces.  I intend to replace these since they are bumpy and worn and a guest could never place a drink there without getting tipsy by just looking at how askew it sat on the surface!  But who doesn't need their top replaced every now and then?



Photo: Mahogany Bar - "The Bar Is Open for Business!". January 17, 2009. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.

Next, we unlock the doors.  Yes there is a lock which allows entry into the lower portion of The Bar - a bit of a chastity belt, as it were - where the serious business takes place.  If you know my family you know that a lock is required on most all liquor cabinets and bars.

If you look at the top shelf you see various wine glasses, a vermouth sprayer (for martinis), a bottle of Angostora bitters (for Manhattans), a condiment caddy and a crystal bell.  A bell?  Yes, The Bar has wheels on it (which I replaced with more modern ones) and a guest can simply "ring" for his or her drink and get freshened up.  Yeah right.



Photo: Mahogany Bar - "The Bar - Anchor Hocking Golden Spires Glasses". January 17, 2009. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.

Her doors swing open and provide a place for various glasses.  As I began to outfit The Bar, I was able to locate sets of glasses from the 1950s made by Anchor Hocking in the Golden Spire pattern.  They have a very "atomic" look and there are tumblers, rocks, double shot and shot glasses in The Bar.



Photo: Mahogany Bar - "The Bar - Libations". January 17, 2009. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.

On the lower shelves is where the serious stuff is stored.  There is also a Kromex ice bucket from the 1950s, and a "recipe box" called the Bar Aid where you turn a dial and look up a recipe for close to 100 drinks.  I see I'm low on breakfast wine - I'll have to make a run to Johnson's Liquors later.  Perhaps they deliver.



Photo: Mahogany Bar - "The Bar - Condiment Caddy Closeup". January 17, 2009. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.

Finally, here is a closeup shot of one the many gadgets with which I've "tricked out" The Bar: it is a 1950s condiment caddy.  The jars are labeled Lemon, Olives, Cherries and Onions and make it easy to put together martinis, lemon drops and other libations in a jiffy.  Guests have been know to mistake it for a "buffet" and if I'm not quick with a slap on the hand lots of the goodies just disappear.

So there you have it.  I've always wanted a place to store wine and liquor in one place but while I've always wanted a "bar cart" I didn't want to have to dust all those glass shelves and keep everything clean.  And I didn't have room for one of the larger bars some of which have a center that "pops-up."  I love the slim and unassuming look on the outside but once open, The Bar lets out her inner showgirl and shines.

4 comments:

Apple said...

You did a fantastic job of cleaning her up and making her shine again!

Miriam said...

Beautiful! I find it fascinating that it was made in the 1920s (can you spell "Prohibition"?) Wouldn't it be fun to find out its history? What stories it could tell if it could talk.

pastprologue said...

Thomas,
She's beautiful. What time shall I be over for drinks?
Donna

Genealogy Blogger said...

Gorgeous! What a treasure and how wonderful that she has a good home again.

Lorine