The “Cheers” of the West Village’s 40th Anniversary!

By Robert Shapiro

There’s only one bar that I know of in the West Village that literally has no demographic. Old people, young people, black people, white people (and any other), red state, blue state, straight, gay, blue collar, white collar, dog collar etc. patronize this place at any given time, and they all interact and get along famously. It’s the way New York City life should be. It is one of the last authentic dive bars with a pool table and it’s called Barrows Pub on the corner of Hudson and Barrow Streets.

I run a local 501c3 animal rescue for underdogs, under-cats (mostly black) and reptiles called The 13th Floor Animal Rescue that is supported by the pub, which has been woman-owned and operated for 29 years. Established in August 1983, it was originally a “cop bar” owned by two retired policemen who were also big animal lovers. It was a haven for off-duty police officers from the 6th precinct on 10th Street between Hudson and Bleecker Streets.

In 1993, the bar was purchased by Missy Di Franco, a 57-year-‘young’ buxom blonde with a heart of gold and a voice like a drill sergeant who has worked the bar for almost three decades. Missy is one of those people who was born for the service industry. When she tends bar (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday nights) she brings food and treats (for humans and pets) goes out of her way to make people happy and has boundless energy. She gives her time, love and kindness to both her regulars and anyone else who steps through the door. To Missy, everyone is family—until proven otherwise.

Barrows is also a great place to watch sports, and if there’s a big game on, Missy covers the pool table and provides the best bar food in the hood. During Happy Hour, which is 11-7 Monday to Friday, Pabst Blue Ribbon is $2.50 and most other beers are $5.00. This coming August, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, all drinks will be sold at 1983 prices! A highball will be 2.50 and beer will be 75 cents all day! Come thirsty.

The pub photographs so well that many movies and commercials are shot there. The walls are covered in a collage of funny signs (some poorly executed), sarcastic notices (except for the lovely animal rescue poster), old school beer promotions and union stickers. The grown children of the original union guys still come in to relax and shoot pool after their meetings.

Barrows is a neighborhood mainstay that sponsors co-ed field hockey teams, Gay Women’s Flag Football and softball teams, and also sponsors the Barrow Street Fair which allows the organizers to sell beer and wine to raise money for the community. In addition, Missy sponsors a few local pool leagues. She is also an active animal rescuer who is constantly taking strays to the veterinarian to get spayed and neutered out of pocket. Sometimes she rescues and finds homes for entire colonies of cats. She is a neighborhood gem.

In order to raise money for animal rescue, I bartend at Barrows every Sunday night. Come visit, even if it’s just to say hello, however if you would like to enjoy a beverage, mention Westview News and you get Happy Hour prices! Cheers, Robert.

Photo credit: Robert Shapiro

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