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Hell’s Kitchen mourned when we heard that the Hourglass Tavern and Bettibar were closing on Restaurant Row this fall. Brendan Sokler felt it more than most, he’d hosted his birthday almost every year in the third-floor private room. What to do…?

Brendan at home with his Hourglass bar.

His solution was to strike a deal with Beth and Josh (the bar owners) and take the bar home to his walk-up apartment! Here’s Brendan’s West Side Story.

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I arrived in the summer of 2011.

How did you end up in Hell’s Kitchen?
I had fallen in love with Hells Kitchen from a year of hanging out around here between auditions and such.

What’s your favorite thing about Hell’s Kitchen?
Oh lordy, it’s gotta be running into folks that I know.

And what’s your Hell’s Kitchen pet peeve?
People hanging out mid-street without masks.

What did you do for work pre-COVID? What are you doing now?
I was delivering flowers and working on various projects with my production company. Still doing the same thing minus the flowers.

“I met most of the Hamilton cast and Billy Porter in the Hourglass.”

What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned during the pandemic?
Personal resiliency

Tell us one thing that’s given you hope during the pandemic?
Artists and our ability to bounce back

What’s the most serendipitous (random/obscure/ insane) experience that’s happened to you in Hell’s Kitchen?
I met most of the Hamilton cast and Billy Porter in the Hourglass.

What’s your superpower?
Connecting people.

What song do you sing at the top of your voice in the shower?
Every 90’s pop-punk song you can think of.

What’s your favorite quote or saying?
“You should only speak good of the dead, she’s dead, good.”

If you could bring one thing (person/place/event) back to HK that is no longer around, what would it be?
Hourglass Tavern… Though I kind of have as I brought the bar home.

Add your shameless plug or personal profile?
@brendansokler on all platforms www.brendansokler.com and www.punchingupproductions.com

The Hourglass Tavern bar on the move up 9th Avenue to Brendan’s apartment with the help of Sean.

HELL’S KITCHEN HAPPY PLACES

My apartment. It feels like home presently and again the third-floor bar from Hourglass is here…it’s nifty. Thanks to my friends, Sean Gorski and Sloan Bradford, who helped me move it.

Bar 9. I helped host evenings of drinking and Shakespeare there during the before times with @thenightshifttheatreco. Anyone can perform and it’s super fun.

Deacon Brodies. Incredible beer selection and cool atmosphere.

Shorty’s. I love cheesesteaks.

Hourglass Tavern. Although it’s not around anymore, it lives in my heart, apartment, and memory as the definitive place that I could call a home away from home in NYC. I met my best friend there, I had my birthday party there almost every year, the owner once tracked a guy down to another bar because he saw him steal my jacket on a security camera. The Hourglass was magical. You can never go home again they say but …I kinda can.

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5 Comments

  1. I love this story. Bettibar was one of my faves in the hood too. I love that you have the bar.

  2. awwwwww….that is amazing. I worked behind that bar quite a few times…i miss it dearly…..CHEERS!!!!

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