p.p. francois camille s. de brazza

P. J. Clarke's

P. J. Clarke's is a famous saloon, established 1884 and occupying a building located at 915 Third Avenue on the northeast corner of 55th Street in New York City.


The bar was once owned by a Patrick J. Clarke, an Irish emigrant who was hired in the early 1900s by a Mr. Duneen who ran the saloon. After about ten years working for him Clarke bought the bar and changed the name.

The building is a holdout and is surrounded by 919 Third Avenue, a 47-story skyscraper. Clarke's former owners, the Lavezzo brothers, signed a deal in which the building housing the saloon was sold for $1.5 million and a 99-year lease was signed with Tishman Realty and Construction. However due to financial reverses the Lavezzos were forced to sell their interest to a consortium, which includes George Steinbrenner, Timothy Hutton, and others.

The building was originally a four-story structure. It lost the top two floors when the skyscraper went up in the late 1960s.

Famous visitors

The bar has catered to a number of notables over the years:

  • Jackie Kennedy Onassis would bring John Jr. and Caroline in during the early 1970s for lunch on Saturdays.
  • Frank Sinatra was an extremely generous tipper at P.J. Clarke's, and was considered the "owner" of Table 20. When he cruised New York bars, he would start out at Sardi's, but he would always end up at P. J. Clarke's.
  • Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman announced their impending nuptials to an astonished crowd. (The marriage lasted less than two months.)
  • Richard Harris, when asked about his favorite food, replied:

I adore the hamburgers at P. J. Clarke's. In my drinking days, it was my first stop from the airport. A fellow named Vinny used to be the bartender there, and when I told him I wanted the usual, he lined up six double vodkas. I told an interviewer that once, and he said, "That's a lot of bull, that's one of your exaggerated stories!" I said, "Call a taxi." We walked into P. J. Clarke's, I said, "Vinny, my usual." And he lined up six double vodkas.

  • Nat King Cole proclaimed in the late 1950s that his P.J. Clarke's bacon cheeseburger was "the Cadillac of burgers!"

In popular culture

P.J. Clarke's was used to represent Nat's Bar in the 1945 Ray Milland movie The Lost Weekend, directed by Billy Wilder. Charles R. Jackson, author of the novel on which that movie was based, was a regular at P. J. Clarke's.

Johnny Mercer penned One for My Baby (and One More for the Road) on a napkin while sitting at the bar at P.J. Clarke's (The bartender at that time was named Tommy Joyce, and Mercer reportedly apologized to Joyce, saying "I couldn't get your name to rhyme".)

It was mentioned in the 1969 novel The Love Machine, by Jacqueline Susann.

In the 2000 movie Coyote Ugly, the P.J. Clarke's team played against the Coyote Ugly bartenders.

Popeye Doyle asks for a P.J. Clarke's hamburger whilst undergoing cold turkey in the 1975 film French Connection II.

In the AMC Television series Mad Men, the employees of the Sterling Cooper advertising agency frequent P.J. Clarke's.


There are two more locations of P.J. Clarke's in Manhattan:

As well, there are three restaurants of the same name, presumably borrowed from the original, in Chicago.


External links

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