by Pilar Cope on
I love Heritage. I love the wines at Heritage. I love that you can buy a bottle of any glass of wine you try and happen to fall in love with. And lastly, but most importantly, I love the food offered to escort the wines. There are various cheeses available, my favorites being the petit basque and the blue, which are served on wonderfully fresh baguette and with dried fruits and nuts. Occasionally I go and get surprised by the presence of delicious dry figs that only sporadically enter the dried fruit mix. Their green salad is good too, filling, and not too expensive, and entrees are about $10, and look a little small, but are full of flavor. I love Heritage, and always have the best time when I'm there.
by Gabrielle S. on
My old friend Brent, the one who first turned me on to Cafe Diem and the orginal 11th St Vortex, also first told me about a little dance club and bar called MJQ, in the basement of the old Ponce Hotel on Ponce de Leon Ave in Midtown. This was the early '90s, when George Chang, a "very tall Chinese Swede", owned the place, and regularly appeared at some point during the evening to say hello to folks, in his quiet unassuming and very humble way, sort of making sure we were all having a good time. Brent and I went a few times back then, and what I loved most about it, besides the little "chill" area with overstuffed sofas and chairs and a TV that showed martial arts films on perpetual loops, was the music, and the little dark dance floor where anyone and everyone could move however the spirit made him/her. No judgments, no trying to impress anyone, at any time. Just cheap beer, including imports, impressive DJs who knew what we wanted to hear, and a dark and cool ambiance just right for letting loose on the floor. Later, when MJQ opened a little farther down Ponce, in an old garage beneath a parking lot, the "underground" vibe took on a whole new meaning, and it was no longer about looking for the single green lightbulb outside the Ponce's basement door, but looking for the shack above the garage, no sign, just knowing where it was, and that, in and of itself, held its own meaning. When Brent and I went out, we never paid to get in. He would nod to the man by the door and in we went, down the ramp to the bar, which was lit by red lights before they were blue, and the ceiling leaked when it rained, and the place was dark and hip and moody, and after a few $2 Bass Ales the music would amp up and we'd hit the floor. MJQ Concourse (as it was now called) still had the dance floor to beat all, a place where it truly seemed that anyone could dance with anyone, or all alone, all ages, all races, all kinds of people accepted and welcomed, and we were all one big writhing mass of flesh and sweat, the crowd separating when the baby powder hit the cement floor, and the B-boys were on their way to break and amaze us all. At some point the laws changed, and alcohol could no longer be served late, so bars closed early, and this included MJQ, unfortunately. It became a bit of a drag to wait for the right time to arrive, only to have to leave before the lights came up - no more hours and hours of dancing until knees could stand it no more. A second room opened for Brit Pop, a bar with an actual "wall of words" next to it, a place to sit and order shots of Ouzo and read the words, thinking what to add if only one could. Admittedly, I don't go out to MJQ like I used to - I think at some point I grew old and wasn't sure it held for me what it once had, but if you're of a certain age, and you want a good time at a really unpretentious dance club and bar, I really couldn't recommend it highly enough. It helps to know its history, and that Chang is now passed on, and the vibe still remains, a testament to the concept, and the whole underground nature. It's still got a lot of what it once had, just a good place to drink cheaply, to dance, and to be yourself, whatever that may be.