Holiday Cocktail Lounge Ghost Sign in NYC

Holiday Cocktail Lounge Ghost Sign in NYC

Not the most interesting ghost sign, but the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, located at 75 St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan, was a dive bar with a storied past, reputedly once the hangout of W.H Auden, Allen Ginsberg and Madonna, and more recently my group of [relatively undistinguished] friends.

You can already imagine the story. Stefan Lutak, a Ukrainian immigrant, bought the place in 1965 and seemingly tended bar every single night until he passed away in 2009.

The New York Times once called Holiday “a bad-smelling little bar” that was “threadbare and downscale.” It was one of a dying breed of NYC establishments that didn’t have a theme or high concept, just a low ceiling, capacious bar, decent jukebox, not very comfortable booths, and an old man holding court.

Supposedly Madonna wrote Holiday about this place. I’ll let you be the judge; this innocuous pop confection could be about anything:

The building was sold in 2012 to the founder of snack brand Pirate’s Booty. Plans seem to be in the works for a new restaurant in this space, which will retain some of the Holiday’s decor as well as recently unearthed details from its earlier days as the Ali Baba Lounge.

Every time I go home, I make it a point to walk past this place to see what’s up, but it was still closed on my last visit.


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