On an unusually warm Friday afternoon from April to Jeremy’s beer house in the South Street Seaport, patrons sipped beer from quarter-sized styrofoam cups as “Jessie’s Girl” howled from the jukebox and the sun poured in through the open windows. There was a distinct vacation feeling in the air.
Michael J. McAliney, of Howard Beach, Queens, and Pat Carey, of New Hyde Park, New York, both retired engineers who worked in the area and have been regulars with Jeremy for 35 years, sat at a table and laughed. âWe tell jokes and remember the good old days,â McAliney said. âBefore, we were here two or three times a week when we were working, and we come back several times a year to remember. “
Jeremy Holin, 71, the owner, approached the men and sat down, asking if he could join them. The regulars gave him a high-five.
The scene at Jeremy’s was not as vibrant when the bar first opened in the early 1980s. Today the seaport is a bustling area with residential buildings, restaurants, and shops, but back in the days , that was downright sorry.
Customers were slow to visit at first, especially in the evening when the area was empty and unsafe. Crime was common at the time, said Mr Holin, who recalls calling the police one morning when he had to step over a dead body to enter the door.
In an attempt to develop a business during those early years, Mr. Holin began offering women $ 25 for their bras, which he would hang from the ceiling. Soon after, crowds of 200 people were waiting to enter on weekend evenings. âWe had to stop buying bras because we were so busy,â Mr. Holin said. To this day, the scribbled ceiling features bras of all colors and sizes.
In 1973, Mr. Holin entered the hotel business on a whim. He and his wife, Cheryl, were walking around the seaport and saw an opportunity. âThe neighborhood had nothing but a flea market,â he said. “I hated my job in car sales and decided on this ride that I would stop and open a beer and sandwich stand.”
This stand, where he only sold hero sandwiches and Schaefer beer, ended up being so popular that he eventually opened a brick and mortar version on Front Street in 1981. The bar has moved several times since. but stay in the same neighborhood, at 228 Front Street.
Despite its dive bar vibe, the food and drinks at Jeremy’s are far from poor. Fried seafood made with fresh, never-frozen clams, scallops and calamari are favorites, as is the 1973 hero sandwich. The chips and tartare, cocktail and barbecue sauces are homemade, and there are 20 beers on tap.
Mr. Holin’s son, Lee, 41, helps him run the town bar while his other son, Jason, 47, oversees the Freeport, Long Island site, which Mr. Holin opened there. at 15.
Milton Amoroso, the manager, has been with Jeremy for 30 years. âEven though I don’t know everyone who comes here, I give them the impression that I do,â Amoroso said.
âHey, Milton, Jeremy,â said Matt Gammons, an attorney who works nearby. “Where have you been? Haven’t seen you in a while. Mr. Holin said he’s been in Florida for a few weeks.” But you know I’m usually around. “
Mr. Gammons and his wife lived a few blocks from Jeremy’s and were regulars. They still come, sometimes with their three young children, even though they’ve moved to Port Washington, NY. âMy kids love Jeremy,â he says. “They are food fans.”
The lawyer then ordered a beer and a Buffalo chicken sandwich. âI have just returned from court,â he said. âAnd it’s a Friday. It’s time to relax.