We got an inside sneak peak of the West End’s newly Cubanized interior earlier tonight when it opened its doors for the now-annual celebration of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other Columbia-affiliated Beats, culminating in an enthusiastic reading of Ginsberg’s Howl. For an event devoted to subversive young artists, the ‘Stend’s new digs, not to mention the sumptuous banquet with all-you-can-drink wine and beer, were a bit incongruously swank.
Still, several of the bar’s former mainstays, among them Kerouac’s former lover Joyce Johnson, evoked memories of the old West End, one going so far as to suggest that the renovation brought back the spirit of the bar of years ago. What’s old is new again? Maybe we’ll figure it out when all the orange paint is finally dry.