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Everyone Needs a Little Southern in their Life, but Come On!

November 12, 2008

I’m constantly amazed (and amused) at the number of Southern-themed restaurants and bars there are in New York City. Who would have thought? But I guess everyone needs a little Southern in their life.

But, sometimes I’m slightly insulted. Only slightly. And I do try to be a brotherjimmysinsidegood sport. My favorite example of a slightly-insulting place is a lovely little establishment I’ve been to on the Upper West Side. Upon entering the ever-popular bar, Brother Jimmy’s (because everyone down South is named Jimmy …and Bubba… obviously) patrons are greeted with a delightful Southern decor. And no, I don’t mean bronzed pineapple statues (and for those of you who don’t know, the pineapple is the Southern symbol of hospitality). Oh no…patrons are literally hit over the side of the head with any and everything ‘redneck.’

brotherjimmysinside3The entire place is made to look like Billy Bob’s back porch. Fancy plywood walls are the centerpiece, and the colored Christmas lights that are draped over …everything… add an elegant touch. Guests are graced with the lovely sounds of Garth Brooks’ “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places” at just the right volume of very, very loud.

Oh and my favorite part: people ordering Bud Light drink their beverage-of-choice from a charming 24-oz can.

It’s a real winner.

But to be fair, there are some really classy places that emulate the Southern way. Sara Beth’s and Penelope’s are both perfect little brunch-musts. But seriously, Brother Jimmy’s, come on! We aren’t all like that!

I guess the best place to be when you want to get a strong helping of over-the-top, hillbilly glam is, surprisingly, the Big Apple. Oh Brother…only in New York.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dale Earnheardt Jr.'s Baby Mama permalink
    November 12, 2008 1:28 pm

    Most people who make fun of the south have obviously never been here, or at least haven’t been to the nice parts…like Charleston. And why do Northerners feel the need to make fun of Southerners anyway? After all, there isn’t a New York City themed restaurant here, where all the wait staff are crass, rude and too busy being self-involved to help anyone.

  2. Kelly Gatling permalink
    November 12, 2008 8:52 pm

    Sarah!

    You are such an observant person! These blogs make me want to visit you twice as bad so I can get some of the New York experience first hand. I can not wait to keep reading. Love ya, sis.

  3. Neal permalink
    November 13, 2008 2:58 am

    Sarah,

    You mean to tell me that the plywood walls and obnoxious “decorations” didn’t bring you back to Myrtle?? It sounds like Brother Jimmy’s hit a little too close to home, in a not so fun way! By the way, how do you suppose they know Billy Bob and what his back porch looks like?!

  4. November 13, 2008 10:55 am

    Now let me be upfront here, I am a Northerner through and through having only lived in PA and NY. So while I’ve visited a few places in the South (Myrtle Beach and Charleston are two such places),I would not try to pretend that I’m familiar with all things Southern…but, I would imagine that the South, like anyplace else, has variations and one such variation is a little redneck. And I think people enjoy that kind of atmosphere…look at Larry, he’s from the South and loves Brother Jimmy’s.

    So while I agree it’s not an accurate representation of the South as a whole, I think it’s just meant to be a fun, casual place to hang out and listen to some country music (granted, today’s country music, not so much the classics of the past). Don’t take it to heart 🙂

  5. November 13, 2008 11:15 am

    Aside from the over-the-top decor of the bar, Brother Jimmy’s is one of the only places in NYC where I feel like I’m home. It is surprisingly authentic for a Southern establishment in this city: the owner/founder is from North Carolina, and the staff is made up primarily of Southerners, as well (so no concerns about a rude, pushy waitress). The prices are reasonable, and there was a time when the entire Saturday night shift at the 92nd street location knew my roommate and me by name.

  6. Doug permalink
    November 13, 2008 1:31 pm

    Brother Jimmy’s is just in the same category as the 50’s cafes where all the waitresses wear the poodle skirts – clearly not everyone in that decade wore those, but its the stereotype and works for themed restaurant. It makes it fun for an hour meal, and the goal isn’t to try and educate someone on southern culture. My guess is if a NYC themed restaurant did open in the south it would have a rude staff and pictures of the Empire State Building all over the walls, because that is what people want to see when they go in there, not that it is just like any other city, just bigger. How else could such a restaurant survive?

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