On November 1, All Saints Day, No Tsu Oh reopened in its old location after a hiatus of three years. Pirtle and Pierce are still hard at work trying to de-sleekify the spot. Clark's recording studio / dance club, the joint that was in place there between No Tsu Oh's two incarnations, had a, shall we say, slightly more upscale ambiance than that which abides in Pirtle's heart.
So now, as soon as you walk in, you see a portrait of Jesus smoking a cigarette and calling out for lobster and a house salad, on another wall, there's a trophy head portrait of JFK (complete with deer antlers), and chessboards on the tables. Hanging off a Chinese lamp on the bar, there's an air freshener Pierce bought outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul that bears the following garbled message to President Bush: "You also cancel your this shepherd of cruel. Apologise, and regress to you continent!"
And behind the bar, there dwells Cleetus, an anatomically correct hermaphroditic sock monkey, made and donated by Olivia from Super Happy Fun Land. "It has Beanie Baby boobies," says Pierce, who lifts the thing's dress to show me its penis and vagina.
After the jump, meet the lesbian barmaid with ADD!
Pirtle and Pierce simply decided it was time to reopen. Pirtle — who bought in to the "NoDo" boom before it existed as such -- chuckles over the recent downturn in downtown's fortunes. "If you build it, they will leave," he laughs. The fickle Joe Guido set has moved on to greener pastures, and Pirtle likes the new abundance of parking around his spot.
Those of us who are not in the $30k millionaire set have long been needing a place like this downtown, another bullshit-free zone to complement places like Warren's and La Carafe. "We want No Tsu Oh to be the same as it was before — a place for people to play with toys and make culture instead of consume it," says Pirtle. They will be temporarily taking over the rowdy poetry night that had been at Helios (which shuttered for a couple of months a week ago) and also offering up a new type of entertainment later each week. On "Living Room Thursdays," amateur musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam in a completely informal den-like atmosphere, just beneath the stage.
Food is going to be a bigger part of the mix this time around — they are planning to serve a deli-type menu during work hours and brunches on weekends. In the afternoons, it will have a restaurant / coffeehouse vibe, in the evenings and nights it will become more like a bar, and after closing time, it will remain open and serve breakfast until the trains start running again and the cops go home.
"I want to introduce people to the concept of the midnight waffle," says Pierce. "I also make home-made peanut butter, so I might offer a peanut butter buffet bar."
There will be a pool table upstairs, and the downstairs ladies room has a small alcove that Pirtle and Piere are pondering turning into the Estrogen Bar, where women can buy shots away from the hurly-burly in the main room. (The men's room upstairs offers a shower and guitar-shaped toilet lid.)
They have also re-signed a famous barmaid/barista from No Tsu Oh's past. I didn't catch her name, but she inspired the following exchange:
Pirtle: "She's a 55-year-old lesbian from Brooklyn." Pierce: "She's also Jewish." Pirtle: "And in to S&M." Pierce: "And she has ADD. She's way in to Ritalin."
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So yeah, the old No Tsu Oh will be back. But Pirtle and Pierce promise that No Tsu Oh 2.0 will be a little more sanitary.
"We want this to be a place where both rich people and freaks will be comfortable, so it will be cleaner than the old No Tsu Oh," says Pirtle.
"But it's not gonna be like junior high," says Pierce. "You won't have to be cool in here."
"And we have air conditioning," Pirtle adds. -- John Nova Lomax