A Midtown bar that still has a wood phone booth

Beer has been flowing at P.J. Clarke’s on Third Avenue and 55th Street since Chester Arthur was president.

And while the place looks spiffier than it has in recent years, it’s still one of those old-school saloons that kept its Gilded Age decor, like stained glass, amber lights, and a pressed tin ceiling.

There’s another old New York relic P.J. Clarke’s appears to have held onto: the bar’s wooden phone booth.

Way back in the dinosaur era of payphones, every public place had one: a phone booth with a hinged door and small stool a person would tuck themselves into to make their call out of earshot.

While the phone itself and the seat are no longer in the booth at P.J.’s, the booth itself is still there  beside the end of the bar—only now it’s used to store glasses and napkins.

Not convinced that this casket-like space was a phone booth? Check out how similar its shape is to these, spotted at the Park Avenue Armory in 2010, and this one, at Bill’s on 54th Street, ID’d in 2015.

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5 Responses to “A Midtown bar that still has a wood phone booth”

  1. Kenny Says:

    Most famous old phone booth at pdt on east 8th street … also ear inn, king yum, gay 90s…

  2. Ed Greenberg Says:

    We have one in a restaurant here in South Glens Falls. The place has been in business many decades.

  3. Chip Says:

    I don’t know who wrote the copy for this article but the author needed to first speak to people with knowledge of the subject, before using the somewhat deprecating adjectives for these wonderful booths.

    Phone booths are not some archeological discovery of a relic from an ancient society. They were ubiquitous in restaurants, stores and hotel lobbies until just a few decades ago, well into the “modern computer age”. They were also often found along stretches of highways, where they were a very welcome and a somewhat protective site, providing the means for important, sometimes urgent, contact while on the road.

    I used them many times in many places. With their doors closed, they afforded privacy in conversations, along with a welcome degree of “noise cancellation” from the surrounding area, unlike the “open” public pay telephones of today which provide neither.

    Cell phones have generally obviated pay phones but where this type of phone still exists, the public would be better served with the classier, and quieter, phone booth.

  4. RealToughChick Says:

    If you ever venture to San Francisco one still exists in the st Francis fountain in the mission district. There is one in Oakland as well, in the Tribune building.

  5. Ricky Says:

    At the gorgeous, historic central post office in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Vietnam the phone booths are now used as ATM booths.

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