Please Snort Me
May 13, 2013 8:40 AM   Subscribe

 
More like a nasal history.

Seriously, though, I visited the place once or twice (and I've seen this article before). The coke was abysmal, cut with enough baby laxative to make even Rush Limbaugh get the squirts, but Kokies was a fun spot to take out-of-town guests as cocaine speakeasies aren't exactly regular tourist spots in most locales. If you wanted decent yayo, you'd hit one of the multitude of bodegas that sold the stuff under the counter or, if you were in the know, you'd hit up a delivery service. My regular guy handed out business cards that read "Two Brother Plumbing", and along with damn good coke he'd have two or three of the more popular brands of heroin bags, conveniently bundled for the low low price of $80 per 10.

Questions?
posted by item at 8:54 AM on May 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I never went to Kokies and it closed before my time (I moved to NYC in 2002) but many of my friends have stories about it. I mean, it's just bizarre that they got away with calling it "Kokies".
posted by josher71 at 8:54 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Makes me miss the Mars Bar. Now there was a memorable shithole.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


The Mars Bar closing was the end of an era. That place was such an absolute, well, shithole is the only word. It was great though.
posted by josher71 at 8:59 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still have a tshirt I bought there that says Kokie's with a little cartoon bomb, and the slogan "It's the BOMB." Too bad I'm too fat to wear it anymore.
posted by slogger at 9:02 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still have a tshirt I bought there that says Kokie's with a little cartoon bomb, and the slogan "It's the BOMB." Too bad I'm too fat to wear it anymore.

Interesting - for a while in maybe 2003 there was a dope bag in NYC branded with the stamp: "9-11, it's the BOMB". It wasn't very good stuff, though.
posted by item at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2013


Man, I am a tame, boring person.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Like, more notorious than the Gambino mafia bars? More hipster hyperbole.
posted by spicynuts at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The timeline was... kind of interesting... but the opening paragraph reminded me that the best reason not to do coke is that, if you do, you have to listen to people who do coke.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


What were the Gambino mafia bars?
posted by josher71 at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2013


Questions?

Who is the most famous person you saw at Kokies? Who is the least famous person you saw at Kokies? If you could do blow in the dining room, what were people doing in the bathrooms?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2013


Like, more notorious than the Gambino mafia bars? More hipster hyperbole.

I know way more people who went to Kokies than went to the Gambino bars. The place really was legendary, and just because you haven't watched an hour-long program on it on TrueTV doesn't make it 'hipster hyperbole'.
posted by item at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


This place closed more than a decade ago and its very existence was pretty damn interesting.

I'm not really getting that from the post. Could you elaborate?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2013


Who is the most famous person you saw at Kokies?

I wasn't there, but a close female friend of mine ran into a late-night TV host (and at the time, a weekend late-night network sketch comedy program star) there one time.

Who is the least famous person you saw at Kokies?

Your big sister.

If you could do blow in the dining room, what were people doing in the bathrooms?

The blow was actually done in little stalls with curtains, kind of like voting booths but with less criminal activity. I imagine people were violently shitting in the bathrooms from all the adulterants in the drugs.
posted by item at 9:23 AM on May 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess what was interesting to me was a place that openly sold cocaine in the neighborhood that was called "Kokies". That kind of thing isn't too common.
posted by josher71 at 9:25 AM on May 13, 2013


More Kokie's memories
posted by josher71 at 9:26 AM on May 13, 2013


a late-night TV host (and at the time, a weekend late-night network sketch comedy program star)

Oh... but... wait, oh... him? But... ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I think.
posted by kmz at 9:26 AM on May 13, 2013


Ever see anything insanely violent or fucked up go down there and if so what and why?

Was it cheaper or more expensive than buying from a dealer?

Were the drinks more or less expensive than a regular dive bar?

Where would this bar be now? Ditmas Park? Wash. Heights? Hoboken? New Orleans?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:27 AM on May 13, 2013


I'm not really getting that from the post. Could you elaborate?

Well, it was a cocaine speakeasy operating in more or less plain sight that law enforcement had to have known about. It was a trashy place, sure, and not anything approaching a fun one either, but sometimes being interesting doesn't mean something is cool.
posted by item at 9:28 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, this place is no The Hole, which changed its name to The Cock and became a full time gay bar circa like 2005-ish.

Second place goes to Mars Bar, may she rest in peace.
posted by Sara C. at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess what was interesting to me was a place that openly sold cocaine in the neighborhood that was called "Kokies".

It certainly fared better than PCPete's Pub.
posted by orme at 9:30 AM on May 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I never went to the Hole. I'm sorry I missed out.
posted by josher71 at 9:31 AM on May 13, 2013


Another good thing about this article: Electroclash. I fucking loved Electroclash.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, this place is no The Hole

I once heard a story about the Hole that ended with "If a bomb went off in here the East Coast would lose every antique furniture restorationist worth hiring."
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


I know you didn't mean it this way, but I like how that quote works with both "lose" and "loose".
posted by josher71 at 9:34 AM on May 13, 2013


I moved to Williamsburg in 1991 and it's hard to articulate just how bizarre the Williamsburg that is there now is compared to the one I knew. But I remember Kokies, and knew it by reputation if not experience, and it was another in the huge line of things that I chalked up to the sense of generalized lawlessness of the Dinkins era NYC (see: Jr. High kids at the bus stop in front of our house drinking 40s of Olde English for breakfast every day while they waited for the bus, the fact that our landlord of our illegal apartment would ignore the $40,000 gas/electric bills that came in the mail every day ("They want to shut off the power they need to get in the basement. I ain't letting fucking NOBODY in the basement." Also, I think, he probably gave a few of the right people a 'free one' upstairs, when our apartment had been the boudoir above the topless bar he ran from the ground floor), certain blocks were so covered with crack vials you would slip and fall on them, like ball bearings, etc.).

I agree with the "this is worth noting" even if it is torrid and culturally bereft.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ever see anything insanely violent or fucked up go down there and if so what and why?


Nope. I only went there twice, though. I'm sure some weird shit happened.

Was it cheaper or more expensive than buying from a dealer?

From what I remember, it was about the same price, but the quality was terrible compared to pretty much anywhere else you could score.

Were the drinks more or less expensive than a regular dive bar?

I don't remember that the sold drinks, only cans of boring beer - Bud, Coors, etc. It was probably more or less the same you'd pay at a comparable, non-coke selling bar.

Where would this bar be now? Ditmas Park? Wash. Heights? Hoboken? New Orleans?

Gods, I have no idea. Nowhere? For a good number of years, there was a bar in Dallas called Bar of Soap where one could buy cocaine with their credit card from the owner, and while there weren't individual curtained stalls there were bathrooms with locking doors. However, BoS was open roughly the same time-frame as Kokies - in fact, it might've been open earlier, though I'm not sure if the drug-selling happened during its entire lifespan. I didn't actually live in Dallas at the time, though I did visit often and usually ended up at Bar of Soap buying drugs with money I didn't technically have. I have a couple of friends who did some real serious damage to their credit thanks to that place.

Kokie's was cash-only, as far as I recall.
posted by item at 9:40 AM on May 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Shit, and before I go any further: I am very clean and have been for a good number of years now, and at the end of the year (knock wood) I'll be finishing up a social work degree in Chemical Dependency Studies.
posted by item at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2013 [14 favorites]


Cool. So, you holding?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:48 AM on May 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah - why don't you post your real name, address, and phone number and I'll send someone right over.
posted by item at 9:51 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Staten Island was (is?) supposed to be full of slightly more middle-class versions of these cocaine speakeasies if I remember my relatives' stories right.
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 AM on May 13, 2013


Sweet!

Dr. John Liu
1 City Hall Way
212-555-COMP
2keys please.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:56 AM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, getting offered coke in the line for the bathroom of every bar is still a thing, right?

Right?
posted by Sara C. at 10:16 AM on May 13, 2013


Sara C.: " Second place goes to Mars Bar, may she rest in peace."

Mars! I remember Mars. :)
posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on May 13, 2013


Man, I am a tame, boring person.

Only if you think danger is interesting. Which, arguably, it is.
posted by davejay at 10:18 AM on May 13, 2013


I remember kokies; as a twenty five year old kid it was exactly what I imagined NYC would be.

Living in Babylondon at the time, I was taken with the idea that you could rock and hook up with complete impunity.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:19 AM on May 13, 2013


Somebody must be thinking about me because my nose is itching. Ick.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:19 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


josher71: "I never went to Kokies and it closed before my time (I moved to NYC in 2002) but many of my friends have stories about it. I mean, it's just bizarre that they got away with calling it "Kokies"."

Happy coincidence. It wasn't originally named for cocaine. The place was open for decades and was originally named after the Coqui frog, which are native to and extremely common in Puerto Rico.
posted by zarq at 10:24 AM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


My friend ran into Ron Jeremy there.
posted by gnutron at 10:24 AM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Happy coincidence. It wasn't originally named for cocaine. The place was open for decades and was originally named after the Coqui frog, which are native to and extremely common in Puerto Rico.

Yeah, just like that coffee shop that John Lee Hooker opened that eventually turned into an establishment where you could get your pick of ladies-of-the-night.
posted by item at 10:32 AM on May 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


My friend ran into Ron Jeremy there.

From the sounds of it, I would be disappointed if I hadn't.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:32 AM on May 13, 2013


Phil, one of my bartenders at a (somewhat) less seedy place went to high school at the same place as Ron Jeremy. He said he read Ron's biography, where he mentions getting his first blowjob at a certain nearby tree. Phil said that everyone at school got their first blowjob at that tree.
posted by jonmc at 10:35 AM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


STUART McCLENNAN: You bought coke from this guy who stood in a fucking closet in the back room. It was $20 a bag, right? If you had a mustache he would say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about” at which point you’d have to give your $20 to a girl and have her do it.

JERRY P: I remember they wouldn’t serve [singer of a then-popular band] because he had this big, goofy mustache and he looked like a policeman. He asked me if I would cop for him, and I said no. I didn’t want them to see me getting drugs for the guy they didn’t want to serve. I was like, “Sorry dude, serves you right for looking like that.”


There is a spectacular irony in the fact that the barrier between the hipsters and their coke was disreputable moustaches, which were looked down upon by those truly in the know.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:45 AM on May 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Another good thing about this article: Electroclash

The subject of Larry Tee came up recently, and I learned that he actually trademarked the term "Electroclash" (if Wikipedia can be believed. The "cite" is, as so often, pretty dodgy looking).
posted by thelonius at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2013


Christ, coke and cokehead culture are the worst.
posted by stenseng at 11:06 AM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


What is this, discuss my neighborhood on Metafilter week?

Even though that's right in the heart of my stomping grounds in the 80s, I was never tempted to go to Kokies. I had some "cocaine" from there and it was the worst shit ever - and I never liked coke anyway.

There used to be a very nice pot store not too many blocks away on Driggs Ave - I called it Drugs on Driggs (no one's sold drugs there in over a decade, unfortunately) and the name stuck. The police started to shake them down (they would hang outside and tell people to throw the drugs they had just bought into the sewers - even though they could have just walked right in and found a pound of pot in nickel bags...) and one night I saw them packing up and leaving and that was the end. But I was very glad that they got away with it...

Oh, and here's the front door of what used to be Kokies.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:09 AM on May 13, 2013


Agreed. I've done blow maybe three, four times in my whole life. Gimme booze an weed any day.
posted by jonmc at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2013


That uh, cupcake delivery service was delivering more than cupcakes.
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on May 13, 2013


Mars bar was such a fantastic shithole with a bathroom that rivaled that of CBGB's.

Ignoring the hyperbole, I did enjoy the story as a nice way to remember Kokie's, but really there was nothing that special about the place except that it was a cheap bar that could somehow get away with calling itself Kokie's while dealing coke. I only went a couple times, but, from what I could tell, I think most people really just bought coke and left.
posted by destro at 11:36 AM on May 13, 2013


One of my friend's roomates used to cop there all the time. Last I heard he was a development exec at Spike TV.

The Turkey's Nest was more my speed. I believe it and it 32 oz styrofoam cups of Bud light are still around.
posted by Diablevert at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2013


> somehow get away with calling itself Kokie's while dealing coke

Yeah, "somehow".

Around that time, I also had a cocaine club right next door to me (the place is completely gone now, it's a brand-new building) and they'd open at midnight and close at 9AM.

They weren't even particularly successful, I burst into there once to scream at them and there was basically no one there.

There used to be constant fights, the police were constantly called. I would go to the precinct and they'd swear that they'd closed the place "last year" - as I pointed out, they were open every night, they just had to swing by.

One night there was a very bad fight and I looked out just as the cops were cleaning up. I asked them, "Can't you shut them down?" and one of them said, "Well, they have a liquor license."

I said, "First, it's five in the morning - there's no license that lets them sell alcohol at five in the morning. And second, they sell cocaine right over the bar - are you telling me they have a license for that too?"

The cops wouldn't reply - they couldn't even look me in the eye. And at that moment I suddenly understood why Kokies and this place (which didn't even have a name) were never closed down...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:31 PM on May 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, and Mars Bar was a truly excellent bar. I don't think I ever went there when I didn't have more than one fascinating conversation with some weirdo or other. But they didn't tolerate drug use there - you could definitely be thrown out or at least cautioned for smoking reefer at least...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:32 PM on May 13, 2013


I lived around the corner from Kokie's for a couple years. They didn't let local kids in until ... well, you knew if they were letting these dummies in, it wasn't long for this world.

Mars Bar, on the other hand, was the very finest drinking establishment my ridiculous 20 year old self ever knew. And when Kay moved over to work at the Right Bank, it was like a stamp of approval.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:51 PM on May 13, 2013


The Turkey's Nest was more my speed. I believe it and it 32 oz styrofoam cups of Bud light are still around.

The same goes for me and Rosemary's.

I never could stand the crowd in The Turkey's Nest, though. It always felt too hipsterish (yeah, I know), and I invariably had bad experiences there. Not so much through any fault of the establishment or people who hung out there, but I dunno, it just had bad vibes for me.
posted by Sara C. at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and here's the front door of what used to be Kokies.

I think its great that if you go across the street to try to see whatthefuckwelcomemat? that guy is holding you'll go forward in time two years and three months.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:13 PM on May 13, 2013


Ogre Lawless: "Oh, and here's the front door of what used to be Kokies.

I think its great that if you go across the street to try to see whatthefuckwelcomemat? that guy is holding you'll go forward in time two years and three months.
"

I'm more impressed with the guy on the third floor of the fire escape.
posted by Sphinx at 3:27 PM on May 13, 2013


That was a.....weird place. Amazing they stayed open as long as they did.
posted by jpe at 4:06 PM on May 13, 2013


Rosemarys > Turkey's Nest.

Did anyone remember Solana who used to bartend at the Mars Bar circa 2000/2001?
posted by josher71 at 6:21 PM on May 13, 2013


um Sara C. do you even know what you're talking about?

do you mean the Cock that was on Avenue A and eventually moved to 2nd Avenue long after the fact? or do you mean the Hole which was once a fun party that became a tame, straight-people-slumming-it-lite bar that also happened on 2nd Avenue in the 2000's after all the fun to be had in NYC had dried up?
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 9:22 PM on May 14, 2013


um Sara C. do you even know what you're talking about?

Come on, man. No need to be a jerk.

that also happened on 2nd Avenue in the 2000's after all the fun to be had in NYC had dried up?


This never happened. You just lost track of the fun.
posted by josher71 at 4:40 AM on May 15, 2013


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