In my old neighborhood, the main drag was called “The Highway.” On the Highway was a very popular fancy restaurant and lounge called The Cruise Inn. The restaurant was done in dark woods with a nautical theme. There was a beautiful sailfish mounted over the center of the bar, which was caught by the proprietor. On one half of the Cruise was the bar section and the other side was a very nice restaurant. It was one of the premier restaurants in the old neighborhood.
It was also a haven for all of the Armenian men who grew up together. If you ever saw the movie “Goodfellas” it had that same feel, as the lounges of that era all were of that genre. There was always a crowd at the bar, and the tables were filled with other regulars that were there for the steaks and other basic grille dishes. Also periodically there would be Armenian food offered, which upped the attendance. As I said there were many regulars that hung out there for extended periods, as this was the norm for that period of time. I think you could find a card game or two at some of the back tables to keep the men there a little longer.
It was all good fun, and I remember that at one time, they all started sported a baseball cap, way before that was a normal piece of headgear with TAC embroidered on the crown of the cap. TAC was for “Thursday Afternoon Club which one of the wags of the group came up with, as a secondary alibi for where all the men would be. It probably even sounded too good to the bosses at some of the local business that would have their employees go to their “club.”
This period of time from the 1950’s to the 1970’s or so, was the period of cocktails and beers. What would any man order to go with a porterhouse or rib-eye steak? The cocktails were even manly back then, with no “frou-frou” type drinks, even for the women that were escorted into the Cruise. There would also be a handful of assorted wines that could be ordered. A few red wines and a few white wines were on hand, a few of them would be, whatever the current “hot” label was and the rest were basic wines that were just constantly ordered by the regulars. One of the regular wines that I recall was Mouton-Cadet, a Bordeaux blend that was from Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild fame. This wine was a far removed relative of that classic wine, but it was a fine dependable red wine that suited the clientele and the cuisine of The Cruise Inn.