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Buddy Holly proposed to his wife Maria Elena at P. J. Clarke’s. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons by Jazz Guy

What New York City saloon brings together Buddy Holly, Woody Allen, Frank Sinatra, Dick Clark, and Don Draper?

Officially located at 915 Third Avenue (on the corner of 55th Street), the original P.J. Clarke’s was and is a favorite of many celebrities and Madison Avenue advertising executives in the sixties. Its history dates back  to its founding in 1884 when it was called Hennings. It was sold to bartender Patrick Joseph Clarke in 1912, hence the name, who lived his final moments behind the bar. P.J. Clarke’s was recently sold in bankruptcy court to Philip Scotti and a group of investors that decided to close it down for a year-long renovation meant to leave the establishment as it was decades ago. They now have several locations in Chicago, Washington D.C., and Las Vegas.

The saloon is famous for its sidecar, both the drink and the more upscale dining room one floor above the saloon. According to the New York Times, they also have the bartender of your dreams. They make a mean burger for Liza Minnelli and oversized urinals.

P.J. Clarke’s features prominently in Billy Wilder’s adaptation of Charles R. Jackson’s The Lost Weekend, as it was a favorite of the author.

pj clarkes-the lost weekend-film locations-nycImage source: On the Set of New York

Peggy celebrated her sucessful copywriting for Belle Jolie in the first season of Mad Men at P.J. Clarke’s, indulging in a highly awkward cha-cha with Freddie Rumsen.

pj clarkes-mad men-the hobo code-film locations-nycImage source: Netflix

Annie Hall actually used a different location of P.J. Clarke’s situated across from Lincoln Center. At the time of filming the locale was home to a restaurant called O’Neal’s Balloon.

pj clarke's-Annie Hall-film locations-nycImage source: GlamAmour.

pj clarke's-lincoln center-annie hall-film locations-nycFun Fact: Bernie Madoff was once an investor of the building where the saloon is located. Image source: PopSpotNYC.

For more Annie Hall film locations visit the super sleuth at PopSpotNYC. For more Mad Men locations, check out our Mad Men Guide to New York City.

See more from our Film Locations column.

2 Comments

  1. Senator says:

    Neither “Lost Weekend,” nor “Mad Men” were filmed in P.J. Clarke’s.

    The “Lost Weekend” was partially written inside Clarke’s, and certainly based on it, but when they initially started filming the then 3rd Ave. El was too disruptive, and they filmed all the bar scenes in Los Angeles on a stage that sort-of had a passing resemblance to P.J. Clarke’s.

  2. Michael says:

    Doug Quinn was fired awhile ago for refusing to serve an already plastered regular.

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