The kind of place where everyone knows your name has become a rare thing in New York. But, at Milano’s on Houston, the bartender greets you by name as you enter and the regulars are all old mates. Last night, they came out in full force — even those who, like lousy Catholics for Midnight Mass, only make it out one night a year — for Milano’s annual Christmas party.
As always, the drinks were free from 4 till 8 p.m. And, as always, Dick Shea (profiled in the Times a couple years back), with his long, white beard — a real one he wears year-round — came straight over from his shift as the Manhattan Mall Santa to play St. Nick for his fellow patrons. The Pogues played on the jukebox, while the regulars knocked back their usuals. Everyone got caught up with what everyone else has been up to, much like any close-knit community does around this time of year. And, from the looks of it, the tips weren’t half bad.