by Christopher Wallace, 07/30/2013
Fanelli's. Photo: Malcolm Brown
The story of New York in general, and of SoHo specifically, is told as a sort of dynastic procession of legendary figures, from Nicholas Bayard, who once owned most of the neighborhood, to Basquiat to Justin Timberlake. When, in a hundred years hence, cultural historians leaf back through the colorful characters of yesteryear, one of the preeminent figures will be Bob Bozic, king of Prince Street, raconteur extraordinaire and head bartender at Fanelli's. Sure, the brass rail is home to many hundreds of near mythic personalities throughout the City, but none as lauded as this former boxer and bookie who was profiled in an extensive New Yorker article in 2012. The bar ain't bad either: likely the second-oldest continuously operating drinking establishment in New York City, the venue, at the corner of Mercer and Prince Streets, is the kind of institution that feels like the locals getaway it is. You cannot have a more New York moment than whiling away an afternoon over a pint, listening to Bob's stories or sliding into a booth behind the gingham tablecloths for the satisfyingly hearty fare. A New York institution of another kind, only a few blocks west, is the gloriously seedy dive bar Milady's, where it is not out of the ordinary to rub shoulders with literary luminaries at four in the afternoon (or the morning) while savoring a $4 brewski.