Back in the late ’70s, the owner of a Heights pizza parlor wanted to buy the bar down the block. The dough slinger saw the neighborhood pub as a diamond-in-the-rough, ready to be polished into a fine eatery. The tavern’s shamrock-toting proprietor nixed the deal. Behind the bar, he told his customers that the — here using a colloquial expression — could do something anatomically impossible with the money.
Still dreaming of establishing a beachhead for the culinary arts in the Jersey City Heights, the pizza man kept upping the ante. He finally reached the then wildly extravagant figure of $40,000.
As luck would have it, that New Year’s Eve, a Fire Captain just happened to be celebrating in the bar. His trained and honed senses alerted him to a discordant smell amongst the wafting odors of liquor, beer, and tobacco. The fire fighter rushed to the basement. There he observed that a heating fuel pipe had (somehow or other) come loose from its fitting and was sending a spray of combustible fluid about the premises. Perhaps escorted by a squadron of green-winged guardian angels, this heroic individual ran upstairs. The Fire Captain announced the situation to the revelers and led them out to safety. Immediately afterwards, the place ignited and quickly burnt to the ground.
The pizza parlor owner offered the same $40,000 just for the empty lot and the liquor license. A saloon — not a restaurant — is there today.