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Posts Tagged ‘John Thomas’

Robert Ross Band at Cha Cha's of Coney Island. October 15, 2010. Copyright © Kenny Lombardi 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Robert Ross Band at Cha Cha's of Coney Island. October 15, 2010. Copyright © Kenny Lombardi 2010. All Rights Reserved.

ATZ enjoyed some great music and great company last night at Cha Cha’s in Coney Island. The fact that both the 2010 season and the leases of the Boardwalk businesses end on October 31 makes us appreciate the good times even more. Last night, Robert “Bluesman” Ross and his Bluesmanian Devils played some smoking hot blues and kicked off a weekend tribute to JT.

John Thomas, who passed away in September, was the general manager of Cha Cha’s and its predecessor Club Atlantis for many years. He gave quite a few bands their start, which is reflected in the line up for Sunday’s all-day jam session: Classic Rock with Girls on Top, Bridgid Bibbens of Viper Vixens, Mel “Guitar” Williams, Amy Madden, Phoenix Rivera, Stephen Porro and Paul Sanchez are among the musicians who will perform beginning at 2:30 pm.

ATZ will be back on the Boardwalk tonight to hang out at Ruby’s with South Brooklyn bloggers Brian Hedden of BK Southie and Ned Berke of Sheepshead Bites, among others. Then we’ll adjourn to Cha Cha’s to catch Bluesball’s set. The group performs music by Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Little Walter, and Howling Wolf. Perhaps they will play “How Many More Years”…

Cha Cha's Bar & Cafe on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. June 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i  via flickr

Cha Cha's Bar & Cafe on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. June 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last night we asked John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia, owner of Cha Cha’s and nearby Beer Island, if he expected to be back next year. “I’ll be back,” he vowed, “If they let me.” Ciarcia and other longtime business owners on the Boardwalk were required to submit business proposals to new landlord Luna Park/Zamperla to qualify for a 9-year lease. The City purchased the land from Thor Equities last year. Zamperla USA CEO Valerio Ferrari tells us some of the Boardwalk businesses will be back in 2011 and some won’t. Will the good times roll in 2011 at Cha Cha’s and Ruby’s? An announcement is expected on October 31. In the meantime, go and enjoy the last few weeks of the season. If you have a sentimental favorite, take some photos as a souvenir. Word on the street is the Boardwalk is going to look a lot different next season.

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October 30 2009: Nov 1: Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s First Swim of the Season!

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Rest in Peace John Thomas

Rest in Peace, John Thomas. September 27 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On Sunday, we came upon this touching tribute to Coney Islander John Thomas, who passed away on September 10. “JT” was the longtime manager of Cha Cha’s as well as its predecessor Club Atlantis. Next Saturday his ashes will be scattered in Coney Island. Rest in Peace, JT.

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Ruby's Bar & Grill, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Ruby's Bar & Grill, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

According to our copy of The Old Carny Almanac, the first day of fall arrives on Wednesday, September 22, at precisely 11:09 pm Eastern Time. Our days of standing behind a counter and calling people in are over until the whole crazy business starts up again next spring. Meanwhile, on the Coney Island Boardwalk, the legendary dive bars Ruby’s and Cha Cha’s rock on.

Anthony Latorre of Neptune Jam at Cha Cha's. August 1, 2010.  Photo © Coney Gal/Mindy via flickr

Anthony Latorre of Neptune Jam at Cha Cha's. August 1, 2010. Photo © Coney Gal/Mindy via flickr

Cha Cha’s, “Home of Wild Women and Wise Guys,” stays open through Halloween, but they keep their decorations up year round. Ruby’s last day of the season is November 21, says Rubyshost, who is tending bar on weekdays from around 10:30 in the morn. “We are now getting into our favorite time at the beach,” she says. “Hot sunny days and cool nights with friends on the boardwalk. On Wednesdays till Oct 27th, Ruby’s will have live music from 5 to 8:30 pm. The beer will be ice cold and the sausages will be hot. Come on out relax with friends at Sundown on the Boardwalk.”

Last night the place was packed. “Had a great fun crowd– a few regulars but a lot of European tourists,” says Rubyshost. “I could have gone till 11 but we were all tired so we closed at 9:30. Paul Sanchez of Neptune Jam will be back every Wednesday evening at Ruby’s with acoustic music. He does a l’il jazz – reggae – country – blues – a bit of everything,”

Robert “Bluesman” Ross and friends have upcoming gigs at both Ruby’s (October date TBA) and Cha Cha’s (October 15th)

Hank 'Coyote' Wagner on harmonica & Robert 'Bluesman' Ross on Guitar. Photo © 2010 Norman Blake. All Rights Reserved

Hank 'Coyote' Wagner on harmonica & Robert 'Bluesman' Ross on Guitar. Photo © 2010 Norman Blake. All Rights Reserved


Here’s Ruby’s schedule. We recommend confirming time and date with Ruby’s Facebook page or the Coney Island Fun Guide event calendar.

Sept 12 – Every Sunday after about 4 pm – Coney Island band Neptune Jam will be playing at Rubys through Nov 21st,Oct 31st, the last day Ruby’s is open this season. The Polar Bear Club begins their winter swims on Sundays in November, too. As daylight changes the time for band will move up slightly. There may be some Sundays they are at Grill House instead.

Sept 22 Wed, 5 – 8:30 pm – The House Band featuring: Mermaid Hawley, Lady Minerva, Lina Moon, & Finkadelic on vocals & glitter; Alan “Fuego” Nunez on percussion & squeezebox; G Laundry on vocals & baritone guitar; Hank “Coyote” Wagner on harmonica & vocals, & Robert “Bluesman” Ross on guitar, & vocals. UPDATE: Will be rescheduled due to JT’s wake and funeral being week of Sept 20. October date TBA.
October 23, Saturday, Grill Out Party, 2:30 PM
October 31, Halloween, End of Season Closing Party

Cha Cha's

Cha Cha's Bar & Cafe on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Here’s Cha Cha’s schedule. There is no cover but that may change for certain bands

Sept 16, Thurs – Karaoke with Amethyst
Sept 18, Sat- Mel “Guitar” Williams
Sept 19, Sun – Richie Lupo & Changes
Sept 23, Thurs – Karaoke with Amethyst
Sept 24, Sat – James Brown Jr “Saxman”
Sept 25, Sat – Rick & Nassau Chainsaw Benefit
Oct 2, Sat – Rock Against Dystrophy Concert
Oct 15, Fri – Robert “Bluesman” Ross & Blues Manian (rescheduled from Sept 12)
Oct 16, Sat – The Rockinghams
Oct 17,Sun – Tribute to JT – All Day Jam Session from 3pm
Oct 31, Sun, Haloween Party with Killer Joe & the Warriors, from 2pm

The sad news of the passing of JT-John Thomas– longtime manager of Cha Cha’s and its predecessor Club Atlantis– was first reported on Cha Cha’s blog and sent out via email…

JT on Easter Sunday 2009 in Coney Island: Boardwalk Closed for Reconstruction, "Cha Cha's Bar is open!"  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

JT on Easter Sunday 2009 in Coney Island: Boardwalk Closed for Reconstruction, "Cha Cha's Bar is open!" Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Recently we learned of JT’s passing on Sept 10, 2010 mid afternoon. JT was the GM/ Club Promoter for Cha Cha’s in Coney Island the past several years but was also the Manager of Club Atlantis back in the day. He would welcome all strangers to Coney with stories of the past and show you where Danny Dreher got his start singing DooWop on the boardwalk. His stories of the Ghost that live in the basement of Club Atlantis that came alive every Halloween will continue to be told to new visitors.

We will update with Funeral arrangements once they have been finalized. Possibly the week of Sept 20th – in Coney Island, NY. For more info call Cha Chas Club – 718-946-1305 or check on Facebook Fan Page.

After Ruby’s closes on November 21 with a post-Polar Bear swim birthday bash for Rubyshost, the next time you can belly up to the bar will be New Year’s Day 2011. Owner Michael Sarrel is confident the bar will be open as usual during the January 1, 2011 Polar Bear Swim, Rubyshost told ATZ. That’s good to hear because Ruby’s and Cha Cha’s are among the 11 Boardwalk businesses required to submit business plans to qualify for a lease with new landlord Luna Park/CAI. The Coney Island Rumor Mill is all over the place on this one: some folks say the majority of the businesses will be back, others claim that only a couple of them will return. Who knows? Personally we can’t imagine anybody not renewing the lease of a bar that was voted the 14th sexiest beach bar in the world by the Travel Channel.

Outside Ruby's Bar on New Year's Day, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Outside Ruby's Bar on New Year's Day, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Coney Island Rumor Mill has been sayin’ since last spring that some or all of the Boardwalk buildings will be torn down to make way for the new Scream Zone. According to the rumor, the buildings would be replaced by new ones. The only reason we even mention it is this could be the last season for Ruby’s and Cha Cha’s as we know them. The vintage photos and kitschy memorabilia could be in completely new digs by spring 2011! Go while you can and savor the last days of the 2010 season, which seems destined to go down in history as the first year of Coney’s re-birth.

Sundown on the Boardwalk. Photo ©  Rubys_host via flickr

Sundown on the Boardwalk. Photo © Rubys_host via flickr

Ruby’s Bar and Grill, 1213 Riegelmann Boardwalk, Coney Island, 718-372-9079

Cha Cha’s Club, 1229 Riegelmann Boardwalk, Coney Island, 718-946-1305

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