So Long, Marcus Dairy Bar

Iconic motorcycle hang-out closing its doors

The Marcus Dairy Bar, long a gathering spot for East Coast riders, (especially those from the metro NY area), is about to close. Opened in 1947 by local farmer Jack Marcus and his wife Pearl, as a sideline to the family’s dairy and bottling operation, the Dairy Bar was originally a small restaurant that specialized in turkey sandwiches (Pearl insisted on roasting fresh birds every day), and homemade ice cream. In the early 70’s, a small group of local riders began gathering there on Sunday mornings, in large part because it had inexpensive food, a large parking lot, and its central location - plenty of great roads lead to and from the place. At the time, there were maybe 10-15 guys showing up on a regular basis, but that changed when local paper, the Danbury News Times, ran a shot of three riders (including yours truly), arriving on a cold Sunday morning in January of 1977. The shot made the front page of the weekend edition and by summertime the place was literally overwhelmed by riders.

Sometime after that, the New York Times ran an article, and Kawasaki used the Dairy as backdrop for one of their Good Times ads, both of which added fuel to the fire. In recent years, it was not unusual to see upwards of a thousand bikes there on a good day.

Unfortunately, the property is now worth more than either the restaurant or the bottling plant, so Jack - who at 94 is still involved in the daily operations - and his sons have decided to develop the land. The Dairy Bar will cease operations on December 31 of 2010. Rumor has it that a new Dairy Bar may be built on an adjoining site, but at this time, plans were undecided.