portraits of dorrian’s-part 10: Thorson Rockwell

Friday, February 25, 2011

From the pages of AVENUE’s February issue, one of the many memories of the Unofficial Preppy Clubhouse…

I still go to Dorrian’s! Much to my dismay, I’ve been in that bar for 30 years. Dan, one of the brothers, is one of my best friends, so I got introduced to the place through him.

We used to play soccer together in Central Park. I started going to Dorrian’s when I was 18 or 19 years old—that was the drinking age at that time, maybe in 1978 or ’79. Whenever I was in town, home from school, I’d go—every Thanksgiving and Christmas and in the summer. Then, when I was living on 81st Street in the late ’90s/early 2000s, I was there three times a week, saying hello and having dinner—they still have a pretty good cheeseburger.

It’s the best place I know. It’s where everybody I know from childhood goes. Like “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name. To this day, when a group of us get together, we pick Dorrian’s every single time over the course of my 50 years on the planet. It’s our first line of defense. I spent a lot of my birthdays in that place. I went there on a number of New Year’s Eves to ring it in. Out of every bar I’ve been to in New York, and I’ve been to buckets of them, I’ve always had the best time at Dorrian’s because whenever I walk in there, there’s someone I know. It has a very special spot in my heart.

Johnny and I are really good friends, Danny actually worked for me for a while and Jim is a good friend. Michael has been in the business for a long time. I know all of the children. Their mother is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. The woman has been able to hold the place together over the years. They’re one of New York’s great old families. The place has always been super successful. Jack Dorrian, the father, was able to put all of his children through New York private schools and colleges. He’s a riot. He always has a cigar plastered to his face.  It’s funny because I always saw the Beavers brothers, who owned the Surf Club, at Dorrian’s before they went over to the Surf Club. —Thorson Rockwell


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