This in contrast to The Raveled Sleeve, which catered to prepped-out southerners in entry-level Wall Street banks and investment houses. This place was pretentiously proud, filled with one-a-kind-only, take the suit jacket off, loosen the collar and rep tie, ravel-up the sleeves, and let's knock some back, kind of place.
For me the Hatter was a watering hole for singles on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I lived three blocks from it. A friend, a Price Waterhouse accountant, lived 2 blocks from it. Gary, an NYU MBA grad, was from French Lick, IN. We, and another guy, used to meet there, drink beer, and try to meet women. We were pathetic, I was pathetic, and, well, clueless.
I was clueless and poor as a church mouse. I didn't own a TV. I didn't want a TV either. In summertime I used to go to the Hatter to watch baseball, have a beer, and feel like I was part of a larger group. There were always people in the Hatter. I was a tall borderline skinny dark-haired guy trying to figure out who he was.
So this mid-June night the Yankees were hosting the Red Sox. I went to the Hatter to watch the game. I'm drinking nothing. Next thing I know a woman, no, a girl, is asking me the score; then she's sipping white wine I'm buying for her. And we are talking. She's actually interested in me, so it seems to me, quite genuine, which I like, interested in what I do, in what I say and think, in what I offer about baseball. After awhile she says, time to go, her friends want to leave, I ask for her phone number, if I may call her? She says "Yes," writes it on a napkin. I go back to baseball.
A time later we marry; at a time much later we divorce. Three decades later, now maybe not so clueless, I figure she may have picked me up on a dare, by or with, her two friends who were keeping eyes on her, and maybe on me too.