Distinctive Coney Island bar
Stepping into Ruby's from the Boardwalk is a bit like stepping into a cave where you can meet the past and present life of Coney Island. The walls are full of photos of days gone by, and offer a view of history while you sit with a drink or a Coney Island meal (hot dog, corn, fries, etc.). Several of the employees have long histories of working there -- one for 57 years, one for "37 or so," another for 27 and yet another for 24. They have seen plenty of the roller coaster-like economic and social times of the place. This is a place where you can philosophize.
It is not McDonalds. The bar, the tables, the old sofa in the back by the juke box are worn with wear by many, many folks. The lighting is dim, and refreshing when you've been out in the sun.
On the wall behind the bar is a wonderful collection of old post cards depicting Coney Island, that have been enlarged to allow viewing from across the bar. Most featured are hand-tinted photos of the long-departed theme parks: Dreamland, Luna Park and Steeplechase. To enjoy a cold beer on a hot day at Ruby's Bar - where you're surrounded by history - as well as the contemporary Coney Island - just feet away - is a wonderful experience. Ruby's is just about the only business left on the boardwalk with any link to the past.
Twenty years ago, Ruby's was but one of several old time bars that survived on the Boardwalk. It is the last, and clearly its days are numbered. It will be a last-piece of Coney history - when it goes.
Why oh why would anyone go to McDonalds or Starbucks at Coney Island, when you have a unique option to take in some real history by visiting Ruby's. Like Nathan's - it's the real deal.
The management at Ruby's assumed last year (2007) would be their final season, but they appear to have hung on for yet another season. The plans to rebuild Coney Island will necessitate leveling this remaining small strip of commericial business on the boardwalk. (May 2008)