Volume 75, Number 40 | February 22 -28 2006

Obituary

Malcolm Raphael, 80, bartender at the 55 Bar

Malcolm Raphael, original manager and day bartender of the 55 Bar, now known as 55 Jazz Club, at 55 Christopher St., died in Feb. 7 at a hospital near his home in Brookhaven, L.I., at the age of 80. He had been diagnosed with cancer.

“Malcolm was exceptionally memorable, a Village legend in the days when bars like 55, Lion’s Head, Corner Bistro, The White Horse, Ascher’s, Paula’s, Jimmy Day’s and George Hertz’s, were known for serious drinkers, memorable patrons and bartenders,” said Lee Taylor, a good friend.

The bar where Raphael presided was located between Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 riot that sparked the gay liberation movement, and Lion’s Head, a watering place favored by writers and reporters.

“Malcolm would put one leg over a sink with a cigarette in one hand and converse with regulars,” Taylor said. “One day, Paul Hoffman, a writer friend, couldn’t get Malcolm’s attention to order his usual martini, so he went to the payphone and called his order into the bar phone,” Taylor recalled.

Malcolm Raphael joined the Navy as a teenager during World War II and served until the end of the war.

His wife of 40 years, Davie Lee Raphael, and a daughter survive. A memorial service was held at the Calverton, the military cemetery on Long Island.

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