Can Bill Murray mix a drink? The world may never know.
The “Ghostbusters” actor, and New York City’s friendly party ghost, lent his starpower to Friday night’s preopening party for 21 Greenpoint, formerly River Styx, a new upscale spot owned by his son, Homer Murray. The elder Murray mostly served (and drank) shots of tequila and vodka — much like his last reported “bartending” stint at SXSW in 2010.
But who’s complaining when it means the drinks are served faster and you get to take shots with one of today’s genuine living legends? Well, maybe the people standing outside who were hoping to join the party. Hundreds waited hours for just a glimpse of Murray as he entered the restaurant at about 8 p.m. Others showed up just catch a peek of him at work through the front windows. One wise group even came in their own party bus, so they weren’t too put out about not getting inside.
The actual bartenders at 21 Greenpoint, which opens next week, did turn out some promising drinks during the evening. The cocktail menu features options like the seasonal Punk N’ Pebbles (blanco tequila, allspice dram, lemon, pumpkin, Benedictine, black walnut bitters, nutmeg), the Oaxacan Old Fashioned (mezcal, ancho reyes, demerara, angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, lemon and orange oils) and the Singapore Sling (gin, cherry, Benedictine, pineapple, lime, angostura bitters, charged water) — widely popular, if only for the hurricane glass with an umbrella perched on top, which fit the room’s silly, excited mood. Murray had a hand in mixing some of these beverages between chatting with guests, posing for photos and jovially dancing or otherwise goofing around with various bar props. What’s not to like about improv with booze?
He also gave a sweet speech to his son, Homer, a charming and approachable host who greeted guests at the door for most of the evening: “This is my firstborn son, Homer. I am so happy that he has not continued in the family business. Instead, he has taken the joy of the family to have a drink, and have a meal, and have friends together in one place, and made it his life’s work. To my son, and his friends, and his work friends, and all of his partners.”
With his father taking much of the night’s focus, it was endearing to see humble Homer having his own moment in the spotlight. The two later came out together to greet guests while Murray took a short break from behind the bar; for the actor, that included kissing rows of women for pictures. “I don’t kiss on the cheek,” he stated. “Just the mouth.” And so the crowds swarmed.
Murray will be bartending at 21 Greenpoint again tonight starting at 7 p.m. If your name isn’t on the guest list, there could still be hope: A small handful of fans (out of hundreds) did manage to make their way inside after about five hours, so good luck to you.