[The 90’s raw: Joe Distler’s Riverrun bar]

Raw tape for the award-winning series The 90's. This tape features an interview with Joe Distler in his bar, Riverrun, in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. The tape also some interviews with laid-back patrons.

00:14Copy video clip URL Shots of Joe Distler bartending.

00:45Copy video clip URL Distler talks about what he perceives as the trends in popular types of alcohol, and the changes that bars have made accordingly. He says that people don’t drink “brown liquor” anymore, they prefer vodka, mixed drinks, and beers. He thinks this is because of concerns about drunk driving and their health. However, he says cognac remains popular.

1:50Copy video clip URL Distler talks about the difference between famous people who open restaurants as opposed to people like himself. Famous people, according to Distler, don’t do the kind of hands-on work that “real restaurant people” do. Famous people in the neighborhood don’t bother him, though, because his business has been going strong for years.

2:45Copy video clip URL Some regulars and patrons at the bar are interviewed, and say that the bar is a good place to meet nice people.

05:00Copy video clip URL Distler explains that his bar is popular because women do not feel as though they will be bothered in his bar, and “it’s a real neighborhood type operation.” He says there are no “heavy-drinkers” bars anymore, but there are more and more “theme” bars.

06:30Copy video clip URL The patrons interact with Distler as he continues to bartend.

07:26Copy video clip URL Distler discusses more changes in bars, where he sees more and more sports and theme bars, but these establishments are not long-lived. “The minute they’re in, they’re out.” He compares the trendiness of theme bars with that of “designer food.” Instead, he tries to make his bar a neighborhood bar.

08:50Copy video clip URL More patrons are casually interviewed. One woman describes the bar as comfortable, and talks about how she appreciates Distler.

12:00Copy video clip URL More shots of Distler bartending, some larger shots of the whole bar, and patrons conversing with each other and with Distler.

17:05Copy video clip URL Distler talks about the variety of people who frequent his bar. He says the Tribeca area sees a lot of artists, and he even gets Robert de Niro, who owns a place nearby, eating in his bar. Distler says “Bob” and his friends feel comfortable going to Distler’s bar, because it is relaxing and no one bothers them there.

18:35Copy video clip URL Distler goes on to joke with some patrons and discuss wine with them. Distler points out a man down the bar from Bordeaux in order to emphasize the great variety of patronage he sees.

20:42Copy video clip URL End of tape.



  1. Brendan says:

    Smart move selling the River Run before 9/11 Joe!

  2. Wow Joe Distler, fond memories of this incredible person.
    Was my High School teacher actually one of the few classes
    I enjoyed. Had great fun hearing his stories about the Bull Run in Spain. Not to mention a good basketball player an all
    around great guy. Glad to have seen this interview, and wish him well and continued success. Best Regards, Gilson Garcia ( Islip High School class of 1984)

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