There’s a wall at Drinker’s Pub in Rittenhouse that from the front door looks like a colorful mosaic. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it’s a mural made of forgotten credit and debit cards with holes punched through them.
There must be thousands up there, collected over 12 years. “And we have about 2,000 more,” said owner Joe Crouse. “We just have to figure out where to put them.”
Restaurant and bar customers leave behind all kinds of stuff: umbrellas, backpacks, winter clothing. Sometimes they leave bags of drugs, musical instruments, their transportation, and dental gear. “And their dignity,” said Brian Sirhal, who co-owns the Feliz restaurants, ruefully.
Fergus Carey of Fergie’s Pub, who by the way has a special hole-punch that converts unclaimed credit cards into guitar picks, recalled that when he tended bar at Tritone in South Philadelphia, someone had left behind a double bass for several months before claiming it. “How do you forget about a giant, $2,000 instrument for months?” Carey asked.
Recently, Carey and business partner Jim McNamara decided to clean out Fergie’s closet of found items, packing up hats, sunglasses, ties, a cummerbund, a raincoat sash, baby pants, and what Carey estimated as a billion mismatched gloves — all bound for Goodwill.
Concetta Varallo at Ristorante Pesto in South Philadelphia has her own music-related find: a karaoke machine that a customer had asked her to stash in a closet during dinner a year ago. He never claimed it, she said. Presumably, he found some backing musicians.
As a solid dinner option about 15 minutes from South Philly’s sports and entertainment complex, Pesto used to hear tales of woe in the days before you could download show and sports tickets to a phone. Customers would eat, drive off, park outside the venue, and discover that they had left the tickets on the table. Then they’d miss the action while rushing back to the restaurant.
More routinely, Pesto sees makeup, jewelry, insulin needles, hair clips, all kinds of eyewear, and dental retainers.
How do you forget a retainer?
One regular at Dandelion near Rittenhouse Square had popped out his false tooth and left it behind, said Justin Weathers, a former general manager. He later returned and kissed the waitress who found it.
A man newly diagnosed as blind once forgot his cane in a restroom at Caribou Cafe in Washington Square West. Chef-owner Olivier Desaintmartin knew exactly where to find the man: Wills Eye Hospital, three blocks away.
Another Caribou customer decided to shed her Louboutin pumps during dinner and changed into slippers that she then blithely wore down the street to a show at the Forrest Theatre. She returned after the show to claim her shoes.
Kawaii Kitty Cafe in Queen Village, where customers can play with and adopt cats, gets the usual forgotten items — socks, a bottle of unmarked pills, false eyelashes, press-on nails. That is, until the day a man walked out and left a live bunny he said he had “saved” from the Italian Market. When owner Kristin Eissler told him that she would take it to a shelter — she deals with cats, not rabbits — he got upset and left with it. Such drama keeps ’em hopping, all right.
Staff at Time in Washington Square West reported finding a taco costume once. Oh-queso …
Someone left behind a unicycle at the old Industry bar in Pennsport on New Year’s Eve, and a lawyer left a file folder labeled Pablo Escobar at Good Dog, said owner Heather Gleason.
Speaking of drugs: Owner Lindsey Pete said someone left a bag containing pot, rolling papers, and a pamphlet titled “Finding Jesus” on a table at Chestnut Hill Brewing Co. This all went unclaimed.
Speaking of lawyers: Attendees of a holiday party at Scarpetta in the Rittenhouse Hotel were given gift bags. One bag was left behind. In it was a mug with the “download” icon and the words “divorce loading …”