A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 15, 2018
“Paint the town red”

Entry in progress—B.P.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
paint, v.
transitive. colloq. (orig. U.S.). to paint the town (red) (and variants): to enjoy oneself flamboyantly; go on a boisterous or exuberant spree.
1882 Semi-weekly Interior Jrnl. (Stanford, Kentucky) 10 Mar. 1/4 He gets on a high old drunk with a doubtful old man, and they paint the town red together.
1883 N.Y. Times 27 July 5/3 Mr. James Hennessy offered a resolution that the entire body proceed forthwith to Newark and get drunk… Then the Democrats charged upon the street cars, and being wafted into Newark proceeded, to use their own metaphor, to ‘paint the town red’.

Chronicling America
18 January 1882, The Weekly Register (Point Pleasant, WV), “Lesilative Primer,” pg. 2, col. 4:
Mountain Dew, my boy, is the liquid representative of a fiery furnace; it is the elixir of a West Virginia Legislator’s life; he would rather do without his dinner than his Mountain Dew, and whenever he wants to paint the town red or paralyze things by making a flowery speech, he gets gloriously full of Mountain Dew.

Do these men paint the town red and make flowery speeches very often?

More frequently than seldom.

Chronicling America
10 March 1882, Semi-Weekly Interior Journal (Stanford, KY), “The Lobby at Frankfort,” pg. 1, col. 4:
He gets on a high old drunk with a doubtful man, and they paint the town red together.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, October 15, 2018 • Permalink