If you have a launcher like LauncherPro or ADW Launcher, you can just hit the menu button in any homescreen and click NOTIFICATIONS. That however doesn't help if you're in another app and want to bring down the Notification area, unfortunately.
In LP, you can also configure a swipe action to pull down the Notification area.
There's also HelloStatusBar which is an app that when clicked will bring down the bar. One workaround maybe to launch it and then while in another app, long-press HOME to make it show in the recently used app list.
If it works, I would recommend exsbar which allows you to assign the long-press search button or long-press camera button to this function.