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Entries in Bars (155)

Tuesday
Jul152014

Excelsior to Close, Looking for a New Home

The building that's been home to Excelsior, one of the area's only remaining gay bars, since 1999, has been sold, and it will be closing soon, a bartneder there confirmed.

The venerable establishment has outlasted plenty of other nearby watering holes, and along with Ginger's it's the only local one geared toward the LGBT community. While they're being forced to close, it's not due to a rent increase or the like; the building was sold and needs to be delivered vacant, and while a closing date hasn't been set yet there's a good chance that they'll be sticking around until August 31.

While they'll no longer be in the same space by the time cooler weather rolls around, they're not gone for good; the bartender told me that the owners are actively searching for a new home nearby.

Photo via Foursquare

Tuesday
May132014

Duke of Montrose Bar Loses Scottish Theme, Now Just The Montrose

Duke of Montrose, the Scottish bar that opened on the corner of 5th and Bergen last July, has rebranded: now they're just The Montrose, and they've jettisoned the Scottish theme.

When the bar opened, it had quite possibly the widest selection of Scotch whisky in the borough: nearly 200 were available, classified in a huge menu by Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, Speyside, and Islands regions. Apparently that concept wasn't working out; the owners have kept only about 15 of them and shipped the rest off to their other pub, Caledonia, on the Upper East Side.

The beer selection used to be primarily Scottish, with five Belhaven varieties. That's also been replaced with a more run-of-the-mill craft beer selection, with 15 beers on tap including Goose Island IPA, Sixpoint Sweet Action, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and three Brooklyn offerings. They're also planning on introducing a menu of burgers and other traditional pub fare in the next several weeks.

A manager told me that they were losing potential customers, especially those attending events at the Barclays Center, because they didn't stock the expected beer and liquor selection.

Scotch whisky isn't an easy liquor to get really into (enough so that you seek out brands not available at most bars), but Duke of Montrose was unique and valuable for just that reason: it specialized in something, and employees were extremely knowledgeable about it. There should be someplace in the neighborhood where you can get a glass of Bunnahabhain if you want one, and have the bartender walk you through what makes it different from a Glenfarclas. 

Thursday
May012014

Breaking: Terroir Park Slope is For Rent

 

Terroir, the outpost of the popular East Village-based mini-chain of wine bars that opened in September of 2012 in the prime corner storefront on Fifth Avenue and First Street that was last occupied by bar Great Lakes, is for rent. Many thanks to a tipster for sending over the above listing (click for a larger version).

The wine bar anchors one of the best blocks for food in the city, which also includes Calexico, Blue Ribbon, Bonnie's Grill, and Naruto Ramen. It opened with plenty of fanfare, and all signs pointed to it being a success: a great selection of wine, a small if well-curated menu, and a heck of a pedigree (chef Marco Canora and sommelier Paul Grieco are the brains behind it and the four other locations, all in Manhattan).

The listing doesn't mention monthly rent, but one can only expect that it's exorbitant. I've reached out to the owners for comment and will update if I hear back.

UPDATE: Grieco has confirmed the impending closure to Eater: "Yes, Terroir Park Slope will be closing after we find a great tenant to take over the space."

Friday
Mar212014

Loki Lounge Officially on the Market

It's been a couple months since word got around that the owners of Loki Lounge, the bar that's held down the corner of 5th Avenue and 2nd Street since 1999, were planning on seriously downsizing due to a rent increase. When I spoke with a bartender a couple weeks ago he told me that the plan was to sell off the portion of the space that's currently the bar area but hold onto the back "lounge" area and convert that remaining portion into a new bar, with an entrance on 2nd Street. That all appears to be finally underway, as Park Slope Stoop noticed that the space is currently up for rent on Craigslist.

A rep from the bar confirmed to me that the initial plan to split in half is still in place, and that Benchmark, the adjacent steakhouse with the same owners, will be remaining open as well. The space is on the market for $11,500/ month (the equivalent of 2,300 $5 well drinks), and can be turned over as-is with no key money.

Monday
Mar172014

McMahon's Public House Opens in O'Connor's Space on Fifth

One year and nine months since closing for a renovation, a completely rebuilt O'Connor's bar soft-opened yesterday (the official opening is today), with an entirely new look and a new name: McMahon's Public House.

Owners Mike and Jimmy McMahon, who purchased the classic dive bar (on 5th between Bergen and Dean) a few years ago from the descendants of original owner Dominic O'Connor, decided to rename the bar in honor of their late father, and if you thought that the new bar would bear any resemblance to its beloved predecessor, think again: it's more than tripled in size, is gleaming, has an extensive draft beer selection, and is anything but a dive.

The old bar hadn't had any major upgrades since first opening back in 1931, meaning that while it was a veritable time machine there were no draft lines and a crumbling infrastructure (a back wall collapsed in the earliest days of the renovation). "If it was still the way it was, the roof would have collapsed this winter because of all the snow," Mike told me. "We salvaged as much as we could, but honestly there wasn't much we could do. We tried to save the bar itself but it was worm-eaten."

A handful of decorative touches remain from O'Connor's, including a giant moose's head with a bra still hanging off of it, an old wall clock, and (miraculously) the old phone booth, which has been refurbished and installed in the downstairs room with a working pay phone. A small section of the rear brick wall was also left intact.

Once you make your peace with the fact that the O'Connor's we knew and loved is long-gone, you'll notice that the new bar is one of the biggest in the neighborhood, and is comfortable and nicely appointed. The front room lets in a ton of natural light and has ample seating, and a back dining room seats about 40. There's plenty of dark wood, high ceilings, and charcoal gray walls.

The back room

There's also a second floor, which will open up for private events and when the first floor is at capacity. It boasts a second full bar, ample seating, and a patio. It has a slightly more industrial feel, all black and metallic gray.

There are 12 beers on tap at the moment but Maher plans to install more, with a goal of having about 30 taps in total. Beers average $5-7, and there will also be a daily happy hour. They're planning on opening at 9 am every morning like in the old days, and the kitchen (with a full menu, including homemade corned beef and cabbage) will be up and running in about three weeks.

So raise a glass to O'Connor's; it'll only remain the way it was in our memories. But I think it's been replaced by a shiny new bar that's hard to find major fault with, one that certainly appears to be a very solid watering hole.

So here's one last look at the old bar room:

And the same view, today: