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Entries in Bars (163)

Wednesday
Jan142015

Loki Lounge Reopens in Half of Previous Space

Loki Lounge, the bar that's been on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Second Street since 1999, closed up shop a couple months ago, about eight months after the owners put the space on the market. They didn't close for good, however; while about two-thirds of the space (facing Fifth Avenue) is still for rent, the remaining space, accessible via a staircase around the corner on Second Street, has reopened with a brand new concept.

The cozy new space, above, is certainly an improvement from the rather dour previous one, and the owners probably should have given it a new name to separate it from its past. There's plenty of exposed brick, a working fireplace, and light woods, with a bar that seats eight and a handful of tables. There's a solid selection of craft cocktails made with fresh-made juices, as well as a food menu of small bites and sandwiches that looks pretty good: dishes include soy-glazed chicken wings, bay scallop tacos, BBQ pork sliders, lamb flatbread with olives and gryuere, a burger, a shaved Italian beef sandwich, fried baby chicken, and cheese and charcuterie, topping out at $13.

The new bar is a little difficult to find, hiding behind a small door with no sign, but it's hard to argue that it's not an imprevement from its previous incarnation.

Friday
Dec192014

Die Koelner Bierhalle Seized for Nonpayment of Taxes

Die Koelner Bierhalle (The KBH), the gigantic German beer hall on St. Marks Place just east of Fourth Avenue, has been seized by the NYS Dept. of Taxation and Finance for failure to pay taxes. Many thanks to tipster Chloe for sending in the above photo, of the infamous orange sign in the locked-up doorway. According to the government's online database, there's a lien on the property for more than $23,000.

The beer hall opened in August 2012, and was the largest drinking establishment in the neighborhood. There was a solid selection of German beer and sausages, but the vibe has always been a little off, largely idue to the cold and industrial space, spotty service, and somewhat depressing mood. It never really attracted neither a regular clientele nor the Barclays crowd.

The space was rarely empty but also rarely full (save for the World Cup final, when the line to get in stretched to the corner), but it never appeared to be doing exactly well. I'd be very interested in seeing if it re-opens.

Friday
Oct172014

Calexico (Finally) Gets Liquor License, Celebrating This Weekend

It's been eight long, torturous months since Calexico, an offshoot of the popular Manhattan-based Cal-Mex mini-chain, opened with much fanfare on Fifth between First and Garfield. Why torturous? Because the bar area, full of so much potential, was sitting there woefully underused due to the fact that the city hadn't yet bestowed upon it a liquor license. Well last week they finally received it, and this weekend they're celebrating.

From tonight through Sunday, the restaurant will be offering two-for-one specials on Margaritas and beer. Margaritas come both on the rocks and frozen, and in flavors including blood orange and jalapeno mint. Specialty cocktails include the Tequila Mockingbird, with basil-infused tequila, watermelon, jalapeno, agave, and lime juice, and micheladas, beers, wines, and plenty of tequilas are also available.

So nearly 2 and a half years since the owners first announced that they'd be moving into the space, they've finally come full circle. Congrats, team!

Photo via Instagram

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.