Great Lakes, the ramshackle, nautically-themed dive bar on the corner of Fifth Avenue and First Street, has closed. It's been sealed up tight for over a week, the phone has been disconnected, and former bartender Natasha Metzenseff confirmed that it didn't attract enough customers to sustain the rent, which has grown astronomically in recent years.
The bar, which was at the vanguard of the Fifth Avenue revitalization when it opened in 1997, was run by two friends from the Midwest who also own Boat Bar on Smith Street. They kept it fairly sparse, albeit with a few nautical touches, and focused on serving fairly-priced drinks to a loyal clientele of mostly thirtysomethings. The beer selection was good, the jukebox was well-stocked, and no frills were necessary.
A couple months ago, two giant "For Rent" signs popped up on the facade, meaning that the landlord was trying to sell the bar (or convince the owners to pay a much higher rent), a good indication that it wasn't long for this world. The signs are still there, so apparently it hadn't found any takers before being shuttered.
It'll be interesting to see who the next tenant to occupy this prime corner will be. Maybe a barbecue joint, which historically needs a one-story structure in order to properly vent all the smoke, will take the bait.