NYC dive bars we'll miss: Last call
Old dive bars are being swept away in NYC. Whether by development, changing neighborhood tastes or rent increases, the old NYC is disappearing.
In honor of those beloved watering holes, we take a look back at the bars that we knew once in a very different New York.
The Candle Bar
Upper West Side gay bar, the oldest lasting and only gay bar in the neighborhood, told DNAinfo that it would close. It shut its doors on June 22, 2015. Real estate prices are of course blamed for the closing of the beloved 'Cheers' -like neighborhood bar. The weekend of June 19th will bring days of parties to drink up the memories. Candle Bar has been open since the 1960s. (Credit: FACEBOOK/TheCandleBar)
Hogs & Heifers Saloon
Located across the street from the glitzy Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District, Hogs and Heifers dates back to 1992, when the area was once filled with prostitutes and fetish clubs. The rent then was $3,000 a month, according to the Daily News, but now it is $14,000 a month and is expected to rise up to $60,000 a month under new landlords, owner Michelle Dell told the Daily News. "That is just not tenable for a business like Hogs and Heifers," Dell told DNA Info. "I sell Pabst Blue Ribbon for $3. I still sell beer for $5 or $6. I am not a business that can sell a bottle of beer for $12 and margaritas for $15." The bar famously took the bras of women, and the bartenders danced on the bar at night--and served as the inspiration for the bar in the film "Coyote Ugly." The bar closed in August.(Credit: Flickr / w_yvr)
Tribeca's 33-year-old Raccoon Lodge is poised to close come January, as developers sweep away the building and small businesses on the block to make room for a new luxury tower. Many Wall Street workers seeking a nearby escape from the stress of their jobs have turned to the dive bar. Its wooden exterior is a rarity among the sleek concrete buildings of lower Manhattan. Inside, a moose head hangs on a wall near the bar; colorful neon and string lights dangle all around. Friendly bartenders have been known to give candid conversations and have kept patrons returning for years. The bar is set to close its doors by Jan. 1, 2016. All eight businesses on the block are expected to be gone by February. (Credit: Raccoon Lodge via Facebook)
Located across the street from Bloomingdale's for 77 years, midtown's Subway Inn managed to actually fight eviction and win. In July 2014, the bar announced it would close on August 15th, although the owners promised they would not go down without a fight. After weeks of fighting off eviction, the bar's owners announced in October they would close at their current location on Dec. 2, but will reopen just two blocks away in 2015. The bar's new location opened at 60th St. and Second Ave. on March 20, which many said looked the same--except the bathrooms are now "(relatively) immaculate." (Credit: Flickr / kpaulus)
Trash Bar, Williamsburg
The Williamsburg of yore will be completely gone soon. Trash Bar, located on Grand St. since its opening in 2004, closed its doors in summer 2015, the bar confirmed on its Facebook page. The bar's owners said they would be moving to an "undisclosed Bushwick location," and they bid on a space at 63 Montrose, but it's unclear if they will indeed reopen there. In Brokelyn, bartender Eric Kingera remembers it as "never hip, always dirty, perpetually falling apart, its the place with the name tourists giggle at, sticking out like a sore thumb in 2015 Williamsburg." (Credit: Flickr / subinev)
Chinatown's karaoke legend Winnie's closed in March 2015. According Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, the 28-year-old Winnie's was a "bar before that and a bar before that." (Credit: FLICKR/shawnhoke)
Times Square lost another icon of its gritty past. Dive bar Smith's, located at 8th Ave. and 44th St. since 1954, will shut its doors on Oct. 30. As Times Square became more and more family-friendly, Smith's remained true to its roots. A sign in the window promised hot sandwiches, and a steamed meat table greeted patrons. Pickpockets ran rampant during the grittier years. And in 1994, an NYPD officer killed himself at a table the day after Christmas. After changing hands in 2009, Smith's became more tourist-friendly, but still maintained its iconic neon sign.
Earlier this month, Smith's got a reprieve from retired NYC firefighter Skip Panettiere (father of actress Hayden), who will reopen the bar in March. (Credit: Sheila Anne Feeney)
Ding Dong Lounge
Located near Columbia University, the Upper West Side dive the Ding Dong Bar opened in 2001 and became a neighborhood classic. Although included in the Village Voice's Best Dive Bars in 2013 (described as having "not a single television set. The bathrooms are—well, the place has bathrooms") as well as Gothamist's Best Dive Bars, the Ding Dong Lounge announced in July that its last night would be on Thursday, July 31. "The Ding has lost its lease," Ding Dong DJ Linda Rizzo told Vanishing New York. "Victim to landlord greed..." On its website, the bar wrote: "This is not the end of the Ding, as we will be relocating & reopening in the new future." Patrons are advised to check back for the exact location. (Credit: Flickr / efeb)
The last remnant of an East Village come and gone, the Mars Bar hung on for a long, long time. It finally closed in 2011, after quite the struggle, with owner Hank Penza telling The Village Voice that he "got tired." The bar was barely existing in a changed neighborhood, and a visit from the Health Department didn't help things. The building was knocked down, apartments and a TD Bank moved in. But recently it was reported that Penza would be opening something new in the same location, in collaboration with the development company that tore down the original Mars. The irony is thick... (Credit: FLICKR/ Bitch Cakes)
The East Village's beloved dive bar, Rodeo Bar, closed its doors for good on July 27, 2014. The bar, which called itself "New York's longest-running honkey-tonk," said on its website that "recent rent increases, combined with a changing landscape, have made it impossible for us continue." In a message on their Facebook page, the bar wrote "It's our final Rodeo! Tonight live at the Rodeo- Eugene Chrysler at 10pm. No Cover! This is the Final show. We love Y'all!" (Credit: Flickr / edenpictures)
The Lower East Side punk bar opened its doors on Ludlow Street in 1989, and it soon became an artist's haven with patrons such as Johnny Depp and Elliott Smith. But rising rents forced owner Ulli Rimkus to close Max Fish's doors (and legendary bathrooms) in July 2013. But Rimkus told The Lo Down that the bar would come back, and the bar reopened on August 2. (Credit: Flickr / emry)
St. Jerome's at 155 Rivington Street opened in 2006, and counted Lady Gaga as a bartender before she became famous. Described by a former bartender in Vice as a "horrible and fantastic place," St. Jerome's catered to the Lower East Side's underclass. Owner Luc Carl wrote even wrote a book called "The Drunk Diet," with tips on how to eat greasy food and drink all the time (even to cure hangovers) and still lose weight. In October 2012, he sold the bar to East Village nightclub regulars Joshua Yerington and Matt Romano, who turned it into Rivington F+B. (Credit: Google)
Jackie's 5th Amendment
In the days before Park Slope became the home of yuppie parents (Jackie's was rumored to dating back 75 years, according to New York), Jackie's 5th Amendment stayed around far longer than other dive bars in the neighborhood. Maybe it was the bucket of beers for $10 or early-morning Happy Hour, or that the bar tried to secede from Park Slope for good in 2012. But it couldn't outlast the owner's declining health, and Jackie's closed for good in September 2013. "I'm pretty sure I got Hep C. I've been to some pretty dive-y bars but this one really takes the cake," wrote one reviewer on Yelp. Farewell, Jackie's. (Credit: Google)
SoHo will never be the same. Known as a blue-collar bar that was rumored to date back to the 1940s, Milady's also drew its fair share of celebrities and other of Prince Street's more recent transplants (Bruce Springsteen even frequented in the 1990s). But that wasn't enough to keep it in line with SoHo's soaring rents, and the bar closed for good in January 2014. "It's a dive bar," owner Frank Genovese told The New York Times when the bar closed. "I serve burgers; a beer is 5 bucks. I can no longer sustain that formula. It doesn’t work anymore. The egg that once cost me 5 cents now costs 50 cents." (Credit: Flickr / edenpictures)