Radio WXOU Bar plays same tune under new ownership
Robert Gelardi is living the dream: He now owns his favorite bar, WXOU Radio in the West Village.
By Garett Sloane
Robert Gelardi bought a hole in the wall and he plans to keep it that way.
He recently took over WXOU Radio Bar, an unassuming little spot known for its jukebox and low-key vibe that distinguishes it from more-upscale West Village neighbors.
Were better off being a hole-in-the-wall bar, he said. A very underground bar.Gelardi, 40, was a bartender at WXOU 14 years ago and later went on to a career in the beer and liquor wholesale business. In the 1990s, when he lived on nearby Grove Street, Gelardi said WXOU was the only place he would drink at.
He recently raised enough cash with two other partners to buy it, though he would not say how much he paid.
The opportunity to buy your ideal bar is a once in a lifetime thing, Gelardi said.
Until he stepped in at WXOU, it was part of a group of establishments WCOU Radio Bar (Tile Bar), the Magician, the Brooklyn Inn and 12th Street Ale House all owned by the same partners.
Some had seen the sale of WXOU as a sign that big changes were afoot or that the other bars could be sold eventually, too. Gelardi, who is friends with the old owners, said he knows for a fact that the other places are safe. He also gave assurances that he has no major overhauls in store for his bar.
Thats just the way Bruce Meakem likes it.
Its a lot of the same, said Meakem, 40, who has been a regular at the bar since it opened in 1994.
Perhaps the most sensitive alteration will be to replace the mammoth jukebox with a wall-mounted one, Gelardi said.
People who come in here have especially strong feelings about music, Gelardi said. So, WXOU will continue to offer a soundtrack to match that passion.
The bar will have a new look with slight renovations sometime next month.
Were just going to take it, spit-shine it, Gelardi said.