Monday, December 11, 2017

After 42 years on St. Mark's Place, the Grassroots Tavern closes on New Year's Eve

[Image via]

The Grassroots Tavern will close after service on New Year's Eve, according to a post on the bar's Facebook page this past Thursday night

This development comes after the news last week that a new owner is set to take over the bar at 20 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Richard Precious, who owns the mini chain of bars called The Ginger Man (the one on 36th Street opened in 1996), is expected to appear before the CB3-SLA committee tonight for a new liquor license for the Grassroots.

The questionnaire on file at the CB3 website doesn't mention what the new bar might be called or what type of modifications may occur at the Grassroots, which opened in 1975. There is mention of serving "casual restaurant fare." (A tipster shared a copy of the menu submitted with the plans. It appears to be the same menu as the Ginger Man on 36th Street.)

In January 2016, Klosed Properties bought the landmarked 20 St. Mark's Place from Jim Stratton, who is also the majority owner of the Grassroots. At that time, as previously reported, a source said that the bar had a lease for the next five years, with an option after that for renewal. According to public records, Klosed Properties paid about $5.6 million for the building, which includes a 2nd-floor co-op that also served as an art studio.

Stratton told Bedford + Bowery that the rent had just become too high. "We were not forced out by any means, it would just have required a radical change for the business and the way we operate. We basically decided we had to throw in the towel." (Several GR regulars wonder why Stratton, as the seller of the building, didn't negotiate a favorable lease for his bar.)

A retail listing for 20 St. Mark's Place made the rounds this fall...

The asking rent was $25,000.

Updated 8:30 p.m.

According to attendees at tonight's meeting, the committee issued an approval — with stipulations — for this application.

Previously on EV Grieve:
20 St. Mark's Place, home of the Grassroots Tavern, has been sold

Your chance to live in this historic home above the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

New owner lined up for the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

An end of an era at the Grassroots Tavern

RIP John Leeper

RIP Bob Spedalere


Giovanni said...

“Klosed Properties.” Talk about a name that perfectly describes what’s going to happen to any retailer that pays these outrageous rents.

I find this quote from the Ginger Man’s menu both sadly prophetic and prophetically sad. It’s also complete bullshit, and it probably only applies to Crusties:


Laura Goggin Photography said...

Sad, but at this point, I'm not really surprised. If you love something, appreciate it now. I had a lot of good times and memories here. RIP.

Gojira said...

"It would just have required a radical change for the business and the way we operate" - translation: it would have necessitated making a change from a low-key bar for adults to a TV sports-driven mecca for hooting broho's. More fratboy douchery on the way, I'm guessing, and who knows, maybe another sponsor for next year's Santacon.

chris flash said...

This story makes no sense.

A lease with an additional 5 years means rent is frozen at the rate provided for in the Lease, so how did the rent "become too high"?

As Landlord of the building, Leaseholder Stratton could easily have provided himself with a long term rent that the new owner would have had to honor.

Stratton can do whateverthefuck he wants to with his building and his bar, but he could at least be HONEST: He wanted OUT so he cashed out at the peak of the hyper-inflated market.

I'm not a bar person, but I liked seeing this place on St. Marx for so long. It was one of, if not the ONLY, original business(es) still left from the good old days.

It will hurt to see Grass Roots transmogrified from a classy old dive into a clone of countless other extremely forgettable shit holes we have been inundated with on the LES....

Anonymous said...

"A tipster shared a copy of the menu..."

I read that as a hipster shared...

An augury of what's to come there.

Anonymous said...

Stratton cashed and sold out.

So what's left on St.Mark's Place from Third Avenue to Avenue A which was open before 1990?

Off the top of my head: St.Mark's Comics, Gem Spa, Ray's Pizza (cuz it has an entrance on the street.)

Please list the other remaining pre-1990 St.Mark's businesses.


Eden Bee said...

Shocked its lasted as long as it has.
All I can say is thank you Coal Yard/International and Molly for still being there.
Also Milano's and Welcome to the Johnsons.