An applicant is expected to appear before the CB3-SLA committee this month for a new liquor license for the Grassroots Tavern at 20 St. Mark's Place.
According to the questionnaire (PDF here) posted for the public on the CB3 website, the applicant is Richard Precious. The paperwork describes this as "a sale of assets."
Precious started a mini chain of bars called the Ginger Man in Texas in 1985 (named after the J.P. Donleavy novel). He opened a Ginger Man on East 36th Street near Fifth Avenue in 1996. (He sold the Texas bars in 2000. There are also Ginger Man bars in Greenwich and Norwalk, Conn.)
The questionnaire does not specify if the basement-level Grassroots space would be renamed or renovated. There's a mention of food ("casual restaurant fare"). The proposed hours remain roughly the same (4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Friday instead of the current 3 p.m. to 4 a.m.), but with an earlier start on Saturday and Sunday (1 p.m.). The live jazz performances on Sunday evening will continue, per the questionnaire. (And it looks as if the lone TV will remain.)
[EVG file photo]
No word yet when — or if — the change in ownership will occur and what type of modifications may occur at the Grassroots, which opened here between Second Avenue and Third Avenue in 1975.
As for what might be in store, here's an overview of the NYC Ginger Man via New York magazine:
As much a pub as a Mercedes SUV is a jeep, the Ginger Man feels like Euro Disney's vision of the classic Irish watering hole. Nothing is done in half measures, whether it's the mind-boggling selection of beers and single malts or the JFK, Jr.-look-alike bartenders. And while the clientele is all business during the day, this vision of J. Press heaven loosens its tie and kicks off its heels at night. On a recent visit, suit-and-tie singles, post-MSG sports fans and an impromptu wrap party for an off-Broadway play co-existed peacefully, with more than enough wandering room and cozy corners for all.
A change in the GR status quo isn't a big surprise. 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, a source with some background of the deal said that the bar had a lease for the next five years, with an option after that for renewal.
However, there have been unsubstantiated-to-date rumors in circulation that the current incarnation of the Grassroots would close before the end of its current lease.
Meanwhile, several applicants had been looking at opening a bar-restaurant in the upstairs space that previously housed Sounds. However, those plans never materialized.
The December CB3-SLA committee meeting is Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Perseverance House Community Room, 535 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.
The bar's Facebook page announced tonight that the Grassroots will close after service on New Year's Eve. More to come...
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