However, a DOH visit did them in on July 18, 2011 — 54 violation points and mentions of every known type of fly. (Filth flies! Flesh flies!) And apparently, owner Hank Penza said the hell with it. And closed.
[I]n its prime it was perhaps the epitome of an East Village bar: menacing, dark and covered inside and out by graffiti, stickers and impromptu spray-painted artworks. Its forbidding restroom was an urban legend in and of itself.It wasn't always that way ... per a different feature at the Times:
When the bar opened in 1984 ... the facade was gleaming. "We thought, 'Oh no, another sushi bar; there goes the neighborhood,'" said Jim Sizelove, who was part of the rowdy art scene called the Rivington School.We can relive the bar here for a moment... in 2016, East Village-based filmmaker Jenny Woodward released an entertaining video short titled "Last Days of the Mars Bar," featuring interviews with Penza in the days leading up to the bar's closure.
Penza shares some colorful anecdotes (and perhaps tall tales), such as how the bar got its name and how the first art appeared on the bar's walls.
And Penza doesn't seem all that broken up about the end of days here.
"Fuck the bar. What am I, crazy? There's a beginning and an end. You hear? The Mars Bar will live forever and I'll die... I feel like there's a beginning and an end, and this is the end to another chapter in my life."
Penza died on Oct. 29, 2015. He was 82.
The corner storefronts where Mars Bar stood were eventually demolished in late 2011/early 2012 to make way for the residential building called Jupiter 21. The corner space now houses a TD Bank and Kollectiv, "an urban retreat center" that features an herbal pharmacy and spa.