Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy
The Hard Swallow is going out in Coney Island style this weekend.
The neighborhood bar at 140 First Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street closes after service on Saturday night.
This comes two-plus months after the sudden passing of co-owner Leroy "Big Lee" Lloyd, who was 51.
Maria "Sasha" Lloyd, his wife and business partner, has planned a closing-night party on Saturday — which also happens to be close to Lee's birthday — featuring regulars from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. (Big Lee grew up in Coney Island.)
I recently stopped by the bar and met (from the left) bar manager Audreana "Storm" Janelle, bartender Socks Markley, Sasha and bartender Caitlyn "Aurora" Milkman
Sasha said she is having difficulty mourning and grieving while still in the same apartment and bar. She and Big Lee had the Hard Swallow for over eight years; it was their whole life, she said.